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Politics

Christian response to Downing Street resignation drama

by Tola Mbakwe

The resignations of Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid on Tuesday evening triggered a steady stream of more resignations on Wednesday.

As of early Wednesday afternoon 21 ministers quit their roles, including Christian MP John Glen.  Many of their resignation letters have been scathing, highlighting things like a "complete lack of confidence" in the PM and "questions about integrity".

It came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologised for appointing Chris Pincher as his deputy chief whip - despite knowing about complaints over his behaviour.

It’s led to renewed calls for the prime minister to resign.

Here’s reaction from Christians MPs from the three of the main political parties:

Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale:

“What I know of the Prime Minister is that he will not go willingly, he wants to carry on being prime minister. He's fought to be it. So I think that unless he is literally forced out, my not entirely confident prediction is that he just will not move. Honestly think the Prime Minister should have resigned once it was obvious that he had taken part in… and oversaw parties and other breakings of lockdown during the lockdown.

“I think we should pray for wisdom for politicians of all kinds. I think that we should be praying that the hearts, minds and intellect and energies of people in high office should be focused on serving the people and not being overwhelmed by the drama of what it is to be in the middle of all this at the moment. By all means, pray for Boris Johnson himself. He may be a very robust individual that is human like anyone else. Let's pray for wisdom for him. And for strength for him. And remember, we are politicians have families who are very affected by all this that they will be sustained throughout all this but in the end that politicians, energies and minds should be focused on serving the people and not so much on the kind of party political drama.”

 

Rachael Maskell, Labour (Co-op) MP for York Central:

“We know that we've all fallen short of the standards that God would expect of us. Of course we have. But we need also that insight, and humility to step aside, to have that reconciliation, to go on that path of healing, of realisation. The problem with the prime minister is that he digs in because he believes he's invincible, that he is above the law, he is above the people, and therefore, he's clinging on to power when everybody can see that the game is up.

“This is a position of service, which is what I believe politics is about, it's not about personal ambition or grandstanding, but it is about serving people. If you are not serving people to the best of your ability, and with integrity, then of course, you shouldn't be occupying that place. And the prime minister needs to come to this reconciliation, that from a lifetime of behaviours which none of us would tolerate in any other workplace, he is out of step with the people of this country. People ultimately want their politicians to be earnest and to have integrity. These qualities are not within the prime minister.”

 

Derek Thomas, Conservative MP for St Ives:

“There's no doubt about his [Boris Johnson’s] abilities in some areas. And when he really believe sin  something, he really drives it forward. But there's questions about his attention to detail. I think there's questions about what happens between those big moments. And I think people who we represent, are not really in a place now where they can honestly say we're on their side, and we're fighting in their corner. I think that's where we've got to get back to.

“If you look at this last weekend with this horrible issue, the deputy whip, discipline is really important in all walks of life, in a school in a business, and right at the heart of government. And the problem is if the prime minister can't manage or doesn't demand that kind of discipline, then I think we've got a real problem. I think as Christians, we have to really seek God's heart about the way forward and I think God really cares about government. We know puts people in authority over us. And I know he calls us to pray for them. I think we absolutely should continue to do that. But in my heart, I believe that we've got to change the prime minister.”

At Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Johnson vowed to fight on against growing calls for him to resign.

"The job of a prime minister in difficult circumstances," is to keep going." Mr Johnson said. "And that's what I'm going to do."

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