‘Buoyant’ Boris Johnson Fights On As UK PM, Sacks Minister


London, Jul 7 (PTI): One of Boris Johnson’s top aides claimed on Wednesday evening that he is in a “buoyant” mood and plans to get on with the job as British Prime Minister, moments before it emerged that he had sacked a senior Cabinet minister known to be critical of him staying in Downing Street.

Michael Gove, UK Secretary of State for Levelling Up, had reportedly told Johnson earlier in the day that it was time for him to quit. Johnson is believed to have called him up from Downing Street to inform him that he is fired from his ministerial post.

Amid ongoing speculation over his leadership, Johnson’s parliamentary private secretary James Duddridge told ‘Sky News’ there will be a joint plan for the economy laid out by Johnson and Nadhim Zahawi, the new UK Chancellor, on Thursday.

“He has a 14 million mandate and so much to do for the country,” said Duddridge.

“I expect him to make senior Cabinet appointments this evening and am looking forward to hearing what the PM and his fantastic chancellor Nadhim Zahawi have to say tomorrow,” he said.

Other media reports also confirmed that Johnson has no plans of resigning, with a No. 10 Downing Street source saying the UK PM remains “absolutely defiant”.

Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the influential 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative MPs, has reportedly told its leader that the committee’s executive election on Monday “could result in another confidence vote”, which Johnson is likely to lose.

“The PM is conscious he has a mandate from 14 million people (from 2019 general election) and the only way he will leave is if the party takes that mandate off him,” a source close to Johnson was quoted as saying.

The 1922 Committee is responsible for setting the timetable for a Tory leadership contest. To take part in the race, a Tory MP has to be nominated by eight colleagues. If more than two MPs put themselves forward and secure enough nominations to run for leader, a series of secret ballots are held to whittle them down.

It was thought that with a large chunk of his Cabinet now calling for his resignation, Johnson would give in and step down. However, it would now seem he is determined to fight on until he is voted out in a no-confidence showdown of Tory party members. PTI AK AMS AMS

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