UK Attorney General Makes Leadership Challenge Pitch as BoJo Teeters on the Brink

© AP Photo / Alberto PezzaliBritish lawmaker Suella Braverman, the Attorney General arrives for a Cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street, in London, Friday, Feb. 14, 2020
British lawmaker Suella Braverman, the Attorney General arrives for a Cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street, in London, Friday, Feb. 14, 2020 - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.07.2022
Boris Johnson seemed to be teetering on the brink on Wednesday as he took a battering at PMQs and appeared before the Liaison Committee, questioned on his knowledge of the damning Chris Pincher scandal. Under growing pressure to quit, with over 40 ministers and aides resigning, he claimed he had a "colossal mandate to keep going" from voters.
As Boris Johnson refused to bow to growing pressure to resign on a day rocked by the resignation of over 40 ministers and aides, the first leadership challenger has openly thrown their hat into the ring.
Attorney General Suella Braverman – previously a Johnson loyalist – speaking on ITV's Robert Peston, said:
"If there is a leadership contest, I will put my name into the ring."
Braverman joined the deafening chorus of calls for the UK prime minister to resign, insisting:

"The time has come for the Prime Minister to step down."

According to Braverman, it was "untenable" for Johnson to continue clinging to his prime ministership after having handled matters “appallingly” in recent days.
"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," she added.
Asked if she had ever considered standing for PM, Braverman answered: "Yes, I will."

"I love this country, my parents came here with absolutely nothing and it was Britain that gave them hope, security and opportunity. This country has afforded me incredible opportunities in education and in my career. I owe a debt of gratitude to this country and to serve as PM would be the greatest honor, so yes, I will try," the Cabinet minister and MP for Fareham stated.

Appearing on the same program, Matt Hancock, ex-health secretary, said the PM should "of course" quit, but ruled out standing in a future leadership election.
"I do care deeply about what happens next," Hancock added, saying he would be "happy" to serve in government. He also predicted that Boris Johnson would not be leader for much longer, "whether that's tomorrow or next week."

‘Avalanche of Resignations’

Speculation of an imminent challenge to Boris Johnson was triggered amid the latest scandal to rock No 10. On Wednesday, support for the PM's leadership collapsed in Westminster as a total of 46 individuals quit their government posts.
For the beleaguered prime minister, the avalanche of resignations began with two of his most senior ministers – Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Chancellor Rishi Sunak – stepping down on Tuesday amid fallout from No 10’s handling of allegations of sexual misconduct by disgraced ex-deputy chief whip Chris Pincher.
(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 24, 2019 Britain's new Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures after giving a speech outside 10 Downing Street in London the day he was formally appointed British prime minister - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.07.2022
Boris Johnson ‘Vows to Carry On’ After Sunak, Javid ‘Shell-Shock' Exits Prompt Emergency Reshuffle
The former MP for Tamworth constituency quit as deputy chief whip on July 1 and was suspended by his party over allegations he groped two men at the Conservative Party’s private members’ Carlton Club in London on Wednesday evening. In his resignation letter, Pincher confessed he "drank far too much" and "embarrassed [himself] and other people," but stopped short of addressing the inappropriate behavior claims.
Pincher had quit his office once before – in 2017 – after he was accused of inappropriate conduct towards ex-Olympic rower and Tory activist Alex Story. At the time, the Tory MP was cleared of wrongdoing by a party probe.
However, the scandal resurfaced amid a spate of fresh allegations against Chris Pincher, which are now to be investigated by the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS).
(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 5, 2022 shows Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts during the Platinum Pageant in London on June 5, 2022 as part of Queen Elizabeth II's platinum jubilee celebrations - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.07.2022
Johnson Accused of ‘Sweeping Sexual Misconduct Under Carpet’, ‘Failure to Act’ Over Pincher Claims
After several attempts to sweep the scandal under the rug, Downing Street finally admitted the PM had known about allegations of inappropriate behavior by the now-suspended Pincher as far back as in 2019 before appointing him to the position of deputy chief whip in February.
Boris Johnson was forced to carry out a swift reshuffle on Wednesday night to fill vacancies in his Cabinet left by the stampede of resignations that followed the exit of Sunak and Javid.
A protester holds a sign outside the Houses of Parliament - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.07.2022
Beleaguered BoJo Battles With Opposition at Weekly PM's Questions
The British prime minister also faced tough PMQs, where the opposition wielded the fresh ammunition against him with brutal force. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer read out allegations against Chris Pincher in a "reminder to all those propping up this PM how serious this situation is."
Starmer said the long list of resignations had left the PM with a "Z-list cast of nodding dogs" on his frontbench, and that "sinking ships [are] fleeing the rat."
However, Johnson insisted:
"The job of a prime minister in difficult circumstances when he has been handed a colossal mandate is to keep going, and that's what I am going to do."
Facing the Liaison Committee in the House of Commons later on July 6, the PM promised to remain in power, as it is not "responsible just to walk away." He also claimed that he would "of course" still be prime minister on Thursday.

‘Men in Grey Suits’

Boris Johnson appeared to be hemorrhaging support on Wednesday.
Johnson allies were cited by UK media outlets as confirming that a delegation of Cabinet ministers had gone to Downing Street to tell the PM he should resign.
Home Secretary Priti Patel, Nadhim Zahawi, freshly appointed chancellor, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, Policing Minister Kit Malthouse, new Education Secretary Michelle Donelan, and Chief Whip Chris Heaton-Harris as well as Welsh Secretary Simon Hart all purportedly arrived at Number 10 to deliver a "final ultimatum" to Johnson, according to Sky News, adding "you go or we do."
Shapps is believed to have told Johnson that there was no chance he could win a second confidence vote.
People holds placards as they protest outside the Houses of Parliament - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.07.2022
Academics See No Clear Exit for Johnson or Replacement PM
Yet Johnson’s mood was defiant, according to a source cited by The Guardian.
“He said millions of people voted for me only two years ago – and I’m going to fight this to the end. I can’t just pack that in,” the insider was quoted as saying.
According to others allegedly present in the room, attempts to sway the PM failed.
“I am not sure what happens next when the men in grey suits come for you and you just – don’t go,” a Tory source said.

Gove Sacked ‘For Disloyalty’

Towards the end of the dramatic day, Boris Johnson sacked his Leveling Up Secretary Michael Gove.
Gove had reportedly urged the PM to quit earlier on Wednesday. According to No 10 sources cited by The Guardian, Gove was suspected of having been “disloyal,” and possibly behind negative quotes in the media about Johnson and perhaps even plotting Johnson’s downfall.
After Gove was sacked, Welsh Secretary Simon Hart quit an hour later, saying he had “desperately hoped” not to write his letter of resignation.
Despite all the pressure, Boris Johnson is said to be bullish in his determination to stay on. The PM's Parliamentary Private Secretary James Duddridge was cited by Sky News as saying Johnson was "in a buoyant mood" and "will fight on."

BoJo May Be ‘Dragged Out Next Week’

Meanwhile, the 1922 Committee, formally known as the Conservative Private Members' Committee, consisting of all Tory backbench members of Parliament, is set to elect a new executive on Monday.
The committee will decide whether it should change the rules to allow a fresh vote of no confidence on Johnson.
Boris Johnson survived a no confidence vote over the “Partygate” last month, and was thus granted immunity from another challenge for 12 months under current guidelines. However, the influential group decided it would hold elections for a new executive on Monday, and they could decide on any rule change that same day.
According to the Scottish National Party’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, cited by Sky News, Boris Johnson will be "dragged out next week" by his own MPs.
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