Boris Johnson Is Told, 'In the Name of God, Go'

UK PM faces fury from own party over gathering during lockdown
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2022 1:15 PM CST
Party Member to Johnson: 'In the Name of God, Go'
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street to attend the weekly session of Prime Minister's Questions in Parliament in London, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

(Newser) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced angry calls to resign from members of his own Conservative Party Wednesday amid continued public fury over lockdown-breaking gatherings at 10 Downing Street. During a Prime Minister's Questions session in Parliament, David Davis, a former minister in the Conservative government, quoted MP Leo Amery's remarks to embattled PM Neville Chamberlain in 1940, the BBC reports. "You have sat there too long for all the good you have done," Davis said. "In the name of God, go." In an interview Tuesday, Johnson said "nobody warned me it was against the rules" when staff gathered for drinks in the garden of his residence in May 2020, when his government had restricted outdoor gatherings to two people only.

Davis accused Johnson of failing to take responsibility for his actions and complained that he had spent weeks defending him to angry constituents. Labour MP Diane Johnson delivered what the Guardian calls one of the most scathing questions Johnson faced Wednesday: "When the prime minister has to spend his time trying to convince the British public that he is stupid not dishonest, isn't it time for him to go?" One Conservative MP defected to Labour Wednesday. "You and the Conservative Party as a whole have shown themselves incapable of offering the leadership and government this country deserves," Christian Wakeford said in a letter to Johnson.

Johnson rejected the calls to resign, but he may end up being forced out by Conservative lawmakers, the AP reports. A no-confidence vote can be triggered if 54 of the party's 359 MPs write letters to the party's 1922 Committee. It's not clear how many have already done so, the Scotsman reports. At least a dozen lawmakers have publicly confirmed writing to the committee, but there have been reports that numerous others have declined to go public and the threshold could be reached as soon as Wednesday. In what critics saw as an effort to appease party members, Johnson announced Wednesday that all measures brought in to combat the omicron COVID variant will be dropped next week, reports the Guardian. (Read more Boris Johnson stories.)

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