LONDON – Britain’s former prime minister, Boris Johnson, announced his resignation from parliament on Friday, claiming he was compelled to do so due to a plot orchestrated by his political adversaries.
The 58-year-old populist leader has been under scrutiny by a cross-party committee regarding allegations of repeatedly lying to parliament about COVID-19 lockdown-breaking parties during his tenure.
Earlier this year, Johnson vehemently denied the accusations brought against him.
However, with the committee preparing to release its findings, he expressed his belief that they were determined to exploit the proceedings to force him out of parliament.
The Privileges Committee, consisting mostly of his own Conservative party members, possesses the authority to impose sanctions, including suspension, for misleading parliament.
Typically, a suspension exceeding 10 working days results in a by-election in the respective MP’s constituency.
Johnson preemptively resigned, avoiding potential findings and the prospect of a humiliating battle to retain his position in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency, where he currently holds a slim majority of over 7,000 votes.
He referred to the committee, chaired by veteran opposition Labour MP Harriet Harman, as a “kangaroo court.”
“It is very sad to be leaving Parliament – at least for now – but above all, I am bewildered and appalled that I can be forced out, anti-democratically… with such egregious bias,” Johnson stated.
He criticized the committee’s unpublished report, claiming it was “riddled with inaccuracies and reeks of prejudice” and expressed frustration at his lack of formal means to challenge its contents.
He further accused the committee of harboring a preconceived intent to find him guilty regardless of the facts.
In response to Johnson’s resignation, the Privileges Committee denounced his statement, stating that it impugned the integrity of the House.
The committee intends to convene on Monday to conclude its inquiry and promptly publish its report.
The announcement of Johnson’s resignation came shortly after he controversially included his closest allies from the Brexit campaign, as well as officials implicated in the “Partygate” scandal, in his prime ministerial resignation honours list.
Concurrently, former culture secretary Nadine Dorries also declared her immediate resignation as an MP.
Johnson achieved a significant victory for the Tories in the December 2019 general election, securing an 80-seat majority on the promise of “getting Brexit done.”
This enabled him to navigate his divorce deal with the European Union through parliament, resolving years of political gridlock.
However, his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the “Partygate” scandal, and a series of other controversies ultimately led to a ministerial rebellion in July of the following year.
Johnson resigned as prime minister and vacated his position in September 2022, although speculation persisted regarding his desire to make a comeback.
Since assuming office in October 2022, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who was once part of Johnson’s inner circle but resigned, has endeavored to stabilize the government.
However, his party’s position in the polls has significantly weakened against the main opposition Labour Party after 13 years in power, and a general election is slated for next year.
Johnson’s resignation is widely interpreted as a retaliatory act against Sunak, whom he blames for the Tory party’s diminished standing.
Johnson’s supporters praised his achievements in delivering Brexit and his efforts in supporting Ukraine.
Nevertheless, Angela Rayner, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, stated that the public, grappling with a cost-of-living crisis, has grown weary of the “never-ending Tory soap opera.”
Daisy Cooper, counterpart to the Liberal Democrats, bid “good riddance,” while Mhairi Black, the Scottish National Party’s deputy leader in the UK Parliament, asserted that Johnson “jumped before he was pushed.”
Johnson’s political career has been marked by his dismissal from his first job at The Times for fabricating a quote.
He gained prominence as the Brussels correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, where he propagated euromyths.
Initially serving as an MP from 2001 to 2008, he resigned to serve two terms as London’s mayor.
Johnson reentered parliament in 2015 and subsequently served as foreign secretary under Theresa May.