It has been a commonplace of British politics for months that the Prime Minister Boris Johnson I would only succumb “for a thousand cuts”alluding to the fact that his agony would be long and painful: the fall of the controversial conservative leader has endorsed those predictions.
to the conjurer “tory”the man chosen with an overwhelming majority in 2019 to pilot the British exit from the European Union (EU)he ran out of hat tricks.
The coup de grâce was given to him the day before (Tuesday) by two of his main ministers, the Economy Minister, Rishi Sunakand Health, Sajid Javidbut Johnson had been bleeding to death for a long time, sustained only by his enormous popularity among part of the electorate.
He never intended to let go of the power until he saw himself as the fiddler on the Titanic. The heartbroken image of Johnson appearing before a parliamentary committee on Wednesday while a good part of his cabinet announced that it was withdrawing its confidence in him is a sad but predictable epilogue to a controversial mandate.
Only hours before he had proclaimed before the House of Commons (Lower) that he should continue to lead at a time of multiple challenges for his country.
The ultimate trigger was (again) falsehoods spread by Downing Street about Johnson’s knowledge of the complaints against his parliamentary discipline officer, Chris Pincherfor sexual harassment.
The premier was forced to admit that he knew of his collaborator’s shady past and apologize for having offered him the position, after his office had tried for days to deny it.
Johnson had gotten used to living close to the abyss. Only a month ago he survived a motion of internal censure by his own deputies, but more than 40% of them voted to withdraw their confidence in him.
It seemed then that he had received an oxygen balloon that would at least allow him to survive until the fall. However, a last spark, the scandal of Deputy Pincher, was enough to blow up his mandate.
The parties that dug his grave
Although his figure was always surrounded by controversy, his approval levels among voters “tori” and his landslide victory in the 2019 general election allowed him to navigate relatively smoothly through the pandemic.
On November 30, 2021, the tabloid “Daily Mirror” opened a Pandora’s box for Johnson, which was never closed. It was then that the first details were revealed about the parties that were held in Downing Street in flagrant violation of anti-COVID rules.
The premier’s insistence on denying that these celebrations had taken place, first, and then for maintaining that he was unaware that they had broken the rules, despite the fact that he himself participated in some, left Johnson mortally wounded.
Not even the fact that in April he became the first head of the British government to be fined for breaking the law changed the road map of a leader determined to leave a mark similar to that of the icon. “tory”Margaret Thatcher.
With every revelation about a party, with every published photo of him having a drink, with every devastating report, the noose tightened around his neck. But he never gave in. The British press then began to describe him as the “oiled suckling pig”, for his ability to escape whenever he seemed finished. Until today.
The “Brexit” man
Johnson came to power for the first time on July 24, 2019, after winning a primary election within the Conservative Party to replace his predecessor, Theresa Mayexpiatory victim of Brexit.
It was precisely the exit from the EU that led Johnson to achieve a historic absolute majority in the December 2019 elections, in which he cemented a new conservative majority in the old Labor strongholds of the “red wall”.
under the slogan “Let’s finish Brexit”Johnson prevailed after having closed an agreement with Brussels that included a protocol on Northern Ireland that he would later have no qualms about breaching.
Then came the COVID-19and with it his plans to rebalance the territories of the United Kingdom (with special emphasis on the north of England) and refound the Conservative movement went to waste.
Johnson himself acknowledged that he was wrong in his initial management, when he postponed confinement betting on herd immunity, and downplayed the virus, for which he himself was admitted in April 2020.
But the rapid vaccination campaign launched by his government, by ensuring that the Oxford-AstraZeneca injection was the first to be authorized, gave him important political capital that he gradually lost.
From journalist to mayor
Born on July 19, 1964 in New York but raised mostly in England, Alexander Boris by Pfeffel Johnson He has aristocratic roots and was educated at the elite Eton College before graduating from Oxford University.
Better known as Boris, simply, in 1987, thanks to family contacts, he entered an internship at the newspaper “TheTimes”, where he was fired for forging a quote, and was a columnist for the “Telegraph” and director between 1999 and 2005 of the conservative magazine “The Spectator”where he provoked criticism for labor indiscipline and racist, classist and sexist comments.
In 2001 he won a seat in the Commons, buoyed by his fame as an occasional television show host, and between 2008 and 2016 he was Mayor of London, where his charisma and quirky style won him the support of a city that had always voted by Labour.
After leading the campaign to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum, he was appointed Foreign Minister by May, a position from which he resigned in July 2018 due to discrepancies with his boss on Brexit.
Married to the former director of communication for the Conservatives carrie symonds24 years his junior, has seven known children.