Boris Johnson resigns: Can law-breaking Prime Minister be trusted to leave 10 Downing Street? – Scotsman comment

On hearing Boris Johnson’s resignation speech, anyone who had entirely cut themselves off from the news during his time as Prime Minister may have been somewhat baffled. With all the self-described successes of his leadership, why was he being forced to stand down?

For Johnson did not mention why dozens of members of his government had decided to quit. There was no apology, no contrition, or even a defence of his actions.

The reasons why he found himself standing outside 10 Downing Street, resigning as leader of the Conservative party and promising to quit as Prime Minister, were completely ignored.

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Conservative MPs who decided that serving in his government was damaging their integrity because of Johnson’s repeated dishonesty found themselves dismissed as mindless fools. “As we've seen at Westminster, the herd instinct is powerful and when the herd moves, it moves,” the Prime Minister said.

We should give credit to Johnson where it is due. His stalwart support for Ukraine following the Russian invasion must continue and increase. While his government responded too slowly to the arrival of the Covid pandemic, the rollout of the first wave of vaccines was done well. And, for Brexiteers, leaving the European Union will remain a historic achievement, for all that it is in reality an act of economic self-harm on a national scale.

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But democracies cannot afford to tolerate dishonest politicians, an idea that Johnson does not appear to understand.

In the 24 hours before he finally came to his senses, Johnson’s usual bonhomie and bluster turned into defensive, grumpy and glib defiance and a bunker mentality alarmingly reminiscent of the final days of Donald Trump in the White House.

Boris Johnson looks to be on his way out, but can his word be trusted? (Picture: Carl Court/Getty Images)

Many will have breathed a sigh of relief at his resignation as Conservative leader, but his speech still did not offer any understanding of why he had to go or, indeed, much in the way of reassurance that he definitely will do so.

His plan to stay in 10 Downing Street as a caretaker Prime Minister until the autumn should ring alarm bells. The man who illegally suspended parliament for political reasons, broke his own lockdown laws, and cannot be trusted to tell the truth could still be hoping to pull off his grandest ‘coup’ – in at least one sense of the word – yet.

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