London (AFP) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government faced a new crisis Tuesday after the resignation of two of his most senior ministers. Within minutes of each other.
Treasurer Chief Rishi Sunak and Health Minister Sajid Javid have resigned, saying the government under Johnson is no longer competent or “working in the national interest”.
The apparently coordinated exits came after Johnson was allegedly lied about how he handled allegations of sexual misconduct by a lawmaker appointed to a senior position.
Both Javid and Snack are key members of the Cabinet, and both are seen as potential successors to Johnson, leaving his position fraught with peril.
A look at who Sunak and Jweed are:
Rishi Sonk, Chief Treasury
In his resignation letter, Sunak told Johnson, “It has become clear to me that our approaches are very different.”
The public rightly expects the government to be run properly, efficiently and seriously. I realize this may be my last ministerial job, but I think these standards are worth striving for and that’s why I’m resigning.”
Sunak was, until recently, widely seen as the party’s illustrious rising star, the most well-known among potential contenders for leadership – and a favorite of bookmakers to succeed Johnson.
Sunak, 42, came into the spotlight when he became Treasury chief in 2020, given the unenviable task of guiding the economy through its worst ever recession due to the pandemic. He has earmarked billions of pounds of emergency spending to help businesses and workers, and his policies are generally seen in a positive light.
But Partigate changed those fortunes. He, like Johnson, was sentenced to a police fine for attending a lockdown-violating birthday party in Downing Street in June 2020. He was also heavily criticized for his slow response to Britain’s severe cost-of-living crisis.
Sunak also faced pressure after it was revealed that his wife, Akshata Murthy, had avoided paying UK taxes on her overseas income, and that the former investment banker kept his US green card while serving in the government.
Born to Indian parents who moved to the UK from East Africa, Sunak attended the private Winchester College School and studied at Oxford.
Some see his elitist education and past work at investment bank Goldman Sachs and hedge fund as a deficit because he seems far from ordinary voters.
Sajid Javid, Minister of Health
In his statement, Javid said he “can no longer, in good conscience, continue to serve in this government.”
Javid, 52, has been the health minister since June 2021 and is leading Britain’s response to COVID-19.
Prior to that, he held the position of Treasury chief, but resigned in early 2020 after a clash with Johnson over his order to fire his team of advisers.
The fact that Johnson brought him back to the government to handle the coronavirus response reflects his reputation for competence.
Javed, a father of four, was first elected in 2010 and has held various positions in the government, including that of Home Minister and the leading departments of business, culture and housing.
He ran in the 2019 Conservative Party leadership election, but was disqualified in the fourth round and lost to Johnson.
Javed, the son of Pakistani immigrants, has described himself as an ordinary alternative to his private school-educated rivals – even though he had had a lucrative career in investment banking before entering politics.