Written by: Noor
Edited by: Martin
Visual by: Ethan
The infamous 10 Downing Street finds itself in yet another controversy, unsurprisingly surrounding its current inhabitant, Boris Johnson. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has had a rough couple of weeks and has been under sweeping pressure from opposition parties such as Labour, the greater British public and even people within his own party, the Tories. His hosting of parties and various celebrations while the rest of the UK was in lockdown has not gone down well to say the least. The timing of these parties was incredibly relevant to the pressure he is facing. These parties occurred during far less than ideal times such as around the time of Prince Phillip’s passing and times when the well-respected NHS found itself struggling to stay strong amidst rising cases. It was made even more relevant considering that Boris Johnson has had his fair share of controversy in the past, ranging from very odd and controversial decisions regarding Brexit to incredibly racist and degrading comments such as the likening of Muslim women wearing the Niqab to “letterboxes”. Just like in the past, Boris must effectively mend the tears of his actions should he wish to finish his designated term. Though Boris is attempting to divert attention from the partygate issue altogether, many in the UK are requesting, demanding, and even pushing for Boris Johnson’s resignation. People across the UK are hurt and disappointed by the actions of the PM who was more interested in “bring your own booze” initiatives than protecting the UK’s most vulnerable.
In an ideal world, Boris Johnson would be replaced with a Prime Minister who seeks to serve the UK, something that it has not had for as long as many people can remember. Unfortunately, the UK has been riddled with lackluster Prime Ministers for the longest time, ranging from Tony Blair who drastically misled parliament about the Iraq War to division-inducing PMs such as David Cameron through his polarizing decisions about Brexit. Though PM Boris Johnson has done plenty for a potential resignation, I do not see the situation getting any better with a replacement.
I do not believe that the potential replacements of Boris Johnson are likely to do any better in COVID-19 management and the overall leadership of the world’s 6th largest economy than he has. It is important to remember that it is not an opposing candidate that takes over as the leading PM after resignation or ousting but rather a member of the same party. In the case of Boris Johnson, if he is to be ousted or voluntarily resigns, another Conservative will take his place. Considering that Boris’s Tory colleagues were also involved in the parties organized by the PM and were also involved in the decision making processes and conclusions that Boris Johnson has come up with in his term thus far, is it really that reasonable to think that an alternative replacement would do any better?
In order to determine whether or not it is reasonable, it is important to look at the potential favorites. We have Rishi Sunak, the current Chancellor of the Exchequer who has been a Member of Parliament since 2015. Closely following Sunak is Liz Truss, the current Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs who has been actively involved in politics since the early 2000s. Along with Sunak and Truss are Jeremy Hunt and Micheal Gove who may potentially become PM but are unlikely to do so should Boris be ousted. Though these potential future PM’s are all respectable candidates, we are certainly left to wonder whether or not any of these politicians are capable of doing any better than Boris Johnson, considering they have similar political opinions, outlooks and plans of what to do as a product of being part of the same political entity. Another question that arises is, how will the UK cope considering that this will be the fourth PM in a row to leave before the end of their designated term? Will the UK be able to effectively recover from the resignation of Boris as it did with the resignation of Cameron, or will it create problems and trouble that will be difficult to resolve?
As with all democracies, the opinions of the public matter. Many people think it is finally time for Johnson to leave. According to Savanta ComRes, a market research organisation, over two-thirds of the British public believe Boris Johnson needs to resign. Shockingly enough, 42% of those who voted for Boris and the consevative party in the 2019 elections also believe it is time for Boris’s departure. The public, though leaning towards one side more than the other, is still relatively torn over whether or not Boris Johnson should resign, however, it is made clear to us by these polls that a large majority of Brits are certainly unhappy with Boris and his presence as PM.
Overall, it will without a doubt be interesting to see what happens in the next couple of weeks. I hope that if Boris Johnson does get ousted, that it will be for the better of the UK, its citizens, and most importantly, its minorities who are often left to deal with the most impactful shockwaves from political shifts such as a potential PM resignation. Is it time for Boris Johnson’s departure? I can’t say for sure, however, one thing I do know is that Boris Johnson finds himself in a very tough position and must remain very wary and cautious with his actions and discussions should he wish to remain PM.
“Next Tory Leader Odds: The Favourites to Replace Boris Johnson.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 27 Jan. 2022, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/who-will-replace-boris-johnson-tory-b2001795.html.“Two-Thirds of Voters Believe Boris Johnson Should Resign, Poll Shows.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 11 Jan. 2022, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-poll-resign-party-b1990911.html.