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British PM Boris Johnson and Now Liz Truss resigns


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Johnson's going, going . . . not quite gone.

British PM Boris Johnson resigns, but will stay on until new leader is chosen​

Johnson may now face opposition over his plan to serve as caretaker PM for several weeks​

Thomson Reuters · Posted: Jul 07, 2022 3:30 AM ET | Last Updated: 1 hour ago

Boris Johnson will step down as British PM after slew of resignations

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he will resign after multiple ministers, including close allies, quit his government. Johnson said he will remain in office until his successor is chosen.

Boris Johnson said on Thursday he was resigning as Britain's prime minister, bowing to calls from ministerial colleagues and lawmakers in his Conservative Party.

After more than 50 ministers quit and lawmakers said he must go, an isolated and powerless Johnson spoke outside 10 Downing Street and confirmed he would resign.

"The process of choosing that new leader should begin now. And today I have appointed a cabinet to serve, as I will until a new leader is in place," Johnson said.

The Conservatives will now have to elect a new leader, a process which could take weeks or months.

Johnson admitted it was "painful" not to carry on the work of his government well into the future, with his resignation announcement coming just over two and a half years after he won a resounding victory in a late 2019 election.

"My friends, in politics, no one is remotely indispensable," he said.

Transition plan 'unwise,' critics say
Keir Starmer, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said before the announcement he would call a parliamentary confidence vote if the Conservatives did not remove Johnson at once.

"If they don't get rid of him, then Labour will step up in the national interest and bring a vote of no confidence because we can't go on with this prime minister clinging on for months and months to come," he said.

It's also not clear if the majority of his party will support his staying on for several more weeks, though it appeared to have the support of Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who called it "the right decision."

"We need calmness and unity now and to keep governing while a new leader is found," Truss tweeted.

But several current lawmakers and at least one high-profile party member said Johnson's plan to stay on was untenable.

Simon Hoare, a Conservative member of parliament, said Johnson's behaviour meant he had forfeited the right to remain as a caretaker leader.

"Ministers resigned because of the PM. The party lost confidence because of the PM. It is beyond credulity that Mr. Johnson can stay in office," said Hoare.

Former Conservative prime minister John Major also questioned the plan.

"The proposal for the prime minister to remain in office — for up to three months — having lost the support of his cabinet, his government and his parliamentary party is unwise, and may be unsustainable," Major said in a public letter.

'Them's the breaks,' Johnson says

After days of battling for his job, the scandal-plagued Johnson had been deserted by all but a handful of allies after the latest in a series of scandals broke their willingness to support him.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Treasury chief Rishi Sunak resigned within minutes of each other Tuesday over the latest scandal, involving Conservative lawmaker Chris Pincher.

The crisis comes as Britons are facing the tightest squeeze on their finances in decades, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with soaring inflation, and the economy forecast to be the weakest among major nations in 2023 apart from Russia.

It also follows years of internal division sparked by the narrow 2016 vote to leave the European Union, and threats to the make-up of the United Kingdom itself with demands for another Scottish independence referendum, the second in a decade.

Johnson in his brief speech pointed to what he viewed as accomplishments of his government, including delivering the Brexit that eluded his predecessor, Theresa May, steering Britain's rebound from the ravages of COVID-19 and the recent, vocal support and military aid for Ukraine as it fights off Russia's invasion.

"I know that there will be many people who are relieved and perhaps quite a few who will also be disappointed. And I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world," Johnson said in a speech outside Downing Street.

"But them's the breaks," he said.

Scandals and missteps
The recent crisis erupted after lawmaker Pincher, who held a government role involved in pastoral care, was forced to quit over accusations he groped men in a private member's club.

Johnson had to apologize after it emerged that he was briefed that Pincher had been the subject of previous sexual misconduct complaints before he appointed him. The prime minister said he had forgotten.

This followed months of scandals and missteps, including a damning report into boozy parties at his Downing Street residence and office that broke COVID-19 lockdown rules and saw him fined by police over a gathering for his 56th birthday. Johnson was accused of lying about his knowledge of, and attendance at, the parties.

There have also been policy U-turns, an ill-fated defence of a lawmaker who broke lobbying rules, and criticism that he has not done enough to tackle inflation as many Britons struggle to cope with rising fuel and food prices.

Johnson's Conservatives have been hit by other scandals of lawmakers accused of sexual improprieties, including two that led to MPs Ahmad Khan and Neil Parish resigning. In both cases, the Conservatives lost special elections held last month to replace them.

Johnson, 58, seemed set to dig in despite the resignations this week, and in his speech appeared to lament what he characterized as "the herd instinct" at Westminster. On Wednesday, he sacked Michael Gove, a member of his top ministerial team who was one of the first to tell him he needed to resign.
The Simpsons GIF by MOODMAN
And two months later . . . a new PM

Liz Truss becomes Britain's new PM after Boris Johnson formally resigns​

Change in British leadership comes during cost-of-living crisis

Liz Truss became U.K. prime minister on Tuesday and immediately confronted the enormous task ahead of her amid increasing pressure to curb soaring prices, ease labour unrest and fix a health-care system burdened by long waiting lists and staff shortages.

At the top of her inbox is the energy crisis triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which threatens to push energy bills to unaffordable levels, shutter businesses and leave the nation's poorest people shivering in icy homes this winter.

Truss, who refused to spell out her energy strategy during the two-month campaign to succeed Boris Johnson, now plans to cap energy bills at a cost to taxpayers of as much as 100 billion pounds ($152 billion Cdn), British news media reported Tuesday.

She is expected to unveil her plan on Thursday.

"You must know about the cost-of-living crisis in England, which is really quite bad at the moment," Rebecca Macdougal, 55, who works in law enforcement, said outside the Houses of Parliament.

"She's making promises for that, as she says she's going to deliver, deliver, deliver," she said. "But we will see in, hopefully, the next few weeks there'll be some announcements, which will help the normal working person." . . .

What are we going to do? The hair alone is worthy of mockery

I don't think that the British press (and comedians) will wait too long before they find something about Ms. Truss to mock. . . . Oh, that didn't take long.

On this side of the pond PM Truss is relatively unknown and even in the UK she has surprisingly avoided being the butt of British humour (well, not entirely). It's not as if some of her past speeches didn't provide fodder (there's a pun in there somewhere).

You can tell that you're heading for greatness in the UK when the Spectator rips you to shreds ;)

The horrifying truth about Liz Truss​

What do Tories see in her?​

Was it just me or was Liz Truss actually smirking during her statement outside Downing Street, the one littered with cliches about spades in the ground and wince-making turns of phrase like ‘aspiration nation’? Another two years of this PM talking about being ‘determined to deliver’ (deliver what, Liz?) is going to be really hard going.

Just listen to her. Look at her. Is this really the best that we can get from a country of 67 million people? Liz Truss? Can even the most blinkered Conservative find any actual eloquence or charm of manner, or sincerity in the fashion of Theresa May, charisma like Tony Blair, or humour in the way of Boris Johnson, or conviction like Gordon Brown’s, rather than the hard delivery, in her flat, unmodulated accent, that is designed to convey conviction? What is there about the woman that made them fall for her, those Tory members and MPs, other than the single redeeming circumstance that she’s not Penny Mordaunt? An effective communicator like Nicola Sturgeon? Nope. Not even that.

Practically every MP is ambitious; half of them long to be prime minister; surely it takes more than that to get where she now is?
You can see what she has got going for her, of course, which is iron ambition. One look at her tells you, before you even see her photo sequence for the last two years, that this is a woman who’d go through you for a shortcut. And it worked. But practically every MP is ambitious; half of them long to be prime minister; surely it takes more than that to get where she now is?

What she has got, of course, are a string of appointments to the highest offices in the land – Environment, Foreign Office, Lord Chancellor – all of which she occupied without distinction. Actually, so far as her time at the Environment goes, it seems that her lax approach to inspection meant that she allowed some farmers to pollute English rivers unchecked. At the Foreign Office, her ignorance of Russia (mocked by Sergei Lavrov) and her insistence that Ukraine must take back Crimea make her to my mind downright dangerous. Oh and she’s uncritically supportive of Israel. Of course she is.

In other words, we owe Boris for Liz Truss, presumably on the basis that he couldn’t bother to appoint anyone to these great offices who was actually competent to run them well. Was it the tall poppy thing, whereby he didn’t want anyone close who might actually seem like a competitor?
As for her policies, where do you start? So many, so unthought through, so flimsily held that you can huff and puff, and you can blow them right down. Elsewhere on these pages, there are damning analyses of her energy policy, to that you can add her silly ideas about education – bringing back grammars (fine, but not sufficient in itself) and getting obligatory Oxbridge interviews for starred A pupils (any idea just how many there are, Liz?). And there was that downright terrifying interview where she was asked how ready she was to use the nuclear deterrent (answer: very).
It's embarrassing. It’s acutely painful. And this is only the start. I leave it to Conservatives to enjoy what they’ve foisted on the nation. Me, I’m off to join CND.

When British labor leaders were overjoyed when Mrs Thatcher passed that told us whst we need to know about the UK and it’s political landscape,

It seems Joseph’s useful fools are still at large
The entire cabinet in the UK has been a bit of a useless bunch for a while, and seems likely that will get appointed on their basis of loyalty vice competence. A few of them quit (likely before they get fired) but may be getting rewarded with peerages from BoJo on his way out. They are going to eclipse the level of not-competent set by the previous bunch, who did things like award transport contracts to companies with no transportation abilities.

It's a pretty crazy that even with the expected level of up-sucking and sycophancy in the current Government there it's too much for even a lot of them. They are still banging on about Brexit, which is hammering them, so in a way the pandemic was a bit of a political blessing for them as it camouflaged the damage done from no longer having unrestricted trade and movement as part of the EU.

They are now seriously considering breaking the Brexit treaty to skip a lot of the normal border control issues that they agreed to and were perfectly foreseeable when they made the agreement if you had even a passing familiarity with logistics and moving things between countries, which will cause the EU to start imposing a lot of sanctions.

Combined with their general cost of living crisis they are well and truly foxed.