Analysis. UK’s Johnson refuses to quit despite mass resignations

The prime minister promises to ‘keep going’ despite a growing list of Conservative officials resigning in protest.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told MPs he would “keep going” despite a growing list of Conservative ministers and other officials resigning in protest over his handling of the case of a senior official accused of sexual misconduct.

A delegation of Cabinet ministers planned to meet with Johnson at his Downing Street office on Wednesday evening to press him to resign, according to British media reports. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and longtime loyalist Brandon Lewis were among those expected to demand that he quit.

“The job of a prime minister in difficult circumstances when you’ve been handed a colossal mandate is to keep going. And that’s what I’m going to do,” Johnson said earlier at the weekly session of Prime Minister’s Questions in parliament.

David Davis, a Conservative legislator who had previously called on the 58-year-old leader to resign, told parliament that he was again asking Johnson: “to do the honourable thing, to put the interests of the nation before his own interest, and before … it does become impossible for government to do its job.”

Johnson said he did not believe that it was against the national interest for him to remain as prime minister.

“I thank him very much for the point he’s made again. I just couldn’t disagree with him more,” Johnson said.

Key resignations

The development came a day after Treasury chief Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid quit, saying the prime minister was not fit to govern.

Johnson quickly replaced the two men but a string of junior ministers have also quit and his support inside the Conservative Party is shrinking rapidly.

Opponents hope to change party rules to allow a new no-confidence vote on Johnson. He survived one such vote last month, with 41 percent of MPs voting against him.

The Conservative Party committee governing the rules, the so-called 1922 Committee, has decided to hold an election to its executive on Monday, before deciding whether to change the rules to bring forward a confidence vote in Johnson, three Conservative lawmakers told the Reuters news agency.

World Opinions – agencies

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