When BoJo's Pincher quip pinches him hard back, the result: Sunak quitstext_fields
On July 5 the British Finance Minister (Chancellor of the Exchequer) resigned. Rishi Sunak, 41, resigned from the UK Cabinet because he says he has no confidence in Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Johnson has proven yet again that he cannot be believed. On the same day, the Health Minister Sajid Javid also tendered his resignation in protest at Johnson's endless deceitfulness.
The immediate cause of the resignations is Johnson's handling of the allegations against Chris Pincher. Pincher is a Conservative MP and indeed a party whip. Pincher has been repeatedly accused of sexually harassing men and touching them against their will over the past few years. The allegations do not amount to rape or attempted rape. Johnson is said to have quipped 'Pincher by name; pincher by nature'. Johnson was exposed as having lied about it when he was first made aware of the accusations against Mr. Pincher. Despite unresolved issues regarding Pincher's conduct and reputation, Johnson appointed him to a high office.
There is an ulterior reason behind the double resignations. Johnson survived a vote of confidence as leader of the Conservative Party in June 2022. Many Tories are unhappy with him and want him to go. High profile cabinet resignations could bring him down. Sunak is one of the frontrunners to succeed him. Sunak calculates that by resigning, he stands a better chance of becoming Prime Minister himself. Sajid Javid also has his eyes on the keys to Number 10 Downing Street (the PM's official residence).
Sunak's area – the economy – is going badly. Inflation is an eye watering 9% and due to aggravate. Taxes are rising and incomes are falling. People are demanding pay rises. There are strikes by railway workers and lawyers. More sectors are going to take industrial action. 2023 is tipped to be a recession year. The economic news is unremitting gloom. Sunak would rather not take the rap for this.
Javid's National Health Service (NHS) is feeling the strain. There are over 6 million people waiting for operations and other procedures. The waiting lists are growing. Doctors and nurses say that their pay has fallen well behind inflation. They may go out on strike again. The NHS is struggling to recruit staff. Javid does not want to have to take responsibility for an ever worsening situation. He resigned as chancellor a few years ago, but was soon put back into the cabinet.
Below the PM there are three great offices of state. These are Chancellor of the Exchequer, Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary. 9/10 PMs have held at least one of these offices before becoming PM.
The 1922 Committee is being elected again. This is the committee for backbench Tory MPs. They may change the rules. Currently, if a leader of the Tory (Conservative) Party wins a vote of confidence, he/she cannot be challenged for a twelve month. But they might change that to six months or less. BoJo is not safe.
Anyone with an ounce of integrity in Johnson's position would resign. But he has no integrity. There are rumours of more cabinet ministers about to resign.
Even if Johnson remains PM, the Tory Party was secretly considering an October 2022 election. That is because the situation is due to get much worse in 2023. There is still some glow in the air from ending lockdown, the Platinum Jubilee and Johnson's stalwart support for Ukraine. These feel good factors will dissipate by the New Year.
The Tory Party wants him out. 41% of his own MPs voted against him in June. Now it would be more. It would be perilously close to 50%. The grassroots are unhappy.
Astonishingly, the party is not doing badly in opinion polls. It is only 3% points behind Labour.
If there is a new Tory PM, he or she will have a honeymoon with the public. Time to call a snap election. The PM can call an early election by fiat. He or she shall advise the Queen to dissolve Parliament, and this will trigger an election. The monarch always, always accedes to this advice. A new PM would probably win the election.
Labour is worried. Johnson is still rated as a better PM than the Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer. Sunak or someone else would be rated higher still. The Tories could win their fifth consecutive election. But anything can happen at backgammon. In the 2017 election, the Tories went into it with a 20% point lead. In the end, they won by only 2% points. A fantastic Labour campaign could see them win handsomely. There appears to be a secret electoral pact between Labour and the Lib Dems. They will field candidates everywhere, but in some seats one party will make no effort and allow the other a clear run to beat the Tory.
One thing is for sure. Johnson's days are numbered. He cannot last long. Two years at the most, but two months more likely.
The author is a political analyst from the UK. He can be seen on YouTube, 'George from Ireland'