British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told MPs he would “keep going” despite a growing list of Conservative ministers and other officials resigning in protest over his handling of the case of a senior official accused of sexual misconduct.
“The job of a prime minister in difficult circumstances when you’ve been handed a colossal mandate is to keep going. And that’s what I’m going to do,” Johnson said on Wednesday at the weekly session of Prime Minister’s Questions in parliament.
David Davis, a Conservative legislator who had previously called on the 58-year-old leader to resign, told parliament that he was again asking Johnson: “to do the honourable thing, to put the interests of the nation before his own interest, and before … it does become impossible for government to do its job.”
Johnson said he did not believe that it was against the national interest for him to remain as prime minister.
“I thank him very much for the point he’s made again. I just couldn’t disagree with him more,” Johnson said.
The development came a day after Treasury chief Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid quit, saying he was not fit to govern.
Johnson quickly replaced the two men but a string of junior ministers have also quit and his support inside the Conservative Party is shrinking rapidly.
Opponents hope to change party rules to allow a new no-confidence vote on Johnson. He survived one such vote last month, with 41 percent of MPs voting against him.
Al Jazeera’s Paul Brennan, reporting from London, said the changes could come as early as next week “when a backbench committee called the 1922 Committee has its executive elections”.
“Several members of the Conservative Party, who are very, very strong critics of Boris Johnson, will be standing for election to that executive with the intention of immediately changing the rules, hoping to force a new confidence vote before the parliament rises for the summer break and that’s on July 21,” he said.