British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday he was leaving “with his head held high” while admitting to lawmakers that a build-up of scandals had accelerated his departure.
Conservative leader Keir Starmer attacked his opponent during the government impeachment inquiry, describing him as “delusional to the bitter end”, drawing applause from opposition lawmakers.
In a sign of what’s to come, Starmer criticized Tory lawmakers’ willingness to go after Johnson, particularly over Finance Minister Rishi Sunak’s complicated tax file.
Earlier in the session, two MPs from the Scottish nationalist “Alpha” party were expelled by the Speaker of the House of Commons after they staged a protest.
The impeachment inquiry is set to come to a close when Johnson appears in parliament before the summer recess, when the Conservatives elect a new party leader.
But Johnson hinted that a party leader could be chosen “by the party” as early as next week and his appearance at the weekly impeachment hearings could be his last if the two finalists reach an agreement. But rivals have previously ruled out such a move.
Johnson’s reign began to fall after investigations concluded he had breached rules imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus, with a series of parties held at the prime minister’s residence in the final term.
Starmer joked that his opponent had “probably forgotten to follow the rules”.
“I miss his weekly nonsense,” he joked, after which he criticized incumbent Finance Minister Najim Zahavi, one of the candidates to succeed Sunak and Johnson, who is also reportedly under investigation for tax issues.
Johnson responded by saying that none of the eight candidates to succeed him would “wipe the floor” with Starmer, who “didn’t put forward a plan or a plan for the country”.
Johnson said he was proud of the “fantastic teamwork” accomplished during his tenure, counting on the “decisive role” the UK played in supporting Ukraine in the face of Brexit, the Covid-19 vaccine campaign and Russia’s “brutal invasion”. By President Vladimir Putin.
Conservative lawmakers are set to screen the eight candidates who passed Tuesday’s primary, with results expected to be released later Wednesday.
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