(LONDON) British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday spoke out against his predecessor Boris Johnson over refusing to appoint relatives of the former Downing Street occupier, which has contributed to serious tensions within the Conservative Party.
“Boris Johnson asked me to do something that I wasn’t ready to do, because I didn’t think it was right,” said Rishi Sunak in an interview with the media. “I didn’t think it would be a good thing, and if some people don’t like it, that’s too bad,” he insisted.
This resolute departure from the Prime Minister illustrates the tensions shaking the Conservative Party in power, between supporters of the current occupier of Downing Street and those of his resounding predecessor. The latter resigned last summer, but was said to have a desire to return to power.
Boris Johnson announced his immediate resignation from Parliament on Friday as he faces penalties for lying to MPs during the COVID-19 pandemic. He fiercely attacked his successor.
Two more MPs did the same, resulting in a fraught by-election for the Conservatives at their lowest levels in the polls.
Boris Johnson’s abrupt departure also follows a psychological drama surrounding the slate of lifetime appointments to the British Parliament’s House of Lords that, by tradition, prime ministers present at the end of their terms.
It is up to the sitting Prime Minister to approve these appointments after consulting the House of Lords Appointments Committee (Holac) and in accordance with practice makes no changes to the list provided.
According to British media, Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak recently spoke about these appointments.
Some of the names mentioned frequently in the media are not part of the final list, and they are political allies and the father of the former prime minister. Rishi Sunak has been accused by many of Boris Johnson’s supporters of failing to make good on his promise to fully endorse it.
The controversy swelled over the weekend, prompting the committee to indicate that it did not endorse the nominations of eight (anonymous) people proposed by Boris Johnson.
On Monday, Rishi Sunak himself clarified, asserting that publishing a list different from this committee’s opinion “would amount to overstepping its ‘power’ or making promises to some”.
Rishi Sunak, who promised integrity and accountability in government after the Johnson-era scandals, added: “I said I would do things differently because I want to change politics and that’s what I’m doing.”
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