Long-time ally turns on Johnson, signals bid to succeed him

London, Jul 6 (EFE).- British Attorney General Suella Braverman said Wednesday that “the time has come” for Boris Johnson to resign as prime minister and announced her intention to vie for the leadership of the governing Conservatives if he does step down.

Until now one of Johnson’s most stalwart allies, Braverman told ITV television that the former London mayor’s role as head of the party and the government has become “untenable.”

“The balance has tipped now in favor of saying that the prime minister – it pains me to say it – but it’s time to go,” Braverman said.

“If there is a leadership contest, I will put my name into the ring,” she said, while adding that despite withdrawing support from Johnson, she did not plan to quit the government.

“We’re in a crisis and I have statutory, legal and constitutional duties,” she said. “We need an attorney in government.”

She acknowledged, however, that Johnson may ask her to resign, and said that she would “do whatever the PM asks me to do.”

Braverman spoke after Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart became the 43rd person to resign from Johnson’s in less than 48 hours.

“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,” he wrote Johnson in his resignation letter.

The BBC reported earlier that Johnson told Cabinet ministers in a meeting Wednesday at No. 10 Downing Street that he intends to carry on.

Johnson, according to the network, emphasized the importance of continuing to “focus on the challenges” facing the United Kingdom.

The flurry of resignations comes in the wake of Johnson acknowledging on Tuesday, after initially denying it, that he was aware of allegations of sexual misconduct by Conservative party whip Chris Pincher and that Pincher had been investigated in the past for inappropriate behavior towards men.

Johnson had promoted Pincher to the role of party whip when the prime minister was aware that he had been accused of inappropriate behavior while working at the foreign office, a decision Johnson said Wednesday during prime minister’s questions that he “greatly” regrets.

The parliamentary session ended with erstwhile Health Secretary Sajid Javid delivering a devastating rebuke of Johnson’s leadership, in which he said the prime minister’s actions had undermined public trust in the party and the government.

“We have reason to question the truth and integrity of what we have all been told. And at some point, we have to conclude that enough is enough. I believe that point is now,” he said.

“I have concluded that the problem starts at the top, and that is not going to change” until Johnson steps down, Javid said.

The Conservative leader narrowly overcame a recent internal vote of no confidence, but the vote demonstrated dissatisfaction with his leadership following a series of scandals, including multiple parties held at Downing Street when the country was under strict lockdown due to the pandemic.

British media reports suggest that Tory rebels are looking to modify the rules of the influential 1922 Committee – which groups the MPs of the party without a government post – to be able to call a second motion of censure against the prime minister.

Under the current rules of that committee, Johnson can’t face another motion of censure for 12 months. EFE er-jm/ks/mp/dr

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