British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has dismissed as “crazy” the suggestion that he might resign if he loses two parliamentary seats in the election.
Thursday’s polls will be the first chance for voters to deliver their verdict on Johnson since a damning government report last month detailed a series of illegal lockdown-breaking parties at his Downing Street office during the COVID-19 pandemic. .
Earlier this month, he survived a no-confidence motion by lawmakers from his Conservative Party, but his term remains mired in a series of scandals and a parliamentary committee is investigating him for misleading parliament.
But Johnson, speaking to reporters en route to Rwanda for a Commonwealth meeting, dismissed any suggestion that he might be ousted for defeat in the two by-elections.
“Re crazy?” she said when asked if he would resign if he lost both seats.
“Ruling parties usually don’t win by-elections, particularly not mid-term. You know, I’m very hopeful, but you know, there you go. That’s just reality.”
The two seats, one in the north of England and the other in the south, are up for election after Conservative incumbents resigned in disgrace, one for viewing pornography in parliament and the other after he was found guilty of abusing sexually of a teenager.
If the Conservatives lose one or both elections, further questions about Johnson’s leadership are likely to be raised even though he survived the vote of no confidence.
Although under his party’s rules he cannot be impeached for another year, a loss could prompt lawmakers who fear for their own future to shorten the grace period to win another vote of confidence.
Asked if he was worried that lawmakers could change the rules to challenge him a year from now, Johnson said:
“I am completely focused on fulfilling the agenda of this government. My rule of thumb is that the less (you) talk about Westminster issues, the more you talk about the things you want to talk about with the country.”