Boris Johnson weakened by his troops

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended his measures against COVID-19 on Wednesday after an unprecedented rebellion by his troops that undermines his authority in the midst of the outbreak of the highly contagious Omicron variant.

Two years after his historic electoral victory, the conservative leader is weakened by a series of scandals, on conflicts of interest within his party or even parties in Downing Street at the end of 2020 in defiance of health rules. And he risks Thursday the loss of a conservative stronghold during a partial legislative test.

Tuesday evening, he accused a hard shock in the House of Commons: 99 deputies of his majority voted against the establishment of a health passport for major events.

It took the support of the Labor opposition to pass this flagship government measure to tackle the “tidal wave” of Omicron cases in a country that already has nearly 147,000 deaths from COVID-19.

A booster dose

Faced with a record of contamination on Wednesday since the start of the pandemic, at 78,610, Boris Johnson called on the population to be administered a booster dose, as part of a large-scale vaccination campaign, and defended his health policy.

He fights on the political front after suffering his biggest rebellion since coming to power. At the party level, only the former Prime Minister Theresa May had already suffered the worst setback since World War II, before being deposed by her own.

“We won the vote yesterday with the votes of the Conservatives,” said Boris Johnson during the weekly questioning session, particularly agitated.

“I respect and understand the legitimate concerns of my colleagues regarding restrictions on their freedom,” he added, “but I believe that the approach we are taking is balanced, proportionate and fair for this country. “

Conservative MPs “were wrong to vote against basic health measures, but I can understand why, because they are angry with him,” Labor leader Keir Starmer told him, deeming the head of government “too weak to govern And asking if he had “the necessary confidence and authority.”

Very clear message

This rebellion marks the discontent of some Tories against health measures they deem liberticidal and detrimental to the British economy. But it is also a wider sanction vote against a government that is multiplying scandals.

The Prime Minister “received a very clear message yesterday that his colleagues are not happy with the way the government is operating right now,” Conservative MP Mark Harper told Times Radio.

According to him, “it all started several weeks ago”, when Boris Johnson tried to change the disciplinary rules of Parliament in favor of a Conservative MP, Owen Paterson, who had to resign over a lobbying affair.

Added to this are explosive revelations about the holding of events in Downing Street in December 2020 – when the government demanded Britons to severely limit their social interactions – and numerous accusations of corruption.

“I respect the rules, all the political class should follow the rules”, hammered Boris Johnson in front of the press Wednesday.

Faced with this fed up with the Tories, the Conservative Party could organize a vote of no confidence against its leader, who has fallen in the polls.

Symbolic election

“The vultures are turning again, barely two years after the Conservative Party tore up its last leader,” said in the Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee, for whom Foreign Secretary Liz Truss would be “the obvious candidate to succeed” Johnson.

“The government is in office, but no longer in power”, ruled in an editorial in the Times Daniel Finkelstein.

The Prime Minister’s legitimacy will be put to the test as of Thursday, in a by-election as a referendum in North Shropshire, intended to replace Owen Paterson.

According to experts, this “Tory” bastion could escape the Prime Minister in favor of the Liberal Democrats, a defeat that risks fueling calls for his departure, a subject which is no longer taboo.

Vaccination alone ‘won’t be enough’ against the Omicron outbreak

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