UK lawmaker accuses government of blackmailing to keep Boris Johnson in power

Associated Press/Jessica Taylor

A conservative British lawmaker said on Thursday that the government was trying to “blackmail” lawmakers who want Prime Minister Boris Johnson removed from office.

“In recent days, a number of members of parliament have faced pressures and intimidation from members of the government because of their declared or assumed desire for a vote of confidence in the party leadership of the prime minister,” William Wragg, chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, said, according to Reuters.

“Moreover, the reports of which I’m aware, would seem to constitute blackmail,” Wragg added.

A lawmaker who defected from the Conservatives to Labour earlier this week, Christian Wakeford, said the government threatened to refuse to fund a school for his constituency if he voted against them, Reuters reported. 

“I was threatened that I would not get the school for Radcliffe if I didn’t vote in one particular way,” Wakeford told the BBC.

“This is a town that has not had a high school for the best part of 10 years and how do you feel when holding back the regeneration of a town for a vote, it didn’t sit comfortably,” he added.

Johnson has faced mounting pressure to step down from his leadership role, especially in recent days following, reports that he attended a party at his Downing Street office at the height of COVID-19 lockdowns. He has since apologized for that gathering.

But Johnson has insisted he will continue to lead the Conservative Party into the next election.

Tags 10 Downing Street Boris Johnson no-confidence vote party scandal UK

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