The weirdest aspect of this whole saga is that the scandal has absolutely nothing to do with Johnson’s own penchant for prompting scandals. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a man besieged by scandals of his own making, has resigned as leader of the Conservative Party for a stunning factor: a scandal that was only partially of his own making.
The exact details are overly complicated and rather complicated, not unlike Johnson himself, but it comes down to this: He appointed a guy who had been repeatedly accused of being a “sex pest” to a senior government position. Last week, the alleged sex bug, Chris Pincher, resigned, saying in a letter that he “drank far excessive” and “ashamed” himself at a personal members club. (That idea– how extremely British.) “Embarrassed” is an odd euphemism for groping 2 individuals, which is what Pincher actually did.
Johnson’s office spent the weekend bickering over who understood what when concerning the accusations against Pincher that had drifted around Westminster for years. On Tuesday, two senior Cabinet ministers gave up; by Thursday morning, nearly 60 ministers (aka Johnson-appointed federal government officials) had also resigned. Johnson lastly took the tip. (Sort of. He’s remaining on as prime minister until the Conservative Party holds a leadership election to replace him.).
The weirdest aspect of this entire legend, however, is that the inciting scandal had absolutely nothing to do with Johnson’s own fondness for prompting scandals. This is a man whose own romantic history is so weird that his Wikipedia entry as soon as said that he had “a minimum of” six kids and when he confirmed that he performed in truth have 6 kids, it was headline news. He now has 7, if you’re questioning: Four adult children with his very first better half, one child who was the product of an affair– whose presence he still hasn’t actually confirmed– and 2 with his current wife, Carrie (whom he started dating privately while he was still wed to his first partner).
A real Elon Musk over here. His other scandals ran the gamut, from Partygate (when he and his personnel at 10 Downing Street had numerous affairs during London’s rigorous covid lockdown) to ordinary political corruption (accepting “donations” for six-figure restorations on his federal government house) to making the child of Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev a Lord (yes, British politics is wild). And none of that’s entering his rampant racism and misogyny; overseeing the loss of smooth trade with its biggest financial partner (aka Brexit); the failure to change flammable materials that caused a high-casualty fire in a house tower; horrific immigration policies; and general conservative bullshit.
This story is far from over. One of Johnson’s former assistants tweeted that the prime minister’s method right now is just “play for time” which if the Conservative Party doesn’t set up a caretaker prime minister, there will be “CARNAGE.”. As an American journalist, I know a thing or 2 about exhausting and confusing political news cycles. So to my British pals, I bid you godspeed.