Former British prime minister Boris Johnson quit as a member of parliament on Friday, claiming that he had been forced out in a stitch-up by his political opponents.
The 58-year-old populist politician has been under investigation by a cross-party committee about whether he repeatedly lied to parliament over rule-breaking parties during the COVID-19 pandemic when he was in office.
In evidence earlier this year, he insisted he had not.
However, as the committee prepares to make its findings public, he said they had contacted him “making it clear ... they are determined to use the proceedings against me to drive me out of parliament.”
The British Committee of Privileges, which has a majority of lawmakers from his Conservative Party, has the power to impose sanctions for misleading parliament, including suspension.
Ordinarily, suspension of more than 10 working days leads to a by-election in the lawmaker’s constituency.
However, Johnson pre-empted any finding — or the consequences of a humiliating fight to remain a member of parliament in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency in northwest London, where he holds a slim majority of about 7,000 — by quitting.
He denounced the committee, chaired by opposition Labour Party lawmaker Harriet Harman, as a “kangaroo court.”
“It is very sad to be leaving parliament — at least for now — but above all I am bewildered and appalled that I can be forced out, anti-democratically ... with such egregious bias,” he said.
The committee’s report, which has not been published, was “riddled with inaccuracies and reeks of prejudice,” he said, adding that he had “no formal ability to challenge anything they say.”
Their “purpose from the beginning has been to find me guilty, regardless of the facts,” he added.
Responding to the resignation, the committee said that Johnson “impugned the integrity of the House [of Commons] by his statement.”
The committee said it would meet tomorrow to conclude its inquiry, and would publish its report “promptly.”
The announcement came hours after Johnson controversially rewarded his closest Brexit allies — and officials implicated in the “partygate” saga — in his prime ministerial resignation honors list.
At the same time, former British secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport Nadine Dorries, a supporter of Johnson, announced that she was quitting as a member of parliament with immediate effect.
Johnson led the Tories to a thumping 80-seat majority in the December 2019 general election on a promise to “get Brexit done.”
That allowed him to railroad through parliament his divorce deal with the EU, unblocking years of political paralysis.
However, he was undone by his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, “partygate” and a succession of other scandals that led to a ministerial rebellion in July last year.
He quit as prime minister and left office in September last year, but rumors persisted that he wanted another shot at the top job.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who was one of Johnson’s top team who quit, has been trying to steady the ship since becoming prime minister in October last year, after the turbulent tenure of former British prime minister Liz Truss.
Johnson’s resignation would likely be seen as his revenge on Sunak, whose Tories are well down in the polls to the main opposition Labour Party after 13 years in power and with a general election looming next year.
“When I left office last year, the government was only a handful of points behind in the polls. That gap has now massively widened,” Johnson said in his letter.
“Just a few years after winning the biggest majority in almost half a century, that majority is now clearly at risk,” he said.
“Our party needs urgently to recapture its sense of momentum and its belief in what this country can do,” he said.
Johnson’s supporters rallied behind him, lauding his achievements on Brexit, and galvanizing support for Ukraine.
However, Labour Party deputy leader Angela Rayner said that the public — battling a cost-of-living crisis — have had enough of the “never-ending Tory soap opera.”
Liberal Democrats lawmaker Daisy Cooper said it was “good riddance.”
The Scottish National Party’s deputy House of Commons leader Mhairi Black said that Johnson “jumped before he was pushed.”
Johnson, who was sacked from his first job at The Times newspaper for making up a quote, made his name as Brussels correspondent of the Daily Telegraph peddling euromyths.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) removed former minister of foreign affairs Qin Gang (秦剛) from his post after an investigation concluded that he had conducted an affair and fathered a child while serving as ambassador to the US, the Wall Street Journal reported. Top officials were told in August that a CCP inquiry into Qin uncovered “lifestyle issues,” the newspaper reported yesterday, citing people familiar with the situation that it did not describe. That phrase usually means sexual misbehavior of some type in the parlance of Chinese officialdom. Two of the people said the affair led to the birth of a child in
NO MORE LONG LINES: Swift border crossings for people traveling between Russia and areas it occupies in Ukraine show how quickly Moscow is seeking to absorb them To enter Russia from occupied Ukraine, all Tatiana has to do is arrive at the edge of the war-battered Donetsk region, show guards her Russian passport, say “thank you” and cross. Moscow has controlled several key border points since 2014, but the frontier has become more porous since the Kremlin annexed four Ukrainian territories last year, encouraging residents to take up new citizenship. “It’s become more comfortable because we’ve become Russians,” said the 37-year-old, who is from a Russian-occupied town. Tatiana used to have to go through a more arduous procedure to enter Russia: a check run by Moscow-sponsored separatists, then through Russian
GUNNED DOWN: The Canadian PM said there were credible allegations that India was connected to the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey on June 18 India yesterday dismissed allegations that its government was linked to the killing of a Sikh activist in Canada as “absurd,” expelling a senior Canadian diplomat and accusing Canada of interfering in India’s internal affairs. It came a day after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described what he called credible allegations that India was connected to the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, an advocate of Sikh independence from India who was gunned down on June 18 outside a Sikh cultural center in Surrey, British Columbia, and Canada expelled a top Indian diplomat. “Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a
SECURITY: Wang met with the US national security adviser in Malta over the weekend, with the US side noting the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) yesterday headed to Russia for security talks after two days of meetings with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan over the weekend in Malta. China’s top foreign policy official will be in Russia until Thursday for a round of China-Russia strategic security consultations, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a brief statement. The US and China are at odds over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. China has refrained from taking sides in the war, saying that while a country’s territory must be respected, the West needs to consider Russia’s security concerns about NATO’s