Politics / Unacceptable for PM to ‘cling to the trappings of power’, Carmichael says

Tory MSP for the Highlands and Islands Jamie Halcro Johnston also calls for Boris Johnson to step down as prime minister now

Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: UK Government.

NORTHERN Isles MP Alistair Carmichael says the writing has been on the wall for outgoing prime minister Boris Johnson for months – and said he should go now, and not in the autumn.

Conservative Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston has also called for Johnson to step down immediately, so the country can “move on”.

Johnson confirmed on Thursday that he will resign as prime minister, but he will stay in the role until the autumn while a leadership contest takes place in the party to pick his replacement.

There has been unrest in the party over his leadership for months, with Johnson surviving a vote of confidence in June.

But he has come under renewed pressure over his handling of sexual misconduct allegations against former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher – leading to mass resignations in his government, including chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Others have called for Johnson to go – including Michael Gove, who was then fired by Johnson.


As it stands a new prime minister will be in place in time for the Tory party conference in October.

Carmichael said it has been “obvious for months that Boris Johnson had run out of road as prime minister”.

“At a time when the country needs a proper functioning government to tackle the cost of living crisis and the failure to deliver even basic services such as organising driving tests and issuing passports, he needs to go now,” the Liberal Democrat MP said.

“It is unacceptable that he should try to cling to the trappings of power even as a caretaker.”

Meanwhile Halcro Johnston conceded that there has been a “sense of inevitability about the end of Boris Johnson’s tenure as prime minister for some time now”.

“It is a matter of considerable regret that this course of action has become necessary but, after losing the confidence of so many of his own cabinet and ministerial colleagues, as well as the majority of the public, his position was untenable,” he said.

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“And it is unfortunate that how Boris Johnson finally leaves office will likely overshadow those achievements of his government such the UK’s world-leading Covid vaccine development and rollout, the furlough scheme – crucial for so many across the Highlands and Islands, and the levelling-up agenda which promises to unleash the economic potential of all parts of the United Kingdom.

“My feeling is that the Conservative Party, and more importantly, the country – must be able to move on. And so I believe Boris Johnson should step down as both the party leadership and as prime minister now, with a caretaker prime minister appointed until a new party leader is chosen.”

Johnson became prime minister in July 2019 after winning a Tory leadership contest. In December that year a general election was held and the party secured a healthy majority in the House of Commons.


He never made it to Shetland during his tenure – only going as far north as Orkney.

However, when responding to Shetland Islands Council following its vote on self-determination in 2020, Johnson said he had hoped to visit the isles.

Boris Johnson responds to letter on Shetland self-determination – and hopes to visit isles this year


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