Should Boris Johnson Resign?
Who believes what they read anymore? It’s all fake news some people say, perhaps, when it’s convenient to them. But, who wouldn’t believe that Boris is “doing a great job as Foreign Secretary,” especially when it’s coming from the mouth of our honest and decent Brexiteer Michael Gove. If Gove said it on TV, with the conviction of someone, who would never do anything against the “will of the people,” then it must be true.
So, Gove and Johnson, Brexit fighters, and most recently Tory infighters, have been planning to “hijack” Number 10 by stirring up trouble, and making a veiled attack on Chancellor Philip Hammond who wants a softer Brexit and has backed Remain. Softer or harder versions of Brexit don’t exactly translate into good news for the Pound which has tumbled against both the US Dollar and the Euro today. Sterling’s selloff reflects concerns over the instability of May’s government, but also of the fate of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, which is going to be debated tomorrow in parliament.
Signed, Sealed, Delivered
On Sunday, a leaked letter written by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, Secretary of State for the Environment, urged the Prime Minister Theresa May to prepare for a hard Brexit and criticised the government for its refusal to leave the EU without a deal. The attempt was called “sordid” by May’s allies, while the letter was described as “Orwellian” for its instruction to “clarify the minds” of those rebellious MPs who needed to “internalise the logic” of Johnson and Gove’s approach.
In defense of the two Brexiteers, however, the Eurosceptic group Get Britain Out, tweeted that “Remoaners are attacking Michael Gove and Boris Johnson for trying to ensure a real Brexit.” The idea here being that a “real” honest” Brexit can only be achieved through the pure route of a hardline Brexiteer who always knows what is best for the country.
The Brexiteers’ letter, addressed to May and Gavin Barwell, her chief of staff, with the line, “For your and Gavin’s eyes only,” complained about those who “wish to frustrate” Brexit and highlighted worries about the government’s preparations not proceeding with “sufficient energy.” They pressed May “to push [her]… agenda forward with confidence” no matter at what cost or without any conscience about the repercussions of such an act. The so-called “soft-coup,” against May who is held as “their Downing Street hostage,” comes as rumours of 40 Conservative MPs signed a letter of no confidence to May.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn demanded Johnson to be sacked for “undermining our country,” and called May to “govern or go.” In an article for the Sunday Times Corbyn wrote: “The Prime Minister must end the confusion, take on the ‘no-deal’ extremists in her Government and back a jobs first Brexit for Britain.”
Johnson should resign
Johnson’s antics brought him again at the forefront of politics, especially after he commented on the case of Iranian-British aid worker jailed in Iran. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was sentenced to five years by an Iranian court for allegedly plotting to overthrow the Islamic Republic’s clerical establishment. On 1 November Johnson claimed that Nazanin was there to teach people journalism, despite the fact that she was visiting her family. British lawmakers fear that his comments might damage her case and provoke Tehran to extend her jail term. Johnson’s comments were cited on Iranian state television as evidence of her guilt.
But Johnson’s troubles in domestic and foreign affairs don’t end here. He is facing further scrutiny after an image shows him standing next to the so-called “professor”, Joseph Mifsud who was connected to George Papadopoulos and Russian officials and was named in statements of charges made by the US Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. The professor told a colleague that he met the Foreign Secretary to discuss Brexit but Boris denied ever meeting him. The image reignites concerns about the possibility of Russia meddling with the UK referendum and the general elections.
As the London Mayor Sadiq Khan told on the Andrew Marr show: he has offended almost everyone and if “Theresa May was a strong Prime Minister she would have sacked him a long time ago.”
Businesses Urge for trade deal before Christmas
In the meantime, the PM met today with EU business leaders who have urged her to push through with the Brexit talks in order to deliver a breakthrough before Christmas. On the one hand Gove and Johnson are calling for a fast and hard Brexit, whereas, on the other hand, EU business leaders are urging her to move on with a Brexit deal that will secure the future trade relationship with Europe. The CBI’s director-general, explained that a transition deal would be beneficial for both sides of the Channel, something that comes in opposition to Johnson and Gove’s tune. She stated: “A transition period reflecting the current arrangements remains the priority on both sides of the Channel. While businesses welcomed the Prime Minister’s Florence speech, we now need to move beyond warm words if jobs, investment and living standards are to be protected. Moving to the next phase will enable discussions to gather momentum, so negotiators can focus on the future economic relationship. It’s in everyone’s interests that a good, unique final deal reflects the strength and depth of our existing relationship and integration. This will help promote prosperity and better living standards right across Europe for generations to come.”
Johnson might be frustrating with his gaffes and destroying the political stage with his chaotic style, but May should take advice from the opposition this time, and “govern.” Johnson’s political games are like 2-minute TV adverts; they are distracting tricks as vapid as his wishy-washy skills at letter writing.