The 4 key events that saw Boris Johnson’s government fall
It’s now been confirmed by No 10 that prime minister Boris Johnson will make a statement later today, officially resigning from his role.
It is understood the PM will step down as party leader and remain the PM until the autumn – allowing time for the Conservatives to hold elect a new leader. But the opposition is not happy that the PM will remain in a caretaker role and is calling for someone else to take over – front runners include Dominic Raab or Theresa May for the caretaker role.
After a wild 48 hours with started with the shocking resignation of Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak, a tough PMQs session was then followed by a bruising liaison committee meeting. The PM left that meeting to be met by some of the cabinet waiting at No 10, telling the PM it’s time to resign. In that time, many more resignations rolled in.
But last night the PM remained defiant, saying he would not leave his role. But by this morning, Boris Johnson has accepted the reality and is ready to step aside. At the time of writing, a massive 59 MPs have resigned from Boris Johnson’s government.
Just three years ago, Boris Johnson led the Tories to their biggest election victory since 1987.
So how did we get here? A look at the five key events that ended Johnson’s premiership.
Chris Pincher scandal
Chris Pincher was a politician most hadn’t heard of until last week, and now he’s played a massive role in Boris Johnson’s government’s fall.
On Wednesday 29 June, the MP Chris Pincher – who at the time was the Tory deputy chief whip – “embarrassed himself” at a club in London – he blamed alcohol.
He has been accused of groping two men, which led to many allegations – some dating back years. And that set off a chain of events that ultimately ended with the PM’s resignation.
First No 10 said Boris Johnson was not aware of “specific allegations” about Chris Pincher before he appointed him to the role of deputy chief whip in February. Minister later went on TV and made the same statement – a statement that later proved to be inaccurate.
On 4 July, the BBC reported the PM had been aware of a formal complaint and the next day Lord McDonald said the PM had been told of the complaint in person.
The PM then admitted he had been told in 2019, and apologised for appointing Chris Pincher as deputy chief whip.
Another massive blow to the PM was the Partygate scandal, which dominated the news for many, many months – the prime minister was fined for breaking lockdown rules after attending a gathering on his birthday in June 2020.
He also apologised for attending another party in the Downing Street garden during the first lockdown.
The Partygate scandal let to the Met Police issuing 126 fines to 83 people who broke lockdown rules in Downing Street and Whitehall.
The fines were followed by the release of the Sue Gray report who described a series of social events by political staff that broke lockdown rules.
“The senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture,” she wrote.
The PM is currently being investigated over whether he knowingly misled Parliament when, last December, he told the Commons that “all guidance was followed completely in No 10.”
The cost of living crisis
Inflation has risen sharply in 2022 – the current rate is 9.1 per cent.
The cost of living and rising tax were in part outside Boris Johnson’s control. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, for example, has led to rises in food prices.
The government have taken some steps such as cutting fuel duty by 5p per litre – they also went had a tax rise in April. National Insurance went up by 1.25 pence in the pound.
“In the middle of the worst cost of living crisis for decades,” said Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer in April, “the government chooses to increase taxes on working people”.
Owen Paterson row
The Owen Paterson row is seen by many as one of the key events that have led to Boris Johnson being a one-term PM. In October 2021, a House of Commons committee recommended a 30-day suspension for then-Tory MP Owen Paterson.
The committee says Paterson broke lobbying rules to try to benefit companies who paid him. But the Conservatives – led by PM Boris Johnson – voted to pause his suspension and set up a new committee to look at how investigations were carried out.
Following the backlash, Owen Paterson resigned and the PM admitted he had “crashed the car” in how he handled the case.