Top aides help Boris Johnson out, add to Downing Street chaos

LONDON – The evacuation of senior officials from No 10 Downing Street on Thursday deepened the crisis engulfing Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as he struggles to stay in power following a scandal over offending parties door lock restrictions.

Mr Johnson’s chief of staff, private secretary, communications director and head of policy have all resigned, leaving the head of the UK government behind on the wheel at a time when Mr Johnson is struggling to avert a military uprising. within the ranks of his Conservative Party. About a dozen party lawmakers have publicly called for a vote of no confidence in the prime minister.

Several departures have fulfilled Mr Johnson’s promise to overhaul Downing Street operations, following release a government report on Monday criticized the office for “excessive” workplace drinking, citing 16 social gatherings – some of which are now being investigated by police – during Britain’s lockdown. strict detention.

But the resignation of his head of policy, Munira Mirza, provides a sting. One of his longest-serving and most influential aides, Ms Mirza sent the prime minister a scathing letter of criticism in which she said he had made “scurrilous accusations” against its leader. The opposition Labor Party, Keir Starmer.

That referred to statements Mr Johnson made in Parliament on Monday, linking Mr Starmer, who is a former lead prosecutor, to not bringing charges against Jimmy Savile, a media figure Famous figure who died in 2011, has never been tried. because the a chain of sex crimes that later came to light.

Mr Starmer was not involved in the incident and subsequently ordered an investigation into his department’s failure to take action. After an exchange in Parliament on Monday, Mr Johnson revised his comment, but Ms Mirza said the prime minister’s clarification, delivered on Thursday, was not a full apology.

“Even now,” she wrote, “I hope you find it self-evident to apologize for a grave error in a judgment that came under great pressure.”

Mr Johnson’s statement also drew criticism from the Exchequer chancellor, Rishi Sunak, whose words are under scrutiny as he is seen as a potential candidate to replace Mr Johnson as Conservative leader. prime minister and prime minister if he is ousted.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t say it, and I’m glad the prime minister made it clear what he meant,” Mr Sunak said at a news conference where he announced plans to try to withstand the blow. of the sharp increase in home energy bills.

The departures of chief of staff Dan Rosenfeld and chief personal secretary, Martin Reynolds, are not as unexpected as Mirza’s. Critics have blamed Mr Rosenfeld for his management of Downing Street, while Mr Reynolds emailed nearly 100 staff members to a BYOB garden party at a time when the government’s own lockdown rules The government forbids people from gathering with more than one person outside of them. families.

The departure of the communications director, Jack Doyle, also comes as no surprise, as his name is linked to a number of parties currently under police investigation. Critics also blamed him for Downing Street’s steadfast initial denial that such gatherings had taken place and for his insistence that all Covid rules were followed.

However, the timing of Mr Doyle’s resignation was unfortunate for Mr Johnson, adding to the feeling of a political overturn. However, for all the turmoil inside Downing Street, the departure may not realistically affect Mr Johnson’s hold on to his job.

He could only be disqualified if 54 Conservative lawmakers sent a letter calling for a vote of no confidence, and then in that vote a majority of Tory lawmakers in Parliament voted against him. . The letters are confidential and the number sent remains a closely guarded secret.

But on Wednesday, three Conservative Party lawmakers publicly called for the prime minister to step down, bringing the total who have come out to about a dozen.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/03/world/europe/top-aides-boris-johnson-quit.html Top aides help Boris Johnson out, add to Downing Street chaos

Fry Electronics Team

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