Complaints of parties involving Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the UK’s strict lockdown caused public opinion to harshly attack the politician. Despite apologizing to the British, the Prime Minister says he does not intend to resignwhich should occupy until 2024.
However, with the current situation, there is pressure for the prime minister’s Conservative party to withdraw support for Johnson and for a new name to be chosen early. It is worth remembering that it is not the population that elects who occupies this position in the parliamentary system, but the members of the party or coalition with the largest number of elected parliamentarians.
Even in this uncertain scenario, the ESPM professor and PhD in international relations from the London School of Economics Carolina Pavese believes that Johnson still has a few months ahead of the United Kingdom.
“There is no consensual name within the party that can replace Johnson. There is pressure to empty the chair, but there is no configuration of a candidate to replace or a definition of names”, explains Pavese.
The restrictive measures imposed by the UK government in the pandemic were one of Johnson’s flags in 2020, leading the population to anger with the revelation of the scandal called Partygate by the British press., one references the parties held at the official residence and that violated the country’s isolation rules.
“The general feeling is one of revolt, indignation and injustice. Lockdown rules have been very strict in the UK on every wave,” says Pavese. “This experience of this lockdown is still very much present in the relationship of British citizens with the pandemic and a very strong characteristic of how the government dealt with the pandemic. coronavirus.”
Just the tip of the iceberg
Johnson took over as prime minister in 2019 following the departure of disputed Theresa May, amid an attempt to make the Brexit — nickname given to the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union. Right from the start, the clumsy and untraditional way for a British politician made the premier’s image increasingly frayed.
Partygate alone further scars the image of Johnson, who is currently facing defection from part of the cabinet, including resignations on suspicion of fraud in aid that could reach 3.4 billion pounds sterling (about Rs. $25 billion).
However, there are allegations of blackmail within the Conservative Party and a case of Islamophobia against Johnson’s former junior transport minister, Nus Ghani. All these sensitive issues in British society make the prime minister’s life in office difficult.
“Nus Ghani says that at the time he went to Johnson, who was already prime minister, and took this complaint to him, saying that there had been Islamophobia within the party. Johnson said he would not get involved with this issue,” says Pavese, highlighting other cases of xenophobia involving the current prime minister.
In the view of the professor and doctor in international relations, Johnson’s image as an unconventional politician, who once leveraged the prime minister’s career, may be contributing negatively at this moment.
“Johnson also faces a certain burnout with this image of a braggart, who is an atypical politician and who has somehow leveraged his career as a populist leader, but who is not a traditional profile of the British politician.”
What does Johnson need to do to stay in office?
This week, top British government official Sue Gray is due to release a full report on the parties hosted by Johnson during the lockdown. The inquiry may bring up points unknown to the general public, but which are unlikely to further damage Johnson’s popularity.
Right now, the prime minister is trying to gather allies and provide favors to parliamentarians from different sectors to reduce the damage of government scandals and maintain the governance of the United Kingdom.
“Johnson is trying to sew alliances. His permanence largely depends on his party”, explains Pavese, who emphasizes that tax and environmental reforms can be accelerated or interrupted in an attempt to please different groups of parliamentarians.
Another point that may bring breath to Johnson is the local elections, which will take place in the next quarter. According to Pavese, sudden movements, such as the fall of the prime minister, can drastically alter the results of the election – something that should be avoided at all costs by Conservative Party politicians.
For the specialist, Johnson should not leave the post until the end of the European summer, in September. It will be up to him to clean up his image by then and make the British forget about all these scandals.
“He has always played politics by minimizing the impact and severity of his actions, putting himself in a way like a great outspoken, great populist leader — which has a certain positive effect and has worked for him so far. Johnson managed to reach the position of prime minister with this profile”, concludes Pavese.