Johnson Has Turned Tory Leadership Into ‘Poisoned Chalice’ for His Replacement, Observers Say


MIA „Rosiya Segodnya“




Sputnik International


MIA „Rosiya Segodnya“

Sputnik International


MIA „Rosiya Segodnya“

boris johnson, resignation



The many scandals surrounding Boris Johnson have finally caught up with him, with his handling of allegations of sexual misconduct by now sacked deputy chief whip Chris Pincher becoming the straw that broke his government’s back. On Thursday, Johnson announced his resignation as both party leader and prime minister, pending a replacement.

Any attempt by the Conservative Party to pull a Margaret Thatcher-John Major-style leadership turnaround post-Johnson will be no easy task thanks to the Tories’ national unpopularity, and there is no clear frontrunner to replace him anyway. In the meantime, very little of substance will change in Britain’s foreign or domestic policy, whether it comes from the UK’s entanglement in the Ukraine crisis, or the cost of living emergency at home, academics, observers of British politics and ex-politicians have told Sputnik.

“This decision by Boris Johnson will have some impact on any future general election,” Alistair Jones, associate professor of politics at De Montfort University, explained in an interview. Johnson, Jones noted, had long been seen as an electoral asset to the Conservatives due to his affable personality and public endorsement.

“However, with what has gone on over the past two or three years, not just the Chris Pincher saga recently, but all the lying to parliament that has gone on, the fact that he has also lied to the monarch, there that there has been a lot of cronynism, there have been some dodgy dealings with particular companies getting contracts to provide personal protective equipment to the NHS with no previous experience of doing so. All of this has tarnished him,” the academic explained.
FILE - Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson poses for a photo wearing boxing gloves during a stop in his General Election Campaign trail - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.07.2022

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Jones emphasized that whoever replaces the outgoing prime minister, they will have the unenviable task of trying to wipe the slate clean of the scandals surrounding his government.

“In the same way that John Major did after he replaced Margaret Thatcher [in 1990] and of course, Major went on to win the subsequent general election,” Jones said. The problem, he believes, is that “as things stand…the Conservative Party is so unpopular…that anybody taking over as party leader, they are going to be taking on something of a poisoned chalice.”

Political analyst and former MEP Nick Griffin concurs, saying that Johnson’s status within his party as “talisman for electoral victory”-turned “millstone around their necks” will give the Tories only a “brief window of opportunity to persuade voters that the Conservatives have turned over a new leaf and can be trusted more than the thoroughly uninspiring (and equally anti-Russian) Keir Starmer,” the leader of the Labour Party.

Humiliating Inevitability

Mark Garnett, a professor of politics at Lancaster University, and author of numerous books on British politics, including ‘The British Prime Minister in an Age of Upheaval’, and ‘From Anger to Apathy: The British Experience Since 1975’, considers Johnson’s resignation in disgrace to have been an inevitability, and suggested that “by clinging to office long after his departure became inevitable, the prime minister “exposed the weaknesses of Britain’s unwritten constitution.”

“Now that he has gone there should be a serious review of a system which could produce a leader whose unsuitability for the job was obvious to serious observers long before he became prime minister,” Dr. Garnett said.

Laura McAllister, a professor of public policy at the Wales Governance Centre, similarly indicated that Johnson’s resignation had become unavoidable, and suggested that the way it has transpired has been a humiliation to the office and the nation.

“He’s eventually bowed to pressure in a humiliating way, I have to say. And this shows a certain lack of dignity and respect for the views of not only his colleagues in government, but the public at large, where he’s clearly lost authority, trust and respect,” McAllister said.

No Clear Candidate for Takeover

There is no shortage of Tory officials and lawmakers to replace BoJo, including former chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak and former secretary of state for health Sajid Javid, minister of state for trade policy Penny Mordaunt, deputy prime minister Dominic Raab and even foreign secretary Liz Truss. But what all of the observers queried by Sputnik agree on is that there is no clear frontrunner for the job.
A general view at dusk of 10 Downing Street in London, Monday, June 6, 2022. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson survived a no-confidence vote on Monday, securing enough support from his Conservative Party to remain in office despite a rebellion that leaves him a weakened leader with an uncertain future. - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.07.2022

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“I notice that both the pound and the stock market have risen since the resignation. Those who had not resigned from [Johnson’s] discredited government before today will not be in the running to succeed him,” Rodney Atkinson, an academic, political and economic commentator and businessman, predicted. “Truss in particular with her irresponsible war mongering not only in Ukraine but around the world was in any case no longer credible. Rishi Sunak might have improved his chances but Nadhim Zahawi who replaced him has not,” he said.

Griffin agrees, pointing to the longstanding British political tradition that “‘he who wields the knife’ against a prime minister is not likely to replace his victim. So despite the high profile role of Sunak and Javid in the ousting of the disgraced Johnson, his successor is likely to be chosen from among those who stayed ‘loyal’ a little longer,” the observer believes.

“There can be no doubt that the White Hall and intelligence services ‘Deep State’ will want the succession to go to an MP with a particularly strong track record of Russophobia and outspoken support for NATO’s puppet regime in Kiev,” the observer said, noting that for this reason Truss and secretary of state for defense Ben Wallace will likely be “pushed forward as frontrunners.”

Professor McAllister noted that there is no shortage of contenders, but only two or three possible favorites. “One would expect that to include potentially Dominic Raab, potentially Sajid Javid, potentially Rishi Sunak, but obviously all of those have issues around them. Liz Truss, possibly, and outsiders, [health and social care select committee chair] Jeremy Hunt. [Deputy chairman of the COVID recovery group] Steve Baker said that he will stand. [Possibly attorney general for England and Wales] Suella Braverman.”

People holds placards as they protest outside the Houses of Parliament - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.07.2022

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More of the Same at Home and Abroad

The experts predicted that Britain’s foreign and domestic policies not change, whoever is in charge.

“While millions of Brits are today celebrating the resignation of Boris Johnson, no one should think that whoever follows him will be any better, or any less dangerous in terms of their foreign policy decisions,” Griffin stressed.

The observer believes that the next election, whenever it takes place, “is going to be fought against the backdrop of the economic and social catastrophe created by the entire Westminster elite,” and that “whoever is in charge, they are going to be hammered at the polls as the public protest at the impact of the elite’s triple suicide efforts of dismantling Britain’s energy supply with the ‘green agenda’, their hysterical Covid lockdown and money-printing spree, and their self-defeating [Russia] sanctions regime.”

“The only thing that might save the Conservatives from a long period out of office is the fact that the Labour Party has turned its back on working class bread and butter policies in favor of an obsession with LGBTQ+ and other woke dogmas,” Griffin thinks.

Ultimately, according to the observer, while Britain’s new “captain” can “give orders for some minor rearrangements of the deckchairs,” the ship of state “will continue to sink” thanks to the globalist policies which sparked the current cost of living crisis, and to which the country’s current crop of elites is addicted to.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to media next to 10 Downing Street in London, Thursday, July 7, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.07.2022

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Professor Jones also believes that when it comes to major changes in domestic or foreign policy, “the reality is nothing is going to change.”

“The UK Government will stand very strongly alongside the government of Ukraine, giving them the support that they have done throughout the entire war. And in domestic politics, if we look at the cost of living crisis again, nothing much is going to change. I think what will be interesting will be to see, whoever takes over as party leader, who they then appoint to their cabinet, and what tinkering will be done to the British economy and the whole British social structure. The reality is there’s not a lot can be done in the short term until these changes that the Johnson government has started to put through, actually filter through. In many respects, for the next 18 months and maybe even longer, up until our next general election, it’s likely to be more of the same,” Jones explained. Johnson Has Turned Tory Leadership Into ‘Poisoned Chalice’ for His Replacement, Observers Say

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