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John Major Tears Into Boris Johnson And The Cabinet Ministers Who Backed Him

today12 July 2022

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Sir John Major launched a blistering attack on Boris Johnson today, accusing him of damaging the UK’s reputation.

The former prime minister also blasted cabinet ministers who backed Johnson, saying they only spoke out when their silence became ”self-damaging”.

He made the comments to MPs on the public administration and constitutional affairs committee.

“Democracy is not inevitable. It can be undone step by step, action by action, falsehood by falsehood. It needs to be protected at all times.”

– Sir John Major

Major said the whole country knew the government had “broken the law” and that they: “Unlawfully tried to prorogue parliament, ignored the nationwide lockdown by breaking its own laws in Downing Street and tried to change parliamentary rules to protect one of their own.”

He said the damage was “widespread” and added: “In the four countries of the United Kingdom, we take democracy for granted.

“We shouldn’t. If you look around the world, you’ll find it’s in retreat in many countries and has been for 10 to 15 years or more. And it looks like that’s going to continue.

“The point is this – democracy is not inevitable. It can be undone step by step, action by action, falsehood by falsehood.

“It needs to be protected at all times. It seems to me that if our law and our accepted conventions are ignored, then we’re on a very slippery slope that ends with pulling our constitution into shreds.

“What has been done in the last three years has damaged our country at home and overseas and I think it has damaged the reputation of parliament as well.

The former prime minister also blasted cabinet who backed Johnson, saying they only spoke out when their silence became ”self-damaging”.
The former prime minister also blasted cabinet who backed Johnson, saying they only spoke out when their silence became ”self-damaging”.

JUSTIN TALLIS via Getty Images

“The blame for these lapses must lie principally – principally but not only – with the prime minister, but many in his cabinet are culpable too.

“And so are those outside the cabinet who cheered him on.

“They were silent when they should have spoken out and then spoke out only when their silence became self-damaging.”

The committee is looking at the role of the prime minister in ensuring ethical standards in public life.

Major, who set up the committee on standards in public life, added: “Now all of this can be corrected. And the task for parliament, government, this committee will be to restore constitutional standards and protect from any further slippage against them.

Former Tory prime ministers John Major, David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson.
Former Tory prime ministers John Major, David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson.

Pool via Getty Images

“Bad habits if they become ingrained become precedent, precedent can carry bad habits on for a very long time. And it shouldn’t be permitted to do so.”

The former Tory MP for Huntingdon also recently warned it would be “unwise” for Johnson to remain in office while his successor is chosen.

In a letter to the chairman of the backbench Tory 1922 committee, Major said Dominic Raab could be an acting PM until a new leader was elected.

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