‘Shell-shocked’ British PM resigns, but hanging around to ‘wait’ for successor as new frontrunner emerges

‘Shell-shocked’ British PM resigns, but hanging around to ‘wait’ for successor as new frontrunner emerges


Boris Johnson has been struck by another hammer blow as the new Tory leadership favourite emerges from the pack, Express reported hours after the prime minister announced his resignation.

The newspaper reported that Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has been identified as the frontrunner to take over Johnson’s job and leader of the Conservative Party. New Tory members polling from YouGov puts him ahead of other prominent contenders such as Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt.

The news comes after Johnson delivered his resignation speech from outside Number 10 Downing following the resignation of 59 ministers over his leadership.

But the Prime Minister may have found a loop hole that would allow him to remain in high office. He did not immediately relay his resignation to the Queen as is the tradition – meaning he could still in office for a few more days.

Commentator Catherine Philp pointed out, “I hate to point this out but if Boris hasn’t been to the Queen he hasn’t actually resigned.”

Johnson announced he would hang on until a new primes minister is sworn in, exploit a void in the laws that does not compel him to hand over the reins of power as soon as he announced his resignation.

Another British newspaper, Metro, reported that “’shell-shocked’ Boris Johnson is framing himself as a martyr to protect his ego from his crushing political defeat, psychotherapists suggest.

“After facing a mass exodus of MPs from his government since Tuesday, the Prime Minister finally gave his resignation speech in front of No 10 this afternoon. Anger has been growing within the Tory party about how Mr Johnson handled the Chris Pincher groping scandal. Resignation began after he admitted knowing of sexual assault allegations against the Tamworth MP, when he promoted him to deputy chief whip in February,” Metro reported.

Over the past week, British media have been awash with reports about how No.10 changed the story many few times, initially denying he (PM) was aware of the claims, but later saying he “couldn’t recall” the allegations.

The shifting positions were the beginning of the ‘end-times’ of a scandal-ridden regime that he struggled to get anything right – whether at home or abroad.

“This (shifting positions) was after former top civil servant Lord McDonald said there had been an official complaint about Mr Pincher’s behaviour in the summer of 2019. Around this time yesterday, Mr Johnson remained ‘absolutely defiant’ that he wouldn’t be stepping down as he still had a clear mandate – despite his team crumbling around him,” Metro reported hours after the PM threw in the towel.

It added, “After some hard-hitting resignations this morning, and his Chancellor turning on him less than 48 hours into the job, he eventually caved in. But in today’s speech he didn’t apologise, didn’t use terms like ‘resign’ and suggested the ‘herd instinct’ of his party brought him down.”

In her assessment of the PM’s weirdness, psychotherapist and author Sally Baker tells Metro.co.uk that ‘During recent public appearances Mr Johnson has appeared aggrieved and embattled against what he thinks are injustices.

“Johnson’s attitude has always been to use ten words when one might serve as a way to obfuscate and confuse. From his demeaner and carefully chosen words he believes there are parties at large that are to blame for his current position and that he still feels he is the mandated leader who is entitled to hold office. A narcissist deflects, blames and gaslights and rarely if ever sees the role they play in their own downfall hence his inability to use the word “resign” or to take authentic responsibility by accepting he made misjudgements and mistakes,” Dr Baker explained.

Psychotherapist Noel McDermott’s take is that Johnson was “shell-shocked” and that he could be painting himself as a martyr to help cope with the situation.

For someone in “denial” about their shortcomings, it can be every surprising “when the comeuppance arrives,” he adds.

The psychotherapist observed, “I suspect that the way people have got him to agree is to say you’re doing this for the greater good, and that’s what that language sounds like. Rather than failure you’re stepping aside because something else has to happen. ‘In general terms an event like this for any human being would be a shocking emotional psychological event and there are various defences we have against feeling that depressive pain.”

“From a psychological perspective I would understand his language as him not yet being in touch with the reality of the situation. He’s had to create his own framing for it that distorts what’s really going on, the way people are seeing,” McDermott went on.

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