The Partygate scandal in Downing Street has already cost Boris Johnson the post of prime minister. Now he is also stepping down as a member of parliament.
London - Boris Johnson has resigned from his mandate as a Member of Parliament with immediate effect. The reason for this is the investigations of a parliamentary committee into the "Partygate" scandal. He claimed that the results would serve to push him out of parliament. Only a few weeks ago, further violations of the lockdown rules were published. With the resignation, Johnson pre-empted the publication of the results. This also means a new challenge for the Tory party.
Boris Johnson resigns: Ex-prime minister gives up his parliamentary mandate
A parliamentary committee is currently investigating whether Johnson deliberately lied to the House of Commons in connection with unauthorised parties in Downing Street during the lockdown. On Friday (9 June), he said he had received a letter from the committee making it clear "that they are determined to use the proceedings against me to expel me from parliament." He resigned immediately, which would result in "an immediate by-election".
Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigns as an MP. © Tayfun Salci/IMAGO
However, the committee had "still not provided the slightest evidence that I have knowingly or negligently misled the House of Commons," the 58-year-old said. "It is very sad to leave parliament – at least for the moment – but most of all I am stunned and appalled that I can be pushed out of parliament in an anti-democratic way," Johnson said, accusing the committee of "egregious bias".
The report, which has not yet been published, is full of "inaccuracies and reeks of prejudice," the ex-prime minister continued. He complained that he had no "formal possibility" to challenge the committee's statements. Its goal "from the beginning was to find me guilty, regardless of the facts," Johnson added.
Boris Johnson resigns as MP: 'The party is over - at least for now'
The committee is made up of a majority of MPs from Johnson's Conservative Party. The committee can impose sanctions for misleading Parliament, such as suspension. If this is longer than ten working days, it usually leads to by-elections in the MP's constituency. With Johnson's resignation, there is now automatically a vote. "The party is over," headlined the Times. But Johnson also said that he was leaving the House of Commons "at least for now".
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With the resignation of ex-Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the British Tory party is finally facing an ordeal. The former head of government is directly challenging incumbent Rishi Sunak with the surprising step. "This means a de facto split in the Conservative Party," David Campbell-Bannerman of the Conservative Democratic Organisation, a vocal group within the party, told the BBC. "We will rally around Boris." The public broadcaster commented that the ghost of Boris Johnson would continue to haunt Sunak and the Conservative Party.
Johnson's exit also dangerous for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak - will further resignations follow?
When Johnson left Downing Street in the summer of 2022, urged by his parliamentary group after a series of scandals, the opposition Labour Party had only a slight lead in the polls. This has now grown massively. Many party members see Sunak as a "regicide" who is responsible for Johnson's exit with his own resignation in July 2022.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Johnson's resignation could also have consequences for him. © Manuel Balce Ceneta/dpa
All in all, Johnson's resignation could have serious consequences for Prime Minister Sunak. Rumours are circulating in London that other MPs are preparing to resign. This would lead to new elections and thus also mean an end to the Tories' government. "Tonight is deeply embarrassing for Rishi Sunak, because since he became prime minister, he has tried to define himself as everything Boris Johnson was not," writes the BBC. Sunak had promised transparency and responsibility.
Despite Johnson's resignation: parliamentary committee wants to publish report soon
Johnson is a political titan, said Johnson's confidante Priti Patel. According to a survey, almost two-thirds of Tory voters continue to think positively about "Boris", whom many still see as the only suitable Tory campaigner. It cannot be ruled out that the radiant winner of 2019 will run again in the parliamentary elections planned for 2024.
But there is some headwind for Johnson. In response to Johnson's sweeping blow, the parliamentary committee has said that the ex-prime minister is undermining the integrity of the House of Commons. The report is now due to be published soon. "Not for a minute" should one think "that this is the end of Boris Johnson," comments BBC correspondent Chris Mason. Rather, it is once again a day for what Johnson does best: making headlines. (VK/DPA/AFP)