LONDON “I want you to know how sad I am, I have to give up the best job in the world but that’s life”. She speaks to the British people and tries to take pity on them, Boris Johnson. It is early afternoon and with these words he announces his resignation as prime minister and leader of the Conservative party. The speech to the nation is delivered in front of the iconic door of the head of government’s apartment at 10 Downing Street, where colleague Theresa May had done the same just three years ago, but in tears, for not being able to achieve Brexit. A bitter speech, that of Johnson, without any remorse, some regrets and a lot of anger, all obviously aimed against the Tories who sit in parliament and who in the last 48 hours have set a real ambush for him, presenting one after another the resignation.
Bojo, decline and sovereignty that does not pay
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“In the last few days I have tried to convince my colleagues that it would have been eccentric to change governments while we are carrying out so many projects, after receiving such broad electoral support and with such a difficult national and international economic situation. And I’m sorry I wasn’t successful with these arguments. It hurts not to be able to see the realization of the many ideas we had with my own eyes. But as we have already seen in Westminster, the herd instinct is strong and when the flock moves, it moves. ‘
It is the fault of his own party, therefore, which “has clearly expressed its intention of wanting a new leader and a new prime minister”, ignoring, according to BoJo, the will of the millions of voters who voted for him in 2019 and for whom he has “fought” for so long. “I haven’t fought so hard in the last few days just because I wanted to but because I felt it was my duty, my job and an obligation to continue doing what we promised in 2019”. Despite dozens of resignations, one after another, and the pressure of the most loyal ministers, including Priti Patel and Michael Gove, Johnson had said he was determined to stay in office. Until yesterday morning, when the circle tightened further around him with the retreat, at 6.47 am, of Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis, followed by other officials for a total of 50 ministers, deputies and undersecretaries .
SHOULDERS TO THE WALL
At 8.30 BoJo gave in, announced the decision he had just made to his staff, who listened to him crying, and locked himself in the office to write the speech to deliver to the nation. After a courtesy call to Queen Elizabeth, at 12.30, London time, he left the door of N ° 10, where dozens of supporters were waiting for him in front of the cameras and his wife Carrie with her daughter Romy in the pouch. In his speech he said he was “incredibly proud”, proud of having implemented Brexit, of having “led the West” against Putin’s aggression against Ukraine, of having led the country out of the pandemic with the fastest vaccine plan. ‘Europe and to have made the decision to exit the lockdown first in the old continent.
A departure from the scene also greeted with “sadness” by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky while Vladimir Putin’s spokesman hoped that “more professional people will come to power in the United Kingdom”. Johnson then went to work filling the many vacant posts in his team. His intention is in fact to continue to remain in office until the appointment of his successor – as Theresa May and David Cameron had done before him, with the difference, however, that they still had a government team – which will happen this fall but the rebels of the his party would like him to go right away.
“One of the reasons he still wants to stay in power is that July 22 will be his big wedding party at the Checkers country house,” a conservative told the tabloids (Johnson and Carrie got married last year with a ritual. Catholic and with a private ceremony due to anti Covid restrictions). The rumor was quickly denied by a spokesman for Johnson, but many members of parliament are pushing for the post to be assigned to his deputy, Dominic Raab. “For the sake of the country, Mr Johnson should not remain in Downing Street, where he is unable to have a leadership or trust role in the House of Commons,” wrote Tory veteran John Major.
The process of choosing his successor has already begun but will take at least a couple of months to complete. In the first phase of this selection, the candidates who will apply for the role will be eliminated one by one through different votes. When there are only two left, they will compete in one final vote. At the moment, among the most popular members of the party are Ben Wallace, Minister of Defense, who has won the trust of MPs for his role alongside Ukraine; Foreign Minister Liz Truss; Penny Mordaunt, head of the Department of International Trade; former health minister Sajid Javid who said he was willing to run.
Then there are Rishi Sunak, a former finance minister who until a few months ago was the number one candidate to replace Johnson, and Dominic Raab, who had already acted as prime minister when Johnson was sick with Covid. Finally there is the new Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadim Zahawi – former Kurdish education refugee who arrived in London when he was 6 years old. The path is still long and the twists are around the corner.
One thing is certain: elected with 14 million votes, Boris Johnson in December 2019 had obtained a sensational victory, one of the largest consensus in the history of the Tories, who have not seen similar numbers since 1987. A triumph that did not last long, however. : despite his initial success, his was one of the shortest terms in the history of British politics.
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Boris Johnson resigns: “We need a new leader, but I remain proud of my government.” The phone call to the Queen. Medvedev made fun of him
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