What next for the UK?

The political life of Boris Johnson was not easy sailing. When he assumed the office of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on July 24, 2019, his country was already in dire straits because of Brexit. At the end of 2019 and 2020, the world was put under lockdown because of the pandemic, and the situation in the UK was no different. He had to steer the country’s economic fabric and ensure it did not falter.
Only one-and-a-half months after he assumed office, the UK completed its departure from the European Union. This was another burden that Johnson had to live with – even though the citizens of the UK held the first referendum to decide whether to leave the EU or not in June 2016, nearly three years before Johnson became the PM.
At the time when Johnson became the PM, he ushered the Conservatives to their largest victory in elections since 1987. During the last two years and eleven months, Johnson’s popularity went from him being at the most popular stage of his career to the point where people may not even remember if he was ever in office. Various reasons led to his political decline.
The first was the Chris Pincher affair. The Conservative Party’s Deputy Chief, Pincher, was surrounded by a controversy of sexual misconduct. On 3 July 2022, six accusations surfaced against him. The tension became intense among the ranks of the Party which led to several ministers resigning in July 2022.
The second cause was the Partygate scandal. The scandal surfaced when UK’s print media published a photograph in November 2021 showing that Johnson was drinking at 10 Downing Street during the pandemic (November and December 2020). This was the time when London was under level 3 lockdown restrictions.
The third factor was related to Owen Paterson, who was a Conservative MP for North Shropshire. Previously, during David Cameron’s reign, he was the environment secretary. He was investigated for breaking the rules that pertain to lobbying for the MPs. It was reported that he met officials at the Food Standards Agency to conduct lobbying and did the same when he met with ministers at the Department for International Development.
Despite being a full-time government official, he pursued his consultancy work by using his official stationery. These acts breached the code of conduct that MPs must follow when serving in the government.
The fourth factor that played against Johnson was the cost of living crisis and the rise in taxes. In 2022, inflation rose and reached its current state of 9.1%. The Russian invasion of Ukraine amplified oil prices and food costs. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said that these were the “worst cost of living crisis for decades.” Despite the UK going into a downward spiral, the government decided to put taxes on working people.
The fifth reason was related to how Johnson was unable to bring strategies and ideas to the table to bring the UK out of its predicaments. Conservative MP and former minister Jeremy Hunt said that Johnson lacked integrity, competence, and vision. Johnson’s departure only adds challenges to the UK that could not return on the economic path to recovery after the pandemic and the Brexit.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the UK is expected to face the lowest economic activity in 2023 among the G20 countries.