Ex-Brexit secretary invokes Chamberlain to ask Johnson to quit

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson could be ousted from power within the week after a longtime ally compared him to Neville Chamberlain during a stunning rebuke in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Driving the news: Johnson is under immense pressure from the public and his own Conservative Party following allegations he lied about a lockdown-breaking party at his Downing Street home.

  • His position becomes more precarious hour by hour; dozens of Tory MPs called on him to step down, closing in on the 15% minimum needed to trigger a vote of no confidence.
  • Moments before Johnson entered parliament to face Wednesday’s debate, a Tory MP elected in 2019 swept across the floor to join the opposition Labor party.
  • Then came the intervention of David Davis, who served as Brexit Secretary from 2016 to 2018.

What they say : “I expect my leaders to take responsibility for the actions they take. Yesterday he did the opposite of that. So I’m going to remind him of a quote that may be familiar to his ear: Leopold Amery to Neville Chamberlain “, launched Davis. rear benches:

“You have sat there too long for all the good you have done. In the name of God, go.”

Why is it important: If Johnson is forced to step down in the coming days, Davis’ speech will likely be seen as the catalyst for his downfall.

  • He is the longest-serving Tory MP to demand Johnson’s resignation, stepping up a rebellion initially sparked by lawmakers elected in the 2019 election that took Johnson to Downing Street.
  • Davis was first elected to Parliament in 1987, when Margaret Thatcher was still Prime Minister, and ardently supported Johnson throughout his campaign to deliver Brexit – Johnson’s signature achievement, and the main reason why. he had won his party’s support through multiple scandals.

Rollback: Leopold Amery’s use of the quote – which was first invoked by Oliver Cromwell in 1653 – arose during the Norway debate in 1940, when the then pro-appeasement Prime Minister Chamberlain was criticized for the trajectory of the British war against Hitler.

  • Chamberlain resigned a few days later, paving the way for Winston Churchill to become Prime Minister.
  • Johnson, who wrote a biography of Churchill, responded implausibly to Davis’ broadside: “I have to tell him, I don’t know what he’s talking about.”

What to watch: Johnson referred all questions about the parties to an ongoing independent investigation by an official, the results of which could be released any day. If the results are as damaging as many expect, it could spark a flood of fresh calls for his resignation.

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