Boris Johnson’s shaky relationship with the reality flowed via virtually all the pieces he did. It characterised a lot of his profession, from his school days on the elite Eton faculty for boys all the way in which to 10 Downing Road.
Peddling long-held myths about immigration and European meddling paved the way in which for him to change into prime minister and take his nation out of the European Union, whereas “Partygate” cemented Johnson’s aura as a frontrunner who performs quick and unfastened with information and guidelines.
On Thursday, after a tumultuous 48 hours and a string of resignations from his authorities, the British prime minister laid out plans for his personal departure.
“In politics,” he advised reporters and employees assembled outdoors his official residence in London, “nobody is remotely indispensable.”
WATCH | British PM Boris Johnson broadcasts his resignation:
In the end, although, it wasn’t Johnson’s personal mistruths that introduced him down after three years as Conservative chief. It was his insistence that others lie — typically unknowingly — on his behalf.
Sajid Javid, Johnson’s well being secretary till Tuesday night, made his annoyances on this level clear in a speech within the Home of Commons.
“This week once more, we’ve had cause to query the reality and integrity of what we have all been advised,” Javid advised MPs. “In some unspecified time in the future, we’ve to conclude that sufficient is sufficient.”
‘A jocular, self-serving method’
Javid pointed to “Partygate,” the scandal involving boozy gatherings throughout COVID-19 lockdowns that led Johnson to change into the primary sitting British prime minister to be sanctioned by police. Javid stated Johnson’s workforce had assured him no guidelines had been damaged, once they very a lot had.
After Javid’s resignation, greater than 40 different ministers and aides adopted him out the door in protest of the prime minister.
Outgoing justice minister Victoria Atkins wrote, “I can not pirouette round our fractured values.” Jo Churchill, who served as setting minister, added that “a jocular, self-serving method” to the function of prime minister “is certain to have its limitations.”
It is not like there hadn’t been crimson flags.
Think about this warning from 40 years in the past: “Boris typically appears affronted when criticized for what quantities to a gross failure of accountability.”
That is what Martin Hammond, who taught literature at Eton School, wrote in a letter to Johnson’s father, Stanley, in 1982. The now-famous be aware was reprinted in a 2012 biography by Andrew Gimson when Johnson was mayor of London.
As an indication of issues to return, Hammond added, “Boris actually has adopted a disgracefully cavalier angle to his classical research.”
Former prime minister David Cameron crossed paths with Johnson, first at Eton, then once more on the College of Oxford. A Every day Mail front page this week reminded Britons how Cameron got here to view his would-be Tory colleague: as a “greased piglet.”
Johnson “manages to slide via different folks’s fingers the place mere mortals fail,” Cameron stated in 2019.
Mendacity led to his downfall
Johnson’s most up-to-date scandal, nevertheless, signalled the loss of life of his premiership. And once more, it concerned his hassle with the reality.
After sexual misconduct allegations surfaced final week about Conservative MP Chris Pincher, Downing Road initially denied Johnson had any data of earlier complaints when he promoted Pincher to the function of deputy chief whip.
Finally, Johnson’s spokesperson was compelled to acknowledge the prime minister had in reality been personally knowledgeable of some claims earlier than Pincher’s promotion.
“Very clear proof that this week No. 10 has been hiding the reality, if not outright mendacity, I believe, is the straw that broke the camel’s again,” Anand Menon, a professor of politics at King’s School London, advised CBC Information.
Johnson’s method did not solely run roughshod with information. It typically proved hurtful.
In his resignation letter yesterday, equalities minister Mike Freer stated Johnson’s authorities created “an environment of hostility for LGBT+ folks.”
Earlier this 12 months, Johnson was accused of disrespecting households of intercourse abuse victims by repeating an unsubstantiated declare involving opposition chief Keir Starmer and infamous youngster predator Jimmy Savile.
Deceptive on Brexit
Johnson led the marketing campaign in 2016 for the U.Ok. to give up the EU, a mission largely based mostly on Britons’ want to larger restrict immigration. Johnson famously rode across the nation in a crimson Brexit bus emblazoned with daring white letters claiming Britain may select to fund its Nationwide Well being Service as a substitute of “[sending] the EU 350 million kilos every week” (or greater than $700 million Cdn on the time).
The U.Ok. Statistics Authority labelled the determine “a transparent misuse of official statistics.”
Johnson’s two predecessors, Cameron and Theresa Might, each noticed their tenures as prime minister collapse due to Brexit. The EU divorce then served as a springboard for Johnson to leap into No. 10.
His resignation speech on Thursday got here with no apology and little signal of contrition. As an alternative, Johnson described the Tory push for a change in management as “eccentric.”
The tone may not have come as a shock to Johnson’s outdated trainer, Martin Hammond.
“I believe,” Hammond wrote in that letter in 1982, “he actually believes that it’s churlish of us to not regard him as an exception, one who must be freed from the community of obligation which binds everybody else.”
Thomas Daigle reported extensively on Brexit and the tumult within the British Conservative Occasion whereas based mostly in CBC’s London bureau from 2016 to 2019.
With recordsdata from Ashley Burke