Boris Johnson’s position as prime minister is once again at risk following the simultaneous resignations of Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak late on Tuesday. Because there isn’t a definite front-runner to succeed him, many prominent Tories will enjoy their prospects if he is ousted from government.
Within minutes of one another, Sunak and Javid both tendered their resignations from their roles, citing the attitude and conduct of the prime minister and his team. The PM promptly elevated Nadhim Zahawi and Steve Barclay to replace them, but his allies think he wouldn’t be able to carry on if many more members of his top team quit. Right now, a number of persons who had more junior roles have quit.
The resignations follow a string of scandals that have damaged Johnson’s reputation, leading to 10 Downing Street’s shifting statements about what the prime minister knew and when about the allegations surrounding the behavior of Chris Pincher, who resigned last week as a government whip, or enforcer, less than half a year after being promoted to the position.
A vote of confidence in Johnson’s leadership was held last month as a result of the way he handled partygate, which made him the first prime minister in government to be found to have broken the law while in office by attending an unauthorized event during the Covid-19 lockdown. He barely made it through it, but the most recent scandal has given him new foes who may eventually work to bring him down.
Sunak, 42, was previously the overwhelming favorite to succeed the prime minister before Johnson plucked him from relative obscurity and appointed him Chancellor of the Exchequer, his first full government role, in February 2020.
After unleashing tens of billions of pounds in government generosity to aid businesses and workers, Sunak became well-known throughout the pandemic, which caused his popularity to surge.
His nick moniker, “Dishy” Rishi, which is an archaic British slang term for attractive, was cemented thanks to a subsidy program for hospitality.
The controversy surrounding his wife’s non-dom status, his ownership of a US green card as chancellor, and the notion that he was tardy to respond to Britain’s cost-of-living crisis, however, caused his popularity to fade earlier this year. For taking part in an illegal Downing Street assembly during the pandemic, he was also fined.