It’s possible that we’re seeing Boris Johnson’s political career end.
The beginning of Boris Johnson’s political career’s demise may occur next week. For the guy who four years prior earned the largest Conservative majority since Margaret Thatcher controlled UK politics in the 1980s, it’s a remarkable turnaround.
A parliamentary committee looking into whether Johnson intentionally misled Parliament by denying that any lockdown regulations had been broken in 10 Downing Street—at the time his official residence and place of employment as prime minister—during the Covid pandemic will hear testimony from Johnson via television.
Johnson still hangs over the ruling Conservative party even though he is no longer its leader. This causes Rishi Sunak, the current prime minister, problems.
A seemingly never-ending string of controversies that led to his departure as prime minister, according to numerous polls, made him extremely unpopular throughout the nation. Despite this, there are still some vociferous Johnson supporters within the party who think he is the target of a witch hunt, but much fewer than a year ago.
These fans, to varied degrees, would like to see Johnson return to the forefront — or perhaps Downing Street — before the next election because they think he has a Midas touch that the party could use given how far behind it is in the polls.
Johnson’s supporters’ willingness to carry out his orders implies he can undermine Sunak at will and, if he so desired, could organize rebellions that cause the PM genuine harm, whether or not Johnson himself believes this. While Sunak has positioned himself as the anti-Johnson since assuming office, upending important elements of policy in the process, allies assert that the temptation to do so is enormous. Johnson is in danger once the committee’s inquiry is over, whenever that may be.
If Johnson knew he was deceiving Parliament when he claimed that all Covid-19 regulations were followed in Downing Street during national lockdowns is the main subject of the investigation. These assertions were made in December 2021.
About 100 fines were subsequently issued by the police to Downing Street employees, including Johnson. Johnson also went to a lot of the occasions where the police felt like the regulations had been broken. Johnson will therefore need to justify his claim in Parliament and the fact that he thought no regulations had been broken.
These occasions sometimes took the form of parties when attendees wheeled cases of wine into the venue while the rest of the nation remained cooped up at home, unable to visit terminally ill loved ones. Even Johnson’s director of communications at the time acknowledged that they were unable to articulate how the events were legal.
The ministerial code, which sets standards for minister behavior, prohibits ministers from misleading Parliament.
The committee might suggest that he be expelled from the legislature. For Johnson and the Conservative party, this is the point where things could start to get complicated. The probe can actually have one of three outcomes. Johnson may have committed no wrongdoing or only minor offenses that only required an apology.
It might advocate for his suspension from the legislature for fewer than ten sitting days, which would need to be approved by the legislature. Or, it might suggest that he be suspended for more than 10 sitting days. If this recommendation is accepted by Parliament, a recall election would be held, and Johnson would lose his seat entirely. Although having left high office, Johnson still represents a constituency in west London.
All three provide Johnson and Sunak with possible issues.
Johnson and his ultra-loyal supporters can assert, as they already have, that the entire investigation was a set-up carried out by those who wished to bring him down if the committee does not recommend suspending Johnson. Even while Johnson’s network of supporters is currently small, they are skilled at creating a lot of noise. And if the polls continue to be against Sunak, they might begin considering challenging his leadership before the subsequent election.
Most insiders concur that a protracted suspension followed by a by-election, should Johnson’s supporters demand one, is the conclusion that is least likely.
Most Conservatives will likely concur that it would be best to avoid this because the consequences would be too poisonous. It would prompt concerns about whether he ought to run as a Conservative and, if so, how much support the party ought to provide him.
Given that it’s unlikely that Johnson would even want to run for the seat, the kind of internal instability all this may lead to is almost probably not worth it. Even still, Johnson’s humiliation at the hands of his own supporters might be enough to put an end to his political career.
Lastly, Tory MPs are forced into the unpleasant position of having to publicly announce whether or not they concur if the committee suggests a shorter suspension. Johnson still enjoys support from the Tory membership despite not being the political force he once was.
He continues to be the most well-known politician in the nation, according to pollster YouGov, and has a sizable audience, making him probably not the kind of guy you want to annoy. It would also imply that he is still a member of the legislature, allowing him and his followers to stir up problems from within the chamber. And once more, as the election draws near, those supporters of Sunak may begin to consider a different leader if the polls for him don’t change.
The majority of Conservative MPs, it bears repeating, want to see Johnson gone, therefore none of the aforementioned possibilities are good ones. But, it is the fourth alternative that — despite its obvious risks – is widely rated the best option among MPs.
Even though they are hesitant to say it in public, the majority of Conservative MPs claim they are tired of the Boris Johnson show. They believe that his tenure as PM demonstrated his unfitness for office. They blame him for the decline in Conservative support because they believe he has done more than nearly anyone to ruin the party’s reputation. But, they also understand that he is weaker than ever.
Sunak has made office progress in recent weeks that Johnson hasn’t. A new Brexit agreement that under Johnson seemed unattainable has been secured by him. With regard to unlawful migrant crossings, he has come to an arrangement with France.
The financial markets now appear to be somewhat calmer as a result of him. In recent weeks, Johnson has taken a few shots at Sunak, but they were generally viewed as childish and served more as a means of exposing his own shortcomings. Johnson’s supporter and former government minister warned: “If he isn’t careful, he may wind up like Nigel Farage. making a lot of noise, but appearing pathetic, tragic, and a little foolish.”
Tory MPs will likely respond, “He’ll probably throw a few tantrums and then walk away,” if you ask them what will happen if he is suspended. Some claim that “he’s just not that important anymore. The abusive relationship will cease because “We’ve all moved on” and “We’ve all moved on.”
The most frequent comment you’ll hear from MPs is that Johnson knows he’s done and is more interested in making money now than anything else, so he’ll probably simply quietly vanish. This is true of both MPs who support Johnson and those who loathe him.
He has made enormous sums of money delivering speeches since leaving government, and he will probably write books that will make him more money than he could as a simple prime minister. Even some of his staunchest fans are content that the probe is concluded and are dismissive of any results as biased and crooked.
If this turns out to be the beginning of Boris Johnson’s story’s demise, perhaps the biggest surprise is that it wasn’t just one incident that did him down. With time, more and more sleaze adhered to him till it was impossible to carry. Few people actually missed him after he left because of his loud personality and bellicose saber rattling.
And if things continue in this direction, it’s possible that Britain’s most recognizable politician in a generation won’t make a grand exit but instead quietly disappears into obscurity as everyone el