Is Boris Johnson hanging on to power to use Chequers country house for his wedding party?

Prime minister is due to host postponed celebration at the venue in July

23/12/2021. Chequers, United Kingdom. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie Johnson, with their daughter Romy, hold video calls from Chequers with Doctor Laura Mount, Director of Central and West Warrington, who leads a vaccination team, followed by Tom Jones, from Rickmansworth who attends RVS Rickmansworth lunch club and cares for his wife with Dementia. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street
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Questions have been raised about Boris Johnson's decision to remain in power until a new leader is found after it emerged he is due to host his postponed wedding party at the prime minister's official country house in July.

Mr Johnson and his wife Carrie, who married in May 2021, are understood to have sent out invitations for their wedding party to be held at Chequers in Buckinghamshire.

However, the 16th-century manor house is for the sole use of the incumbent prime minister.

On Thursday, Mr Johnson officially resigned as prime minister after mounting pressure following the resignation of almost 60 MPs.

During his resignation speech he accidentally thanked staff at Chequers instead of Downing Street, raising questions as to whether the venue was playing a role in his decision to hold the mantel until a successor is found.

He married his wife at a secret ceremony at Westminster Cathedral and celebrated in the Downing Street garden with just a handful of guests due to Covid-19 restrictions at the time limiting wedding gatherings to just 30 people.

The Chequers event, planned for July 30, is expected to be a lavish event with hundreds of guests.

“It beggars belief that even after all the criticism Johnson has faced regarding integrity and probity, one of the reasons he is staying is to have his wedding party at Chequers,” a Conservative Party source told the Mirror.

“It's a national asset not his personal home. The Johnsons should do the decent thing and find a different venue. And Boris should do the decent thing and leave No 10 immediately”.

Mr Johnson's spokesman has hit back at the claims and said the prime minister is remaining in the caretaker because of his sense of “duty”.

“The PM has a strong sense of duty and will continue to serve his country until a new leader is in place solely to continue his obligation to the public,” he said.

Mr Johnson intends to remain in his position until a successor is elected, however, he is facing opposition.

Former prime minister John Major has urged the Conservative party’s 1922 committee to remove Mr Johhnson from office immediately, amid growing calls for the deputy prime minister, Dominic Raab, to replace him.

“The proposal for the prime minister to remain in office — for up to three months — having lost the support of his Cabinet, his government and his parliamentary party is unwise, and may be unsustainable,” Mr Major said.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta at Chequers, the official country residence of the Prime Minister, near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, Britain, July 28, 2021.   REUTERS / Peter Cziborra

George Freeman, who resigned as science minister on Thursday morning, said Queen Elizabeth should “appoint a caretaker under whom ministers can serve, so the Conservative Party can choose a new leader properly”.

In his resignation statement, Mr Johnson said he had fought to stay on because of a sense of “duty” to the “millions of people who voted for us” in 2019 when he won a landslide election victory.

“I have tried to persuade my colleagues that it would be eccentric to change governments when we are delivering so much and when we have such a vast mandate and when we are actually only a handful of points behind in the polls,” he said.

But “I regret not to have been successful in those arguments and of course it is painful not to be able to see through so many ideas and projects myself”.

It is expected to take months, to elect a new party leader and have a prime minister installed in time for the Conservatives' annual conference in early October.

Updated: July 08, 2022, 6:06 AM
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