TIMES.KY

Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Wednesday, Feb 01, 2023

Boris Johnson under pressure after UK election defeats

Boris Johnson under pressure after UK election defeats

Boris Johnson's Conservatives lost two parliamentary seats on Friday, a new blow to Britain's prime minister who then lost a close ally with the surprise resignation of his party's chairman and faced renewed calls to quit.

In Rwanda for a meeting of Commonwealth nations, Johnson was defiant, pledging to listen to voters' concerns and do more to tackle a cost-of-living crisis after what he described as "tough" results in the two so-called by-elections.

The losses - one in the Conservatives' traditional southern heartlands and in a northern English industrial seat won from Labour in the last election - suggest the broad appeal Johnson presented to win the 2019 election may be fracturing.

Fears that Johnson could have become an electoral liability may prompt lawmakers to move against him again after months of scandal over COVID-19 lockdown parties at a time when millions are struggling with rising food and fuel prices.

Johnson has so far resisted pressure to resign after he was fined for breaking lockdown rules at his Downing Street office.

This month, he survived a vote of confidence by Conservative lawmakers, though 41% of his parliamentary colleagues voted to oust him, and he is under investigation by a committee over whether he intentionally misled parliament.

"I think as a government I've got to listen to what people are saying," Johnson told broadcasters in Kigali.

At a later news conference, he said his government had the right programme to get through what he described as a "tough time" of rising inflation that included reforming transport, the housing and energy markets to ease the pressure on the public.

Following the losses in Tiverton and Honiton in southwest England, and Wakefield in the north, Conservative Party Chairman Oliver Dowden resigned in a carefully worded letter that hinted he might believe Johnson should take responsibility.

"We cannot carry on with business as usual," he said. "Somebody must take responsibility and I have concluded that, in these circumstances, it would not be right for me to remain in office," added Dowden, a long-time ally of Johnson.

Some Conservatives blamed him for running poor campaigns in both the voting areas by ignoring local concerns.

Johnson responded by saying he understood Dowden's disappointment but "this government was elected with an historic mandate just over two years ago" and he would continue to work to that end.

A Conservative party source said Johnson was not concerned about further resignations from his cabinet team of top ministers and took a swipe at the media for what they called "misreporting" of lockdown parties.

CONSERVATIVE UNREST


The explanations offered by Johnson and his team may do little to ease frustration in the Conservative Party.

Former Conservative leader Michael Howard told the BBC the party "would be better off under new leadership" and called on cabinet ministers to "carefully consider their positions".

A wave of cabinet resignations could be a route to force Johnson out before the next national election, expected in 2024. It could be called earlier, but U.S. bank Citi said in a note the likelihood of that was "limited".

Although under his party's rules Johnson cannot face another confidence motion for a year, lawmakers fearing for their own futures may try to force a change to bring about a second vote.

That might take time. It would entail changes to the committee that represents Conservative lawmakers who do not have government jobs.

The by-elections were triggered by the resignations of Conservative lawmakers - one who admitted watching pornography in parliament, and another found guilty of sexually assaulting a teenage boy.

The party lost its large majority of more than 24,000 votes in Tiverton and Honiton to the centrist Liberal Democrats.

"If Conservative MPs don't wake up, I think at the next election, the voters will send them packing," the Liberal Democrats' leader, Ed Davey, said.

In the parliamentary seat of Wakefield in northern England, the main opposition Labour party won.

"This result is a clear judgment on a Conservative Party that has run out of energy and ideas," Labour leader Keir Starmer said.

Johnson led the Conservatives to their biggest majority in three decades at the 2019 national election, winning in traditionally Labour-voting areas in north and central England.

But the loss of Wakefield could indicate that his ability to repeat that trick has been compromised.

Newsletter

Related Articles

TIMES.KY
Close
0:00
0:00
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
If a country is denied the right to independence by another, it is not in a union. It is in a dictatorship.
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
Corruption works: House Financial Services Chair Waters doesn't plan to subpoena her donor, Sam Bankman-Fried, to testify at hearing on FTX collapse
Ronaldo's new contract...
Prince William's godmother resigns honorary royal role after exposing her/their racism
British PM Rishi Sunak pledges further action on strikes to 'protect lives'
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman.
Double standards: UK lawmakers attack EU chief over Ireland claims
×