Boris Johnson: ‘I cannot for the life of me see how it is responsible just to walk away’
Boris Johnson has said it would not be responsible for him to resign while being grilled by Commons committee chairs on the Liaison Committee.
The Prime Minister pointed to Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis as reasons why he needed to remain in office as pressure piles on him from his own MPs to resign.
He also said he had no plans to trigger a snap general election, insisting he had a strong mandate from 2019 and that the public did not want to go to the polls.
He said: “I look at the issues that this country faces, I look at the pressures people are under and the need for government to focus on their priorities, which is what we are doing; I look at the biggest war in Europe for 80 years and I cannot for the life of me see how it is responsible just to walk away from that.”
He was responding to Labour’s Darren Jones, chair of the BEIS (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) committee, who told the Prime Minister: “You’re hurting the country.”
Tory MP Stephen Crabb, chair of the Welsh committee, also questioned the ability of the UK Government to respond to these issues given the discontent within the Conservative Party.
He said: “What the country needs is a government with the very best team, the very best focus... Do you not feel, Prime Minister, that the very ability, capacity, of this government to address these enormous overhanging issues is deteriorating as we speak?”
The Prime Minister insisted there was still a “wealth of talent” within the party who he could call upon.
In answer to Public Administration Committee chair William Wragg, Johnson said: “You’re underestimating the talent, energy and sheer ambition of members of the parliament.”
Two further ministers resigned while Johnson was in front of the Liaison Committee.
In addition, Huw Merriman – chair of the transport committee – published a statement confirming he no longer support Johnson and calling on the 1922 Committee to alter its rules to be able to conduct a vote of confidence while he was sitting in the session quizzing the PM.
Asked by the SNP’s Angus MacNeil whether he would still be PM tomorrow, Johnson replied: “Of course.”
Regarding the question of holding a new election, Johnson insisted that was “something that is not going to happen”.
“I don’t think the people of this country want to have an election and I certainly don’t,” he added.