Two days after the resignation of his Finance and Health Ministers, Boris Johnson’s fate is written: throughout yesterday’s session, 37 senior officials left the Government; parliamentary activity at Westminster was paralyzed by the lack of ministers; and more than half of the parliamentary group publicly declared their loss of confidence in their leader.
Wednesday’s events ranged from Shakespearean tragedy to famous British comedy The thick of it, and the comedic elements were evident. As his cabinet emptied, Johnson announced a major tax cut to seduce the electorate, underlining the reliability of his government. In full parliamentary appearance, and between declarations of support for the Zelensky government, the prime minister was informed that a delegation of ministers was waiting for him in Downing Street to demand his resignation. And hours before, the Government control session reminded us that, in politics, reality is always stranger than fiction: in the midst of the chaos, a Conservative deputy took advantage of his turn to ask Johnson about some urban tenders in the constituency of the.
Also the tragic, however, flew over yesterday’s session. In its weekly meeting, the powerful 1922 committee decided not to modify its internal rules in order to facilitate a new motion of censure against the premier, in the hope that he himself would accept its inevitable outcome. But the subsequent visit of his ministers, who worked with Theresa May in 2019, did not do so with a Johnson who emphasized his absolute majority, declared that he would not resign, and made it clear that they would have to be the ones to force him to leave the position. His Numantine resistance, in fact, was accentuated as the hours went by when, increasingly surrounded, he announced the dismissal “for disloyalty” of Michael Gove – the almighty minister – who, in turn, betrayed Johnson in the 2016 primaries.
If he had not resigned premiere, the 1922 committee would have met next week, in a meeting in which it would modify its regulations, hold a motion of censure and convene a primary process that would conclude in August. Beyond his resignation, however, the terminal crisis that his government is going through is nothing more than the result of three phenomena that have been observed for years.
In the first place, the corrosive effect that sovereign processes such as Brexit have on the political parties that lead them: after Cameron and May, Boris Johnson will be the third prime minister to be overthrown by some Tories that convey a clear political and ideological exhaustion. Secondly, the consequences of having political representatives who disregard the legal and political conventions that govern contemporary democracies: the end of Johnson has not come because of programmatic errors, but when his deputies have stopped laughing at him and have begun to confront to their lies. Finally, the problems of the much praised British Constitution, unquestionably effective in normal times, but dangerously fragile in situations as exceptional as this one.
Many things remain to be clarified: who will succeed him in office, and how damaged his party will be. But whatever happens, the fall of Boris Johnson ―chaotic, tragicomic and, above all, eminently british― It will have been a faithful reflection not only of his three years at the head of the Government, but also of the endless political crisis that the United Kingdom is going through after Brexit.
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