Great BritainPrime Minister Sunak’s resignation plunges him into his first crisis
Rishi Sunak took office to bring order to the chaos in the Conservative Party and the British government. But the image of a rational politician begins to crack after a short time.
Is a new government crisis looming in London? After only two weeks in office British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak already lost the first member of the government. On Tuesday evening, Foreign Secretary Gavin Williamson, sitting at the Cabinet table without a portfolio, tipped off his hat. The Conservative MP has come under pressure in recent days due to allegations of bullying. And now he’s giving his previous boss some very unwelcome headlines, when in reality he wanted to create a spirit of optimism and end the political chaos in London.
Sunak recently expressed his confidence in Williamson, but described his choice of words as “unacceptable” to a party friend in text messages that have become public. The head of government emphasized that he wanted to wait for the results of the internal investigation. But when the new allegations surfaced Tuesday, Williamson pulled the trigger himself.
The state minister’s resignation is likely to raise doubts about Sunak’s ability to steer his conservative ruling party, which has recently been at odds and spiraling into chaos, into calmer waters. He had that Premiered just two weeks ago by Liz Truss which was forced to resign by its own group after only seven weeks in office. Truss, in turn, succeeded Boris Johnson, who was deposed due to numerous scandals, only at the beginning of September.
Sunak is said to have known about it
Particularly sensitive for Sunak is the allegation that he was aware that Williamson had been accused of bullying when he appointed him to the cabinet. The prime minister claimed he knew nothing about the specific allegations. But opposition Labor saw him badly damaged. “This is yet another example of poor judgment and poor leadership by Rishi Sunak,” said Labor deputy leader Angela Rayner. The head of government was apparently bound by dirty backroom deals he accepted to avoid an intra-party showdown over Truss’s successor.
The accusations against Williamson weigh heavily: According to Whatsapp messages published by the “Sunday Times” newspaper, he tried to put pressure on the then Conservative Parliamentary Group leader Wendy Morton, sometimes using rude language and threats. Williamson reportedly tried to get an invitation to the funeral service in September after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Another allegation was made by a former employee. Accordingly, Williamson is said to have advised the man to “cut his throat” and “jump out of the window”. In his resignation letter, the state minister denied the allegations. “I reject the statements made in these allegations but recognize that they diminish the good work this government is doing for the British people,” Williamson wrote in a letter to the prime minister.
It’s not the only problem
The bullying scandal comes at an inopportune time for Rishi Sunak as he looks to unveil his plans on November 17 to fill a billion-dollar budget deficit caused in part by his predecessor. But there are other problems.
Even the criticism of the Minister of the Interior, Suella Braverman, does not want to stop. The politician, who belongs to the right-wing conservative wing of the party, encounters increasing opposition with her ruthless crackdown on migrants. A hopelessly overcrowded initial reception center in the English Channel recently hit the headlines. A conservative MP, in whose constituency the refugee home is located, speculated in television interviews that the government may have caused the miserable conditions there on purpose. It cannot be ruled out that Braverman could also leave the cabinet soon.
In addition, Sunak is uncomfortable with the news about his wife’s business interests. As the “Guardian” reported at the weekend, the Indian IT company Infosys, in which Sunak’s wife holds shares, should continue to do business in Russia, despite statements to the contrary. Asked by a Sky News journalist whether his family benefited financially from Kremlin ruler Vladimir Putin’s rule, Sunak simply replied: “I don’t think so.” It is doubtful that he will get away with it so easily during Parliament’s Question Time on Wednesday.
Stay informed about political issues