Bad weather for Boris Johnson. Did the coronavirus get the better of the character’s good nature, his fantasy? The British Prime Minister is in small shape. He approaches not without apprehension the Congress of the Conservative Party which, Covid-19 obliges, is held by videoconference from October 3 and not, as planned, in Birmingham.
Nine months after leading the party to a final victory in the general election, ensuring it an absolute majority with more than 80 members of Parliament – something that had not been seen since Margaret Thatcher – Boris Johnson is in a more than delicate position in the polls.
Is it just a bad patch or a real inability to deal with the country’s problems? ” What should have been a triumph after the election, should also have allowed him to carry out the Brexit he wanted. However, from the month of March, Boris Johnson was confronted with the Covid crisis, which he badly negotiated by underestimating it and by confining the country too late. Then he himself fell seriously ill, and he had a child », Notes Catherine Marshall, university professor in British history and civilization at Cy Cergy Paris University and director of the Agora laboratory.
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To which is added ” the rebellion of conservative parliamentarians, split into multiple factions ”. And the list is long: one very to the right, led by Iain Duncan Smith, former leader of the party, the other composed of the newly elected Commons of the Labor constituencies of the North, both blaming the Prime Minister for the new restrictive measures concerning the Covid, taken without even going through Parliament. Another group is made up of parliamentarians from the “1922 committee”, grassroots members of the party who also demand from the prime minister that any future decisions be announced to parliament first.
“The rising star of the party”
Added to this are « remainers » – in favor of maintaining the country in the European Union (EU) -, around twenty deputies around Robert Neill. They have not digested the recent draft law on the internal market which goes back on part of the divorce agreement with the EU. ” They feel that by violating international law in this way, the country is behaving like a “rogue state” », Comments Catherine Marshall.
On the contrary, the members of the European Research group are in favor of a hard Brexit. They approve of this controversial bill.
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There remain, finally, those within the party who find that the Prime Minister does not have the stature for the post and carry their hopes towards 11 Downing Street, residence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Minister of Finance), Rishi Sunak , considered more and more, according to Catherine Marshall, as ” the rising star of the party “. “He was able to offer solutions to the Covid crisis, she continues. He speaks the truth before Parliament by announcing, for example, that he will not be able to save all companies … And he gives the feeling of knowing his files well, unlike Boris Johnson.
Crispin Blunt, a pro-Brexit conservative, did not hide his disappointment in an interview with the American daily The New York Times. Boris Johnson, he said, “ seems to have ceded control of his administration to those who do not share his own values “. An allusion to the Prime Minister’s shadow adviser, Dominic Cummings, hated by the majority of the Conservatives.
But does Boris Johnson really defend values? And which ones? While having a strong position in Parliament, he does not seem able to give a clear direction to his action. The road until 2024, when his mandate ends, seems a long road strewn with pitfalls.