Source: www.nytimes.com : 2022-07-06 15:31:55 : Megan Specia
Sajid Javid, whose decision to step down as health minister on Tuesday helped plunge Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain into further political tumult, said in Parliament on Wednesday that he was “deeply concerned” about how the next generation would see Mr. Johnson’s Conservative Party.
“I have concluded that the problem starts at the top and that is not going to change,” Mr. Javid said of Mr. Johnson’s leadership. “I do fear that the reset button can only work so many times. There are only so many times you can turn that machine on and off before you realize that something is fundamentally wrong.”
The statement to fellow lawmakers laying out his rationale for stepping down crystallized the sentiment of many who have raised concerns about government leadership.
As Mr. Johnson addressed Parliament on Wednesday for the first time since the unexpected resignation of Mr. Javid and another of the prime minister’s most senior cabinet ministers, support for Mr. Johnson from fellow Conservatives appeared to be waning.
“Treading the tightrope between loyalty and integrity has become impossible in recent months,” Mr. Javid said as he reflected on the recent scandals that have plagued Mr. Johnson’s government. He added that the events of recent months had made it “increasingly difficult” to be on Mr. Johnson’s team.
“It’s not fair on ministerial colleagues to go out every morning defending lines that don’t stand up and don’t hold up,” Mr. Javid said. “It’s not fair on my parliamentary colleagues who bear the brunt of constituents’ dismay in their inboxes and on their doorsteps in recent elections.”
Mr. Javid’s statement was one of a number made by Conservatives throughout the prime minister’s appearance in front of Parliament on Wednesday. A chorus of voices called for Mr. Johnson’s resignation, including fellow Conservative Party members who questioned the prime minister’s integrity.
David Davis, a Conservative lawmaker who in January had passionately called on the prime minister to resign amid revelations about Downing Street parties that broke the government’s own pandemic lockdown rules — telling him “In the name of God, go!” — again called for Mr. Johnson to step down.
“Today, I ask him to do the honorable thing, to put the interest of the nation before his own interest,” Mr. Davis said, urging Mr. Johnson to resign “before it becomes impossible for the government to do its job.”
Gary Sambrook, another Conservative, was applauded by Labour lawmakers when he angrily denounced Mr. Johnson.
He questioned how Mr. Johnson had appeared to blame a number of other lawmakers who failed to stop Chris Pincher from drinking on the night he allegedly groped two men, a scandal that set off the latest political turmoil for the government.
Mr. Johnson had appointed Mr. Pincher as a deputy whip, charged with marshaling government business, in February this year despite earlier complaints of inappropriate behavior against Mr. Pincher. Mr. Johnson later acknowledged that it had been a mistake to appoint Mr. Pincher, but not until the prime minister had spent days defending the decision and advising his cabinet to do the same.
“The prime minister constantly tries to deflect from the issue, always tries to blame other people for mistakes,” Mr. Sambrook said. “There’s nothing left to do other than take some responsibility and resign.”
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