The shock resignation of Boris Johnson resonates throughout the British ruling party
The shock resignation of Boris Johnson resonates throughout the British ruling party

London: Following former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's abrupt resignation from Parliament, old divisions within the ruling Conservative Party reopened on Saturday, but the opposition Labour Party saw an opening as the country prepares for a general election in 2019.

In opposition to a parliamentary investigation into his actions as prime minister during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when lockdown-breaking parties were held in Downing Street, Johnson resigned late on Friday.

Johnson blasted the investigation into whether he misled the House of Commons about the gatherings in his resignation statement, claiming it had not turned up "a shred of evidence" against him. Rishi Sunak, the current prime minister, was also targeted by him.

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In social media posts, Johnson's supporters, including some conservative lawmakers who were given political honours by him just hours before his resignation, praised his accomplishments. The others kept quiet.

According to a screenshot provided by a Sky News reporter, lawmaker Andrea Jenkyns wrote in a Conservative Party WhatsApp group, "Well done Rishi for starting this nonsense!!"

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On Friday, Johnson bestowed upon Jenkyns the honorific title of Dame, a privilege granted to departing prime ministers.
Anger in his own party and across Britain over lockdown parties in his Downing Street office and residence that broke COVID rules contributed to the end of his premiership the previous year.
Veteran Conservative lawmaker John Redwood made the comment on Saturday in reference to Sunak's decision to leave Johnson's administration last year. "Sunak supporters used resignations to drive Boris and his supporters from office," Redwood said.
"The PM has to take the party in a direction more MPs want to go in and use more of its talent to avoid resignations from parliament," Redwood continued.

Johnson's departure from parliament, according to Henry Hill, deputy editor of the Conservative Home website, meant he was no longer a "prince-over-water" who threatened Sunak's control over the party.

"It will mean that any trouble made by his allies is much less potent," Hill said on BBC radio.

According to a YouGov poll released on Saturday, 65% of Britons believed Johnson intentionally misled parliament, while only 17% disagreed.

As a result of Johnson's resignation from parliament and that of his ally Nadine Dorries, who also left on Friday, by-elections were called for two Conservative-held districts that Sunak must now defend.


The opposition Labour Party, which currently leads Sunak's Conservatives by about 16 points in polls, declared that it was excited about the possibility.

Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner told the BBC on Saturday, "We will be fighting to win in those constituencies."

Because both of them (Johnson and Dorries) "threw their toys out of the pram," a by-election was triggered.

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Johnson's resignation may mark the end of his 22-year political career, during which time he rose through the ranks to become mayor of London, influenced the 2016 Brexit vote by raising his profile, and eventually was elected prime minister in 2019.

In his resignation statement, he did leave the door open for a potential comeback, stating that it was "very sad to be leaving parliament - at least for now."

According to Ed Davey, the head of the opposition Liberal Democrats, Johnson jumped before being pushed. Davey said, "He was never fit to be a Member of Parliament, much less Prime Minister of our great country.

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