Boris Johnson is in low hours. With several fronts open, the British prime minister faces what is, in all probability, his toughest week since he took office in the summer of 2019. In December of that year, just two years now, he won an absolute majority in Parliament, a triumph that outlined a promising path, where it would be easy to govern. What neither he nor anyone else had is that a pandemic would put half the planet on the ropes just a few months later. For a season he weathered a storm well where Brexit, his recovery after falling ill from Covid-19 and various scandals came together, but now the situation is very different. In just a few days, the ‘premier’ has witnessed how favorable opinion about him has plummeted to its lowest point in polls, which shows his disconnection with ordinary people, even with his lifelong voters.
Proof of this is the hit that occurred this Thursday when losing the support of the voters in the English constituency of North Shropshire, where a vote was held to elect the successor to the conservative Owen Paterson, who resigned a few weeks ago due to a conflict of interest scandal after being the head of this town for almost a quarter of a century. The triumph of the liberal democrat Helen Morgan is an obvious sign that the ‘premier’ is suffering a serious leadership crisis. In his speech, Morgan exclaimed: “Tonight the people of North Shropshire have spoken on behalf of the British people.” “They have said loud and clear: ‘Boris Johnson, the party’s over,'” he snapped.
But this blow was just the icing on the cake of a bigger problem: the serious fracture within the Conservative Party that caused a hundred deputies from their own ranks to rebel against Johnson earlier this week in a vote in the House of Commons. The reason? The new measures to face the spread of the new variant of the coronavirus, Ómicron, which turned everything upside down when it was believed that the worst of the pandemic had already passed. The ‘premier’ had to rely on the opposition for them to be approved.
This is the biggest rebellion of his tenure as prime minister. Representative Geoffrey Clifton-Brown told Sky News after the vote that the scale of the rebellion shows that there is “quite a significant divide” in the Party. “The prime minister has to think carefully” how to govern with a united party “because we all know what happens to disunited parties,” he said. “If this continues, some of us will think that we have to make a change. I’m still with him, I still support him, but he has to change, “he warned.
The rebels they don’t seem to have a clear ringleaderAlthough the first revolts began within the Covid Recovery Group, a hard core of parliamentarians whose pulse is not shaking to openly confront the leader of their party. The rest of the rebels come from all strata, from those who have openly opposed since the beginning of the pandemic to confinements, those from the most extreme area of the right, Brexit supporters, former ministers, moderate centrist deputies such as Damian Green, veterans … One of the latter told the BBC that Tuesday’s vote was “a shot off the bow of Downing Street” and warned that the rebellion could turn into a real battle if the Executive chooses to introduce more restrictions, a threat to a personal freedom that the Tories champion and in which many of them are not willing to give in. And not only that: the illegal parties held in Downing Street last year have caused an explosion of anger.
In a year, if he continues like this, Johnson could be out. This is believed by a parliamentarian who spoke on condition of anonymity with the newspaper ‘The Guardian’, who believes that the ‘premier’ should return after the Christmas break with a plan to regain the confidence of his own ranks. But, as another Tory noted, “You probably won’t accept the fundamental questions you have to ask yourself; He never has and I doubt he will. ‘
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism