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Embattled British PM Vows to Stay in Office

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in London, July 6, 2022
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in London, July 6, 2022

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to stay in office Wednesday, despite growing calls for him to resign and several Cabinet resignations.

"Frankly … the job of the prime minister in difficult circumstances, when he's been handed a colossal mandate, is to keep going,'' Johnson said. "And that's what I'm going to do."

Johnson faced a round of tough questions from angry and skeptical lawmakers during the traditional prime minister’s question and answer session in parliament Wednesday, a day after Finance minister Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid unexpectedly quit within minutes of each other.

The two men resigned after Johnson apologized for appointing Conservative lawmaker Chris Pincher to a key party post despite allegations Pincher groped two men at a private club in London while intoxicated.

Officials at No. 10 Downing Street, the prime minister’s official residence, initially said Johnson did not know about the allegations surrounding Pincher, but later acknowledged he had been told about previous accusations against the lawmaker in 2019.

In his resignation letter, Sunak wrote that the British public “rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously. I believe these standards are worth fighting for, and that is why I am resigning.”

The latest scandal comes just weeks after Johnson survived a no-confidence vote within his Conservative Party after he received a police fine for violating his own COVID-19 lockdown rules by holding parties at 10 Downing Street.

In a resignation letter, Javid said Johnson had a chance to show "humility, grip and new direction” after surviving the no-confidence vote, but added, “It is clear to me that this situation will not change under your leadership.”

Johnson immediately replaced Sunak and Javid with other members from his Cabinet, but several junior ministers have followed suit and stepped down from their posts, Labor Party leader Keir Starmer dismissed the resignations at the start of the question and answer session and questioned the ministers’ integrity.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse