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UK PM Boris Johnson in crisis as 2 key ministers quit over sexual misconduct scandal: All we know so far

In a development that could bring down the United Kingdom government, two of the seniormost ministers in the Boris Johnson Cabinet resigned within minutes of each other on Tuesday, citing a lack of confidence in the Prime Minister’s leadership.

WHY THE RESIGNATIONS?

Treasury chief Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid quit the government after Johnson was forced to acknowledge that he changed his story on the way he handled allegations of sexual misconduct by a senior member of his government.

Sunak, in his resignation., wrote: “For me to step down as Chancellor while the world is suffering the economic consequences of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and other serious challenges is a decision that I have not taken lightly.”

“However, the public rightly expects the government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously. I recognise this may be my last ministerial job, but I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning.”

Javid said the public had lost confidence in Boris Johnson and so had he. “Conservatives at their best are seen as hard-headed decision-makers, guided by strong values. We may not have always been popular, but we have been competent in acting in the national interest. Sadly, in the current circumstances, the public is concluding that we are now neither. The vote of confidence last month showed that a large number of our colleagues agree. It was a moment for humility, grip and new direction. I regret to say, however, that it is clear to me that this situation will not change under your leadership – and you have therefore lost my confidence too,” he wrote in his resignation.

CHRIS PINCHER SCANDAL

The latest scandal saw Johnson hit by allegations that he failed to come clean about a lawmaker, Chris Pincher, who was appointed to a senior position despite claims of sexual misconduct surfacing against him in 2019.

On July 1, the UK government claimed that Johnson was unaware of the allegations against Pincher. But a spokesperson later revealed that it was not entirely true and the PM did know about the accusations. On Tuesday, Simon McDonald, the seniormost official at the UK Foreign Office between 2015 and 2020, also accused the Prime Minister of lying.

Soon, Johnson faced pressure to explain what he knew about previous misconduct allegations against lawmaker Chris Pincher, who resigned as deputy chief whip on Thursday amid complaints that he groped two men at a private club.

Minutes before the resignations of Javid and Sunak were announced, Johnson told reporters that Pincher should have been fired from the government after a 2019 incident.

Asked if it was an error to appoint Pincher to the government, Johnson said “I think it was a mistake and I apologize for it. In hindsight, it was the wrong thing to do.”

(With inputs from AFP)




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