Third Boris Johnson Cabinet Member Quits—But PM Resists Pressure To Resign
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Topline

Simon Hart—a member of the British Parliament who served as Secretary of State for Wales starting in 2019—announced his resignation Wednesday evening, becoming the third member of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet to quit this week in a pressure campaign to convince Johnson to step down.

Key Facts

Hart sent a resignation letter to Johnson Wednesday evening, saying he felt there was “no other option left” to force change.

His resignation comes a day after Rishi Sunak, chancellor of the Exchequer, and Health Secretary Sajid Javid also handed in resignation notices.

In their resignation letters, none of the three cabinet members cited any specific incident that caused them to lose confidence in Johnson, but the moves come amid allegations the prime minister lied to officials when he said he was unaware of sexual misconduct allegations against former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher before appointing him to the role.

Johnson fired another member of his cabinet, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, earlier Wednesday after Gove privately told Johnson he should step down, according to the BBC.

Crucial Quote

“Colleagues have done their upmost in private and public to help you turn the ship around, but it is with sadness that I feel we have passed the point where this is possible,” Hart wrote.

Contra

Johnson has repeatedly refused calls to resign, saying Wednesday he intends to stay to address “hugely important issues facing the country,” according to Britain’s Press Association.

Key Background

Calls for Johnson to resign are reaching a crescendo after months of mounting criticism of the prime minister for a series of scandals. Johnson in April became the first sitting prime minister to be punished for a crime when he paid a fine for illegally holding parties at Downing Street while the country was on strict Covid lockdown in 2020, a controversy that became widely known as “Partygate.” Members of Johnson’s Conservative party—which selected Johnson to serve as prime minister in 2019—called for a no confidence vote in Johnson over the transgressions, but Johnson survived the vote with 59% support from Conservative MPs last month.

Further Reading

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson Survives Confidence Vote After ‘Partygate’ Scandal (Forbes)

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson Fights For Survival After Wave Of Government Resignations (Forbes)

Britain’s Boris Johnson battles to stay as PM amid revolt (Associated Press)

Michael Gove sacked after he urges PM to resign (BBC)

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