Boris Johnson vows to get on with being Prime Minister
LONDON – Boris Johnson has said he is determined to “get on” with his job, in his first Commons appearance since surviving a confidence vote in his leadership.
Amid testy exchanges at Prime Minister’s Questions, Labour MP Dame Angela Eagle told Johnson he was loathed and should resign. But the prime minister said his political career had “barely begun”.
Four in 10 Tory MPs declared a lack of confidence in Johnson’s leadership in Monday’s vote. The worse-than-expected result followed several months of difficulties for the prime minister, who has received ongoing criticism over parties that took place in Downing Street during lockdown.
Following the vote, the prime minister promised to “draw a line” under his recent difficulties and announce a widespread programme of reforms to help deal with crime, the NHS and the rapidly rising cost of living.
His ministers have stood by him, but in the first departure from government since the vote, Baroness Helena Morrissey left her job at the Foreign Office on Wednesday. In an interview with LBC radio, Baroness Morrissey said some Tory MPs considered the prime minister “a liability” and she had not seen “any contrition” from him after the confidence vote. The BBC understands Foreign Secretary Liz Truss found Baroness Morrissey’s comments “outrageous” and the peer “jumped before she was pushed”.
Meanwhile, at a noisy Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Johnson reiterated his commitment to remain in power. Asking the first question, Dame Angela said: “This week’s events have demonstrated just how loathed this prime minister is, and that’s only in his own party.
“As his administration is too distracted by its internal divisions to deal with the challenges we face, can the prime minister explain if 148 of his own backbenchers don’t trust him why on earth should the country?”
Mr Johnson replied: “I can assure her in a long political career so far – barely begun – I’ve of course picked up political opponents all over and that is because this government has done some very big and very remarkable things which they didn’t necessarily approve of.
“And what I want her to know is that absolutely nothing and no-one, least of all her, is going to stop us with getting on delivering for the British people.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer focused his questions on the government’s record on the NHS, while the SNP’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, called Mr Johnson, who was fined in April for attending an illegal Downing Street gathering during lockdown, a “dead man walking”.