Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday January 20, 2022
Clown Advice to Boris Johnson from Doug Ford
Premier Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservatives have a comfortable lead over their Liberal and New Democrat rivals in a new poll of Ontario voters published Wednesday.
Polling conducted last week by Abacus Data finds 37 per cent of respondents supporting Ford and the Ontario PC Party, with 28 per cent favouring the Ontario Liberals under Steven Del Duca and 25 per cent backing Andrea Horwath’s NDP.
“If you’re the PCs and you’re looking at this number right now, you’re feeling pretty good, I think,” said David Coletto, the CEO of Abacus Data, in an interview. (CBC News)
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson defied calls to resign in a feisty performance Wednesday in Parliament — but it may be too little to prevent a push by his Conservative Party’s lawmakers to oust him over a series of lockdown-flouting government parties.
Pressure on the prime minister grew as one Conservative lawmaker defected to the opposition Labour Party and a former Conservative Cabinet Minister told him: “In the name of God, go!”
The demand from former Brexit Secretary David Davis came during a combative Prime Minister’s Questions session in the House of Commons, where Johnson defended his government’s record in running the economy, fighting crime and dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
The allegations that Johnson and his staff broke restrictions the government imposed on the country have helped the Labour Party open up a double-digit opinion poll lead on the Conservatives, but Johnson doesn’t have to face voters until the next general election, scheduled for 2024. His bigger danger is from his own Conservative Party, which has a history of ousting leaders once they become liabilities.
Conservatives are weighing whether to trigger a no-confidence vote in Johnson amid the public anger over the scandal dubbed “partygate” — a stunning reversal of fortune for a politician who just over two years ago led the Conservatives to their biggest election victory in almost 40 years.
Under Conservative Party rules, a no-confidence vote in the party’s leader can be triggered if 54 party lawmakers — 15% of the party’s House of Commons total — write letters to a party official demanding it.
If Johnson lost a confidence vote among the party’s 359 lawmakers, it would trigger a contest to replace him as Conservative leader. The winner would also become prime minister. If Johnson won the vote, he would be safe from a similar challenge for a year.
Johnson on Wednesday announced he was lifting mask mandates and most other coronavirus restrictions in England beginning next week, as he tried to change the subject and brush aside questions about the scandal.
“We delivered while they dithered,” he said of opposition politicians, several of whom told Johnson he was regarded by Britons as a charlatan, a hypocrite, a liar and “stupid.”
The Labour opposition was boosted by the defection to their ranks of Conservative lawmaker Christian Wakeford, who said the prime minister was “incapable of offering the leadership and government this country deserves.”
Johnson dismissed calls to quit, but his defiant performance was met with muted cheers on the Conservative side of the House of Commons.
So far, only a handful of Conservative members of Parliament have openly called for Johnson to resign, though several dozen are believed to have submitted letters, including some elected as part of a Johnson-led landslide in December 2019. (CTV News)