Boris Johnson has resigned his seat in the UK Parliament, denouncing the panel of lawmakers investigating his conduct as a “kangaroo court” and attacking current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s policies.
The former prime minister – who blamed Sunak for a role in his own downfall last year – accused parliament’s Privileges Committee of “politically successful work” and accused its chair, Labour’s Harriet Harman, of “huge bias”.
The group did not respond to a request for comment. The committee is investigating whether Johnson misled lawmakers about potential Covid-19 violations by officials.
“The panel’s report is inaccurate and reeks of prejudice,” Johnson said in a statement released late Friday. He was informed privately this week of their findings, which have not yet been made public. “I am now being kicked out of Parliament by a few people,” he said.
Johnson’s resignation triggers a challenging special election for Sunak, which the ruling Conservative Party held in 2019 with a relative majority of 7,000.
The departure reopens a feud between the two since Sunak resigned as Chancellor of the Exchequer last year in protest at Johnson’s leadership. That move precipitated Johnson’s resignation as premier.
In his statement, Johnson pulled no punches in finding electoral malpractice in the Conservative Party, which has trailed the main opposition Labor Party by double digits in national polls for months.
On the day Sunak returned from a two-day visit to Washington, Johnson questioned “why the government has so passively abandoned the prospect of a free trade agreement with the United States.” He said ministers should cut business and personal taxes and asked why the government had “trashed” measures to help people own homes.
“We shouldn’t be afraid to be a proper Conservative government,” Johnson said. “When I left office last year the government was only a few points behind in the polls. That gap has now widened enormously. Our party must immediately regain its sense of momentum and its belief in what this country can do.”
Johnson’s resignation means Sunak’s party now faces a special election this summer, threatening to derail his hopes of closing the gap in the polls with opposition Labor ahead of a general election by January 2025.
He stepped down on Friday after a rapid succession of developments plunged the Tories into further political limbo.
Nadine Dorries, a key Johnson ally, resigned her Mid Bedfordshire seat after being denied a peerage on Johnson’s resignation honours. Senior Conservative MP And arch Eurosceptic Bill Cash announced that he would stand down at the next election after Johnson made him an Order of the Companions of Honour.
The list was published on Friday afternoon, sparking more controversy for the Tories after Johnson nominated several key supporters for awards, including former ministers Jacob Rees-Mogg and Priti Patel.
On Saturday, Nigel Adams announced his resignation as a member of the UK parliament with immediate effect, triggering a third by-election after Johnson and the Tories.
During the 2020 and 2021 lockdowns, the Privileges Committee sought to establish whether Johnson deliberately misled lawmakers when he repeatedly denied there had been any breaches of the rules during a series of meetings in Downing Street – collectively known as “partygate”. He later apologized. Room after being fined for breaking the rules. Sunak was also fined.
Johnson launched angry attacks on opposition Labor, claiming his downfall was caused by anti-Brexit campaigners, as well as civil servants Sunak and Sue Gray, the civil servants of the inquiry into Partygate, who played a major role in his downfall.
“There is a witch hunt going on to avenge Brexit and ultimately reverse the 2016 referendum result,” said Johnson, a key architect of the winning “Leave” campaign.
With Johnson’s immediate political career over, he hinted that he might try to make a comeback at some point. “It’s very sad to leave Parliament – at least for now,” he said.
(Other than the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)