Voters have every right to cast me out, says PM

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In remarks he delivered via a pre-recorded video to the Summit for Democracy, hosted by US President Joe Biden the Prime Minister said he would “not wish it any other way” than for voters to be able to get rid of him at the ballot box, reports Asian Lite News

Boris Johnson has said voters have “every right” to cast him “down and out again” as he championed the benefits of living in a democracy.

In remarks, he delivered via a pre-recorded video to the Summit for Democracy, hosted by US President Joe Biden the Prime Minister said he would “not wish it any other way” than for voters to be able to get rid of him at the ballot box.

He said: “Out of Athens more than 2,500 years ago, there came a simple and beautiful idea: that people are neither passive nor powerless, but free citizens with a right to participate in the governance of their country. The idea of democracy has gathered force down the centuries, inspiring billions across the world, and converging on the principles we all share. We believe that our peoples are entitled to elect and remove their governments through the ballot box, overseen by independent courts and a free media. We’re only here because our electorates have, at least for the time being, raised us to positions of responsibility for their affairs – but they have every right to cast us down and out again, and we would not wish it any other way.”

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is representing the UK at the opening session.

Biden opened the summit by saying protecting democracy is the “challenge of our time” and noted that “half of all democracies have experienced a decline in at least one aspect of democracy over the last 10 years, including the United States”.

The PM’s speech comes at a time when the leader is facing mounting criticism in recent times.

In a survey held last month, Johnson’s Conservatives have lost their lead in two opinion polls after a growing parliamentary standards scandal prompted almost two thirds of respondents in one survey to say the British prime minister’s party was disreputable.

In the midst of growing criticism, Conservatives were fined nearly £18,000 for failing to properly disclose a donation used to redecorate Johnson’s Downing Street flat.

The latest development in a scandal dubbed “wallpaper-gate” comes with Johnson embroiled in a series of other high-profile controversies, including claims of lockdown-breaching parties in Downing Street last Christmas.

The Electoral Commission, which regulates political finance, found that the Tories failed to “accurately report the full value” of a £67,801.72 donation which covered a portion of a lavish Downing Street refurbishment.

“The investigation found that decisions relating to the handling and recording of these transactions reflected serious failings in the party’s compliance systems,” it said in a statement, announcing two fines totalling £17,800.

“The payment was incorrectly described in internal records and the full value of the donation was not correctly identified and reported,” the commission added.

Issues around the expensive refurbishment of quarters above Number 11 Downing Street — next door to his Number 10 office — that he shares with his family have dogged Johnson throughout this year.

Most of the historic estate is maintained with public money, but every prime minister gets an annual allowance of £30,000 to redecorate the living space.

But concerns emerged over how Johnson and his wife Carrie Symonds paid for a reportedly £200,000 bill for their lavish makeover — in an affair also dubbed “cash for curtains”.

Reports suggested the couple had tried to create a White House-style trust to manage the refurb, but when that failed to get off the ground the tab was settled by the Conservatives and a wealthy donor before Johnson reimbursed the party.

A newly appointed adviser on ministerial standards found earlier this year that Johnson leader had acted “unwisely” over the funding arrangements, but was not guilty of any impropriety.

However, opposition parties have seized on the saga to burnish their portrayal of Johnson as a sleazy, untruthful leader.

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