Source: www.foxnews.com : 2022-07-07 14:08:16 : Caitlin McFall
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday said it was “clearly the will” of the Conservative Party that he step down from the top job following a series of scandals that have plagued his office for years.
Johnson – who survived a vote of no confidence just one month ago for a COVID-related scandal that has been dubbed “Partygate” – was faced with renewed controversy this week after an unprecedented number of cabinet members and party leaders resigned in protest of his leadership.
Members of his party began to call on the controversial prime minister to step down after a sexual misconduct scandal arose involving his former Tory Deputy Chief Whip Chris Pincher.
Pincher, who was appointed by Johnson in February, resigned on June 30 after he was accused by two men of drunkenly groping them at a Conservative event the night prior.
The party whip said he “drank far too much” and had “embarrassed myself and other people” following the event, reported the BBC.
Immediately following his resignation, Downing Street backed Pincher and said he had acknowledged his wrongdoing and would hold on to his seat in Parliament. But he was suspended from the Conservative Party and has been forced to serve as an Independent.
The issue took a turn for Johnson after a spokesman at No, 10 claimed the prime minister was not aware of any other allegations of wrongdoing.
Reports later surfaced showing that Johnson was reportedly made aware of a complaint filed against Pincher during his post as Foreign Office minister from 2019 to 2020 that involved “inappropriate behavior.”
The allegations levied at Pincher were confirmed after a disciplinary process investigated the matter, at which point Johnson and his then-foreign secretary Dominic Raab were informed, according to the BBC.
Downing Street then reversed its position and said the prime minister did know about media reports regarding the allegations but said they had been “either resolved or did not progress to a formal complaint.”
“It was in one way concluded in some form. These issues tend to be anonymous,” a spokesman told the BBC.
On Tuesday former top Foreign Office civil servant Sir Simon McDonald revealed that Johnson had not only been made aware of the allegations but was briefed on them in person.
Downing Street then claimed the prime minister had forgotten about the matter before he instated Pincher to the top job.
Johnson later admitted that Pincher’s appointment had been a “bad mistake,” but the damage had been done.
Two of the U.K.’s most senior cabinet members, finance minister Rishi Sunak and health secretary Sajid Javid, quit in protest Tuesday.
A wave of more than 40 members of Parliament and their aides, along with several other cabinet members, handed in their resignations Wednesday after Johnson seemingly refused to step down.
The defiant prime minister caved to the growing demands for his resignation after one of his closest allies, treasury chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, publicly resigned Thursday after just 48 hours on the job and called on Johnson to step down for the sake of the country.
Johnson is expected to stay in office until an internal party election can select a new leader – a process that is expected to take place over the summer.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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