Boris Johnson’s resignation: Whitehouse Communications Comments for The Guardian

Boris Johnson’s bid to cling on as Leader of the Conservative Party was doomed, so why did he try?

Chris Whitehouse, Chair of Whitehouse Communications, and a prominent political consultant and public affairs lobbyist, explains to national newspaper, The Guardian, why it is sometimes hard for political leaders to resign and move on.

Guardian columnist, Tim Dowling, writes:

Political consultant Chris Whitehouse, the chair of Whitehouse Communications, is certain of one thing: Johnson should have realised his appointed hour had arrived. In light of the allegations against Chris Pincher MP, the PM’s position was, he says, untenable. “The big beasts of the cabinet could no longer stand back and hope that this blows over. This one is not going to blow over.”

And explaining why Cabinet Members were so slow to act, Dowling goes on to write:

“This is a balancing act for some of the big beasts of cabinet, a double-edged sword,” says Whitehouse. “If we’re seen to stick the knife in for reasons of self-advancement, it won’t work. It could be counterproductive. If we’re seen to go gracefully, to acknowledge what we achieved and quietly go and sit in the tea rooms for a few weeks, I think that will go down much better.”

Johnson’s main motivation for quitting would probably be to protect whatever legacy he has left. Ironically again, one might cite Tony Blair as an example. “The power base within the Labour party wanted Tony out,” says Whitehouse. “The left wing never accepted New Labour, and what they’d had to do and say to get elected, and frankly, Tony Blair just had enough. His legacy was trashed by his own party.” But thanks in part to the manner of his leaving, Blair was eventually reassessed. “History, I think, will look back and conclude his legacy in some ways was better than his own party have accepted” says Whitehouse.

Political consultancy

The Whitehouse team are expert political consultants providing public relations and public affairs consulting and political analysis to a wide range of clients, not only in the United Kingdom, but also across the member states of the European Union and beyond. For more information, please contact Whitehouse Communications Chair, Chris Whitehouse, at

More on Boris Johnson can be found here.