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Isa Soares Tonight

Boris Johnson Vows To Carry On After Wave Of Resignations In His Government; July 4th Shooting Suspect Appears In Court; Ukraine Urges Evacuations In Donetsk As Fighting Rages On; Boris Johnson Vows To Carry On After Wave Of Resignations. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired July 06, 2022 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN HOST: Hello, and a very warm welcome, I'm ISA SOARES TONIGHT. We are live outside the houses of parliament where the British

Prime Minister is fighting for his political future as a wave of resignations plunges Boris Johnson's government into turmoil. But he

remains defiant, vowing to stay in office.


BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: Earlier today that I can see for a general election is two years from now or 2024. I think is the most

likely date for the next election. We have a huge amount to deliver, we're going to get on and do it.


SOARES: Well, as you can understand, this is a very fast-moving situation. But at this hour, nearly 14 ministers as well as government officials have

quit, with many calling for the need for honesty as well as integrity. This after Johnson apologized for appointing a senior conservative lawmaker to

his government.

A lawmaker that Johnson knew had a history of sexual misconduct allegations. Then a crushing double blow. This happened on this show last

night. I spoke with the Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, and the Health Secretary Sajid Javid turn their backs on the leaders and began their


Well, here to make sense of this fast-moving day is Bianca Nobilo. And Bianca, as we've just set out, you know, it started with these two big

resignations, and now it has snowballed. Talk to us and explain to our international audience how we got here.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, those initial vaccinations were very significant. Because they set this entire thing alight. Sajid Javid,

Rishi Sunak, both heavyweights in the cabinet, very prominent members for the British public as well. And it's what these resignations set. They were

talking about Boris Johnson's lack of integrity.

The fact that he was distracted from any policy to try and improve the country and help people's lives because all the governments are talking

about is scandals. And try and do sort of gymnastics to get out of the statement that they've already made. So all of these blows landed and

resonated not just in parliament, but across the country, putting more pressure on the prime minister. But let's take a little look back as to

where all this came from, and why this time, maybe finally, it's different.


JOHNSON: I abhor bullying and abuse of power anywhere, In parliament, in this party or in any other party.

NOBILO (voice-over): Boris Johnson seemingly unsinkable premiership once again on the rocks. But this time, it is different.

SAJID JAVID, FORMER BRITISH HEALTH SECRETARY: Treading the tightrope between loyalty and integrity has become impossible in recent months.

NOBILO: Trust in Johnson's word almost completely eroded. Say more than two dozen members of parliament resigning from government within 24 hours,

including two of his most prominent cabinet ministers. Health Secretary Sajid Javid saying, "I could no longer in good conscience continue serving

in this government." Chancellor Rishi Sunak reasons "the public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously."

Johnson and his office now being held to account over the handling of allegations of sexual misconduct by a member of government. After a former

top civil servant broke ground to accuse them of lying about not knowing of the previous official complaint of alleged sexual misconduct before

promoting the member of parliament involved. Johnson has since admitted he did know about the allegations.

KEIR STARMER, BRITISH LABOR PARTY LEADER: For a week, he's had them defending his decision to promote a sexual predator. Every day, the lines

he's forced them to take have been untrue. And now he wants them to go out and say that he simply forgot.

JOHNSON: I greatly regret that he continued in office.

NOBILO: Just last month, the prime minister was booed in public before narrowly surviving a confidence vote by members of his own party, following

the latest scandal, party-gate. Now, more letters voicing no confidence in the prime minister are going in. As his members of parliament suggest

changes to the rules of the conservative back-bench 1922 committee, so another vote can be held before parliamentary recess.


The question for many now appears to be not a matter of if, but how soon his premiership will end.


NOBILO: As you might expect, it's been a roller-coaster day for the prime minister. It kicked off with prime minister's questions where he faced huge

grilling from Keir Starmer who doesn't always land political blows, but today his most effective series of remarks without question. And then after

that, he faced a liaison committee and the 22 committee met, decided not to change the rules. So the momentum for his leadership to end imminently has

sort of splattered throughout the day.

SOARES: Now, you're an expert at reading body language. So what did you make of the prime minister at PMQs, at the liaison committee. Because he

came across to me as somewhat sanctimonious.

NOBILO: Oh, it was a staggering brace and performance from him. And I've never seen him so alone. Because obviously he has the opposition, opposite

him on the green benches who were never on the prime minister's side. But you could tell that he also didn't have the support from behind him.

And as many people have said today, publicly, privately to me, it is if he was operating in a parallel universe or detached from reality. Digging in,

maintaining his position, not alert to the public mood and the humiliation that many people interpret this as --

SOARES: This has always been the case though. You and I have sat here for so many times over the last few years. And we've --

NOBILO: Yes --

SOARES: Basically have seen that he's not in touch with really the people and what is being said up and down the country.

NOBILO: He keeps reiterating many times today, and PMQs and the committee that he has a mandate, a huge mandate to continue. He's referring to the

historic election which he delivered in 2019. But it isn't a mandate when many of your MPs, many of your ministers and junior ministers have all

resigned. People who supported you initially.

All the polls suggest that most voters and conservative voters would like to see him out. He doesn't have this mandate that he keeps maintaining he


SOARES: So what are his options now, Bianca? Because do you think he will wait for there to be another vote of confidence, or do you think he will

gracefully resign as Theresa May did?

NOBILO: I think gracefully resign might be off the cards --


At this point. He was asked in the committee earlier today, are you delusional? And he said, well, I think a lot of politicians are delusional.

He's reached the point of no return. You know, putting my neck on the line by saying that because it seems that we say that all the time about Boris


I think what could happen now is either his cabinet, people close to him, perhaps even his wife might approach him and say that, you simply can't

continue. You don't have the confidence. You can't make a government function. And he could resign or we wait for the new in-take of the 22

committee, the replenish committee to change those rules, force another confidence vote, and then quite certainly, he doesn't have the numbers to

survive that.

SOARES: Do we know when that might happen?

NOBILO: So, Monday, we have the vote for the new executive of the 22 committee which for our international viewers, is just this very

influential group of backbenchers who can preside over these matters. And then we could expect to see changes quite rapidly. But it is unprecedented

and rather astonishing to have this cascade of --

SOARES: Yes --

NOBILO: Resignations, public condemnations of the prime minister to not feel humble or humiliated enough to then resign.

SOARES: I'd say he might not want to wait until, you know, maybe they're advising him not to wait until Monday because of the humiliation, if it

does go ahead for a vote. Bianca, I know we'll touch base a bit later. Thanks very much, Bianca Nobilo. I want to bring in CNN's international

diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson. And Nic, give us a sense of what is happening behind Number 10, behind that black door.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, sure, you probably just caught me looking off camera to the side there. There's been a number

of vehicles parked at the side of Downing Street, sort of along one of the side entrances there. And they've just been nosing to come out one left in

the backseat was empty, the one I'm looking at down there, the Range Rover appears to have somebody on the back seat. The windows were tinted.

We can't see the comings and goings here on foot have been just a couple late this afternoon. Nadine Dorries; the Secretary of State for Digital

Culture, Media and Sport, Grant Shapps; the Secretary of State for Transport walking in through the front door, not saying anything really

before they went in.

But a number of cars that you often see bringing ministers and officials in here to Downing Street have been going in and pulling up alongside. So we

haven't really had a sense of all the comings and goings. But there's certainly a narrative that's been created today, and certainly, we

understand that at least one very senior cabinet member, Michael Gove has been -- and told the prime minister that this is the moment to step down.

It's not clear what these other cabinet members, Nadine Dorries, Grant Shapps have gone in to say, and how many other cabinet members may have

used a side door, the back entrance to get in and wait for the prime minister to come back, or even if the prime minister is in the building. If

he is, he certainly didn't come in through the front door.

A couple of the sort of larger police vehicles, would often plain clothes police vehicles would often escort the prime minister or other senior

officials lined up on the street.


A little further up. So it's very hard to tell what is happening behind closed doors. Boris Johnson, as you've been discussing has made it so clear

today in public that he is not going to step down. But this is the moment - -

SOARES: Yes --

ROBERTSON: And the time when he will be getting to listen to other people, and perhaps be able to reflect on that position from people who are close

enough to and really may trust at this stage.

SOARES: And Nic, as you're talking, we're looking at that black Range Rover, we can't tell from this, from our vantage point, from the camera

angle who is inside, but we are seeing that Range Rover that you were talking about. Of course, we'll keep an eye on this. But Nic, just explain

to our international viewers who might be somewhat perplexed by what is going on.

Because on the international stage, Boris Johnson has been seen on a very positive light, hasn't he? I mean, you were covering the G7. He is really

been front and center when it comes to the war in Ukraine. But home, he has failed in the eyes of many.

ROBERTSON: Yes, and I think it's been interesting to listen to the narrative coming from members of his own party over the past few days. You

know, while he's been --

SOARES: Yes --

ROBERTSON: On the international stage, the wonderful and luxurious castle in Elmau Schloss -- Schloss Elmau in the G7 in Bavaria, while he was in

Madrid, NATO while he was in Rwanda at the Commonwealth Conference there, able to sort of divert attention from the problems at home. The narrative

that's emerging from within his party is that, this is a prime minister who's actually damaging the party's international standing.

In fact, Britain's international standing because of its position over the northern island protocols. The difficulties that is getting him into with

the European Union because of Britain's policy towards refugees. So these are things that are now not have -- just like Brexit, having an internal

effect on the country. But actually having an effect on the external image. And I think, you know, the prime minister now is really facing this huge

amount of pressure that would convince him it's time to resign.

And he is responding, putting his shoulders into that pressure, and saying no, I'm going to stay. So I think when you step back and take a look at the

very big picture, he left the country facing a huge amount of pressure. He took some glow on the international stage, but has come back to even more

increased pressure. And it is --

SOARES: Yes --

ROBERTSON: Inescapable at the moment. There isn't a phone call to President Zelenskyy that's going to turn back the dial on what's happening to him


SOARES: Yes. And Nic, that black car, I think Range Rover is now behind you, I don't know if you've got a better view from where you are, who might

be inside. We're of course, keeping a close eye on Number 10. I don't -- I haven't seen anyone leave. But Nic, let me -- let me ask you this.

I mean, he said -- we've said -- we've heard him say time and time again today, that you know, he's going to stay on. He's going to continue

fighting for the people, for the country and really talking about the economy, really trying to continue on as normal. But how does he spin this?

ROBERTSON: You know, at this moment, it would seem to be hugely difficult. Let the dust settle on the day, come back tomorrow with a new narrative as

Boris Johnson and the Number 10 office like to do. They like to get -- set the narrative for the day, whether it is a phone call to President

Zelenskyy or some other international position or domestic position. A press release that will go will be -- that will go out later tonight, it

will hit the headlines tomorrow morning.

It seems impossible to divert attention. So just looking at the Range Rover there. There is another two Range Rovers parked up the street. I would -- I

would have thought if it was the prime minister who was going to walk out the front door, there would at least be another escort vehicle lined up

with this one.

It would be so unusual for the prime minister not to have an escort. But there may be an escort sitting around the corner. I don't see it and I

don't hear it. So it's not clear who is going to come out of Number 10. But clearly, somebody is, and one thing I can absolutely guarantee for you, if

it is a government minister that steps out of that door.

If it is Boris Johnson, there's going to be an absolute barrage of questions, one question in fact --

SOARES: Yes --

ROBERTSON: Unison here, are you going to stay? That's what's going to happen here.

SOARES: Yes, and he's -- I know that he's got quite a greeting party already at 10 Downing Street. I know you'll keep on top of those images. As

soon as you have any more developments Nic, do let us know. Nic Robertson there outside 10 Downing Street. I'm joined now by John Rentoul; the chief

political commentator for "The Independent". And John, here we are again it seems. This time perhaps maybe that he's running out of road.

JOHN RENTOUL, CHIEF POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, THE INDEPENDENT: He is, just three years after he won an extraordinary general election victory. He's

now going to be a prime minister who lasted for only as long as Theresa May, Jim Callaghan and Gordon Brown.


It's a humiliating end for him. But I'm afraid he's brought it on himself. The qualities that actually led to his success in the first place, the

ability to break rules and defy convention have ended up making him extremely unpopular.

SOARES: What was the straw do you think that broke the camel's back? I mean --

RENTOUL: Oh, it's clearly the Chris Pincher business --

SOARES: Do you think if the Chris Pincher allegations, if that had happened a year or so ago or even longer, do you think they would have had the same


RENTOUL: No, I mean, it's because it came after the lockdown parties --

SOARES: Of course, OK --

RENTOUL: In Downing Street --

SOARES: It's a combination of factors --

RENTOUL: That was something that really upset public opinion. I mean, I'm sure most photos have no idea who Chris Pincher is --

SOARES: Yes --

RENTOUL: Or was a deputy chief whip. I mean, they'll be aware there have been allegations of sexual harassment and the rest of it, but the effect of

that on the parliamentary party in there has been completely seismic.

SOARES: And --

RENTOUL: And only a month ago, he won that vote of confidence, but since then, he's absolutely lost their support.

SOARES: And just explain to our international viewers, who knew that maybe listen to Chris Pincher, might not know him. Why this was so important,

what happened here? You know, so much criticism. Because from what we have heard from those who have stepped down, of course, it's about honesty --

RENTOUL: Exactly --

SOARES: And integrity --


SOARES: And truth.

RENTOUL: Well, I mean, the Chris Pincher thing was originally just a story of the kind of trouble that politicians get into all over the world. You

know, he was accused of sexual harassment, he confessed he drank too much and resigned. But what really did the damage to Boris Johnson is that he

appeared not to be telling the truth about him, about how much he knew of Chris Pincher's behavior in the past --

SOARES: Yes --

RENTOUL: And he knew about that and appointed him anyway, and then tried to pretend that he didn't know him.

SOARES: And then other members of his own cabinet had to try and defend him in the morning --

RENTOUL: Exactly --

SOARES: I wonder -- I want you to have a listen to -- what if we have that sound bite from what Savage Abbott had to say today during PMQs. Have a

listen to this.


SAJID JAVID, FORMER BRITISH HEALTH SECRETARY: We have the Sue Gray report, a new Downing Street team. I continued to give the benefit of the doubt.

And now, this week again, we have reason to question the truth and integrity of what we've all been told. And at some point, we have to

conclude, that enough is enough.


JAVID: I believe that point is now.


SOARES: These are pretty strong words from one of the highest members of his own cabinet really.

RENTOUL: Absolutely. And you saw the body language --

SOARES: Yes --

RENTOUL: Of all the conservative MPs sitting around him. They all recognized what he was saying, recognized how damaging it is, and that's

why the cabinet ministers are all in Number 10 now, telling the prime minister that he's got to go because he can't win another vote of

confidence. And so, you know, at some stage he's got to decide to resign.

SOARES: Very quickly, how long do you think he'll last?

RENTOUL: Oh, until Monday.

SOARES: Monday?

RENTOUL: He'll announce his resignation on Monday, and say that he will stay on as prime minister when a successor is elected.

SOARES: John, always great to see you, thanks very much --

RENTOUL: My pleasure --

SOARES: I appreciate. And still to come tonight, an urgent call to flee. Ukrainian officials say all remaining civilians in the Donetsk region must

leave now as Russian forces advance. We'll have the very latest. And then stories of love as well as heroism emerged in the shuttered high city

Highland Park, Illinois, even as the suspect of July 4th gunman appears in court. You are watching CNN. Thank you for that --



SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. Russian forces are pushing west in the Donbas, focusing their fire on Ukraine's Donetsk region after seizing

virtually all of neighboring Luhansk. Ukraine says it's putting up a fierce resistance, it is repeating an urgent call for the evacuation of all

civilians in Donetsk as the fighting escalates. Russia is intensifying strikes on the city of Sloviansk ahead of an unexpected offensive there.

Ukraine says at least two people were killed in the latest shelling. CNN's Alex Marquardt is following developments tonight for us from Kharkiv. And

Alex, are civilians heeding that call to leave?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, most civilians have already left the Donetsk region. There are around 20 percent

of the pre-war population are still in the Donetsk region. Isa, you're absolutely right. As the Russians solidify, consolidate their positions in

Luhansk, which is also of course in the Donbas, there is growing concern that the Russians will renew their offensive here in the Kharkiv region as

well as in Donetsk where local officials are telling people to evacuate.

That is also where a well-known Ukrainian paramedic had been held captive who we met. She has been hailed as a hero for her work on the frontlines

with Ukrainian civilians and troops. And we sat down with her, and she talked about her ordeal in captivity for more than 90 days in which she was

held in conditions that she compared to a gulag. Take a listen.


MARQUARDT (voice-over): In this Russian propaganda film, Yulia Paevska is marched hooded and handcuffed into a dark interrogation room. The hood

yanked off, harsh light blinding her.


MARQUARDT: Paevska, who is Ukrainian goes by the nickname Taira and is a famous medic known across Ukraine until very recently, she was a prisoner

of war. Held by Russian and pro-Russian forces, made to appear in the propaganda film which accuses her of harvesting organs and compares her to


After three months in captivity, Taira, who we met today with her husband, was freed in a prisoner exchange. But in her first sit-down interview since

then, it's clear the wounds are still fresh.


MARQUARDT (on camera): It sounds like torture.

PAEVSKA: It was, and physical also.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): Taira says she was deprived of food for days, beaten and threatened with a death penalty.


MARQUARDT: When the war started in February, she headed to the brutal fight in Mariupol, capturing dramatic video on a body camera she wore. In March,

as the Russians closed in, the memory card was smuggled out by journalists in a tampon. Then at a checkpoint, Taira was recognized and taken prisoner.



MARQUARDT: She says she was told lies about Russian battlefield successes, and used against her will as a character for Russian media to claim that

their forces are fighting neo-Nazis.


MARQUARDT: It may be sometime before Taira returns to the frontlines. She also wants to train for next year's Invictus Games for wounded veterans. As

the reality sets in, that this will be a long war.



MARQUARDT: And so, you could hear there, Isa, that she was told by her captors to just stop resisting. And that of course is not what the

Ukrainian forces are doing. They have mounted significant resistance around the country. And Taira has echoed Ukraine's leaders in saying what they

need now is more help from the West, more military aid. Isa.

SOARES: A powerful piece there from Alex Marquardt. Thanks very much, Alex, I appreciate it. Now, heartbreak heroism and disbelief today in Highland

Park, Illinois, as a suspect in the deadly July 4th parade shooting appeared by video in court. Candles, as well as flowers are expressing the

community's anguish after seven people were killed and dozens were wounded.

Among them, Kevin and Irina McCarthy. Kevin put his body between his two- year-old son and the bullets, dying at the scene but saving his son's life. Twenty one-year-old suspect Robert Crimo III was denied bail on seven

murder charges, we learned he has been on police radar for years, but still was able to legally buy firearms.

CNN's Josh Campbell is at the courthouse for us in Lake County, Illinois, and joins us now. And Josh, I know the suspect made his first court

appearance today. What did he say?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so well, we only heard one sentence uttered from this suspected gunman. And that was telling the judge

in response to a question that he did not have a lawyer. The judge then assigned him a public defender, as he moves through this prosecution. But

it was what he didn't say as the charges were read in this case that was so chilling. I was inside the courtroom.

He was appearing via Zoom. He's been held at a detention center away from the courthouse. But the prosecutors started by naming the victims who were

killed in this attack. And as he read out these names, the suspect stood there with no emotion, completely unfazed. He was looking down, to the

right and left at times, but showing no emotion as the prosecutor recounted this mass murder that struck this community in United States on

Independence Day.

Now, we're learning new chilling details about the moments before that shooting. We were told by prosecutors and law enforcement, that the suspect

went on the roof top near where this parade route was, with this high- powered assault rifle, scan the crowd with a gun, and then started opening fire. Reloading twice with a high capacity magazine, with 30 rounds of

ammunition, again, going through three of those magazines, firing indiscriminately on this crowd.

As people fled, again, we know, seven people killed, so many others injured in this attack. We're also learning about another chilling details, that is

law enforcement now tells us that after that parade shooting, the suspect went on the run from the state of Illinois into the state of Wisconsin.

Police say that as he was driving, he came across another large gathering of people, another celebration, again, it was Independence Day here in


They're saying that the suspect considered opening fire on that crowd as well. He had several rounds of ammunition in his vehicle. Now, we don't

know why the suspect decided not to conduct that attack, but he did tell police that --

SOARES: Yes --

CAMPBELL: He considered that. He is talking to police, he has confessed to his crimes. The prosecutors say at this point, they've charged seven counts

of first degree murder. There could be many more charges on the horizon, Isa.

SOARES: All right, Josh Campbell there for us in Illinois, thanks very much, Josh. And still to come tonight, a prime minister on the brink, Boris

Johnson's fight for his political survival after this very short break.




SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.

We are live from outside the Houses of Parliament. It is 7:30 here in London and British prime minister Boris Johnson insists he is not going to

step down, despite the crisis really engulfing this government.

In the past 24 hours, he's lost nearly 14 ministers as well as lawmakers, including his chancellor as well as his health secretary. Former supporters

are calling him dishonest and are demanding that he step aside and really accept the scandal has been written, as written, his leadership really is


We are watching this hour to see what could still happen tonight. It's been a very fast moving day as you can imagine. Mr. Johnson had been avoiding

questions about what he calls a pointless political disturbance, insisting he needs to be in office to keep the government on track. This is what he

said earlier, have a listen.


QUESTION: Will you be prime minister tomorrow?



QUESTION: Next week?

JOHNSON: -- but I'm here to, rather than giving any running commentary on my own --


JOHNSON: -- talk about what the government is doing.


SOARES: I want to bring in CNN's international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson. He joins us from outside 10 Downing Street.

And Nic, after that appearance in front of the liaison committee, he had quite a greeting welcome him there at 10 Downing Street. Give us a sense of

what could be happening where you are.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, we just saw, within the past 20 minutes, that Black Range Rover that pulled up outside

of Parliament earlier. Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, jumped in the vehicle; shot off, didn't answer questions, didn't answer questions when he

went in.

It's not clear who he met, when he was inside or why he was there. But there is certainly an expectation created that he may well have been among

the cabinet members, like Michael Gove, who -- a very senior cabinet member -- who were telling the prime minister that this was the time to leave.


ROBERTSON: Leave with some dignity, to recognize that the situation is impossible, that if he stays in office, it will only get worse. So it's not

clear who else is inside at the moment.

We've just seen Nadine Dorries, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport go in. She hasn't left, as far as we know. There

have been a few cars coming and going from the back door or the side door.

So who is inside at the moment, not clear. But I think one of the things that's become clear over recent weeks, I've been covering the E.U. leader

summit, the G7 Bavaria summit, covering that remotely in Madrid, the NATO summit.

And during that time, I've spoken to a number of leaders attending those summits. And they've told me that they no longer feel that Boris Johnson's

word counts for what it used to, that he is tarnished and damaged as a leader. And it's affecting the way that they perceive this country, the

United Kingdom.

So on the international stage as well, Boris Johnson, although he's taken a big presence there recently, has not had the level of support and trust

that he might have had a few years ago. So all of this is adding up to really a moment of truth for Boris Johnson. It all seems to be pointing in

one way at the moment, Isa.

SOARES: A moment of truth for Boris Johnson.

But what are his options right now?

Nic, talk us through that. Clearly, he's run out of road.

But does he have a way out here?

ROBERTSON: It's very hard to judge precisely what he's thinking at the moment. Despite the fact that, when he was facing PMQs, the two hour

grilling in that committee session, he absolutely stuck to his guns that he was going to stay in office.

He's received different advice since leaving. Ministers told him, perhaps he had a conversation with his family, with his wife. But the options that

face him right now all seem to point to a resignation.

The question that remains, it seems, is it today or this evening?

Is it tomorrow?

Is it on Monday, when his hand might be forced by a new executive committee, the powerful 1922 backbench committee, that would have the power

potentially, if it changed its own rules, to have another vote of confidence in him, which, by all indications, he would lose.

So does he hang on until the utter last moment?

Or does he recognize that there is a chance to go with dignity, perhaps on slightly better terms before that?

These are the options. It's not a case of if but when, seems to be the judgment at the moment.

SOARES: Nic Robertson, outside 10 Downing Street, thanks very much, Nic, we'll touch base with you in about 20 minutes or so.

Bianca Nobilo joins me now.

Just picking up from what Nic said, those are the options.

Knowing the man and his character, which road you think he'll take, Bianca?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Well, people who know him well and have studied his political career and his life, because he's had many

biographies some of him because he's such a colorful and sometimes curious character, think that he will fight until the very last.

That's his instinct. And it was interesting today when it was PMQs. Even at times in front of the liaison committee, when he's most under threat,

facing a confidence vote or being grilled, at his lowest political moment, he comes alive.

So under threat, often his best political traits come out; whereas sometimes he can seem a little lazy or complacent with the details. So I

think that is key to his character. Going forward, but as Nic said, it might come down to this delegation of ministers. Speaking to him inside

cabinet. Those have always been the most loyal to him.

And they have throughout his career, supported him, backed him to become leader, such as I'm hearing from some of my sources, Priti Patel, the home

secretary. Our international viewers will be aware of her because she was one of the architects of this Rwanda immigration policy.

A very close ally of the prime minister. She was apparently going to Number 10 and has joined the delegation of those who are saying, you cannot go on.

The government doesn't function now. And this is bringing the party and the Parliament into disrepute.

SOARES: I want to play for our viewers, Bianca, a little clip from Keir Starmer, the leader of the opposition, speaking during PMQs, a very strong

speech we heard today. Have a listen to what's he had to say.


KEIR STARMER, U.K. LABOUR LEADER: The only thing he's delivering is chaos. He's only in power because he's been propped up for months by a corrupted

party, defending the indefensible.

In the middle of a crisis, doesn't the country deserve better than a Z list cast of nodding dogs?


STARMER: Anyone quitting now after defending all that hasn't got a shred of integrity.

Mr. Speaker, isn't this the first recorded case of the sinking ships fleeing the rats?


SOARES: So that was Kier Starmer, speaking today during the prime minister's questions.

What's struck me watching, listening to Boris Johnson today, it's something that you and I've talked about before, this sense of determination but also

political hubris, that he just carries -- the way he carries himself throughout.

And it doesn't make you think, with almost 40 resignations, does he truly believe, Bianca, that he can replace those positions?

Or will he go all the way to the end and wait for a vote of confidence?

Does he feel that that is the most -- here we go again -- dignified way out?

NOBILO: There's two ways of looking at that. Some people could see it's a noble effort to fight until the very last. That may be indeed be how he is

viewing it. Or to leave with a shred of dignity, without being forced out but heavily pushed by your ministers in that direction.

He was asked by a Labour MP today in a committee whether or not he was delusional because of the circumstances. And it's quite unthinkable than

any other prime minister would've endured these scandals, this cascade of resignations and the level of vitriol and the type of criticism, his

integrity, his trustworthiness, leading the country in the wrong direction and remain with any sense of dignity.

But he continues. And I do believe, as you know about Boris Johnson, that he thinks he's different. His sister gave us anecdotes about the prime

minister, said that, as a young boy, he wanted to be world king. He's known to have this astonishing sense of self belief, this exceptionalism that he

believes about himself.

And we're seeing that play out. But the road has to end somewhere, no matter how exceptional he might think he is.

SOARES: He thinks he may be exceptional.

Who knows?

That's how he's obviously seen his position here.

But how about the damage perhaps he's causing to his own party?

NOBILO: So whether you speak to his fiercest critic or those who have tried to remain loyal to him, be more transactional about it, the general

consensus is that he puts himself before anything else.

So those fierce critics who say that he has a self interest, that borders on the sociopathy. I had (INAUDIBLE) say that to me and others this week.

He still expects loyalty. And then even those who want to back him will recognize that his political brand is all driven by his own personality.

So at the heart of all of it his self interest, the thirst for power which we've seen. But I think this could be a cautionary tale of what happens

when you are a politician that strives for an office but not what you'll do in that role.


SOARES: He could win elections. But the two by-elections, they lost.

NOBILO: This is what we've seen over the last fortnight, the key political government, being able to win elections. He now fails on that account, a

crushing defeat. Being able to discipline government and get votes done is how Parliament functions.

While his deputy chief whip caused a massive scandal, that's not functioning properly. And you need the confidence of your cabinet,

essentially, and your party. As the last 24 hours have shown, he hasn't either. Those are the central tenets of a functioning government. And he

can't demonstrate that he has those.

SOARES: He's hanging on by a thread. Bianca, thank you very much.

And still to come tonight, the WHO says COVID-19 cases are surging in much of Europe and Asia. We'll take a look at the latest outbreak in China. You

are watching CNN.





SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.

The World Health Organization says global COVID-19 cases have gone up by 30 percent in the last two weeks, this new surge driven by two Omicron

subvariants, which is spreading across Europe as well as the United States.

The WHO also says it's keeping a close eye on another version of Omicron that has just been identified in India and in China, a city home to more

than 13 million, is now under a partial lockdown. Our Selina Wang is in Beijing for us.


SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: China's northwestern city, home to 13 million people, announced sweeping restrictions that would partially shut

down the city. And underscores yet again that China's zero COVID strategy is here to stay.

This is China's first outbreak of the BA.5.2 subvariant. This is the highly new transmissible subvariant that is quickly dominating the U.S. and

Europe. According to researchers, the strain appears to escape antibody responses from people who have been fully vaccinated and boosted.

Chinese officials said the restrictions will last for seven days in Xi'an. Entertainment videos, bars, movie theaters, gyms, libraries and museums

were all closed. Restaurant dining and large gatherings were suspended.

And the schools were ordered to start summer holidays early. Authorities also sealed in nine residential neighborhoods. All of this brings back

painful memories for Xi'an residents.

The city was under strict lockdown between December and January. During that time, there was shock and anger over food shortages and heartbreaking

scenes of critical patients being denied medical care.

Meanwhile, Beijing says it has found three cases of the BA.5.2 subvariant in the capital. Starting on July 11th, the capital will require people to

show proof of vaccination in order to enter any public venue.

Here in Beijing, already, we're required to show a recent COVID test and scan our health codes in order to enter any public area. And meanwhile in

Shanghai, where residents have only just emerged from a brutal two month lockdown, authorities ordered mass testing for 12 of its 16 districts.

This is in response to just a handful of new infections -- Selina Wang, CNN, Beijing.


SOARES: Now top U.S. and British intelligence officials made a rare joint appearance on Wednesday to issue a warning about security and economic

threats they say are posed by China.

FBI director Christopher Wray and MI-5 director general Ken McCallum met with business as well as academic leaders in London and told them China is

trying to steal their intellectual property and influence Western politics.

Wray also said Beijing is now working to shield its economy from potential sanctions should it try to take over Taiwan during lessons from Russia's

invasion of Ukraine.

Still to come on the show tonight, British prime minister Boris Johnson has weathered many scandals in his political life. That much we know. But this

latest wave of resignations is the most damaging yet. We'll have more on that just ahead.





SOARES: Returning now to our top story, British prime minister Boris Johnson's government is in chaos this hour. Several British MPs faced

revolt from their own parties but the speed with which Mr. Johnson's losing ministers and lawmakers and supporters makes his situation truly


The numerous scandals haven't brought him down yet and he's vowing to fight on.

But British lawmakers and the public are asking how much longer will he be able to have withstand this?

Let's get all the announcements from Luke McGee. He's the European policy and politics editor for

Luke, you are really in many ways our eyes and ears because you were inside PMQs. You are in contact with many of the MPs inside; Conservative Party,

of course. Give me a sense of what they've been telling you of the mood.

Is this a turning point right now?

LUKE MCGEE, CNN U.K. POLITICS EDITOR: It certainly the worst it's ever been. I think what's been interesting today is it's really been a tale of

two conflicting, completely contrasting realities.

So on one hand, we have the opposition MPs; we have the Tory backbenchers, who all think he's basically done. We even have senior advisers to the

Conservative Party who openly have been saying, the game's up.

But then a briefing that took place just after the MPs, a rather extraordinary MPs. We have the government's team saying, actually he's

doing absolutely fine. If a confidence vote would come, he'd fight it.

When asked directly does he still believe he has the confidence of his office parliamentary party, they said yes.

SOARES: So yet we know from our Nic Robertson who's at 10 Downing Street, there are several people inside that Black door.

What are you hearing they are telling you?

What is the message to Boris Johnson from those members of his own party?

MCGEE: We know that they are conveying the view of the party, which is that it's time. We know that senior cabinet ministers doing it. I just spoke to

a special advisor, to one of the cabinet ministers in there now. He says they're having open conversations about do they take their laptops and

phones home with them.

They think it's this serious. People who have been loyal for a really long time are in there, telling him the time has come. But it seems for now that

he's going to stay fast. Just before I came on, getting some texts from people inside Number 10, who were really playing down any idea of a crisis.

And in fact, I heard from a senior cabinet minister just before I came on air, who said I don't know what's going on. I'm speaking at a function. So

even the real loyalists are seemingly running away from this.

SOARES: Do we know those closest to him, who may be actually trying to say, do we know any of the names of the big people, who have been there all

along, saying actually this is the time, now is it?

MCGEE: We don't know exactly what they said, I should stress. But it seems that (INAUDIBLE) in there. It seems that the chief whip, (INAUDIBLE) is in

there. It seems that Priti Patel has gone to speak to him. All we know is that they're conveying the view of the party.

SOARES: Priti Patel being one of them suggesting the party is, the time is now?


MCGEE: I would say, innuendo would suggest that.

SOARES: Right, I want to quickly have a look at this poll that we have. It shows -- a snap poll shows 72 percent of people in this country think the

prime minister should resign.

At what point do you think, how soon do you think we'll see a resignation?

What kind of end do you think we'll see?

Will he wait until Monday or do you think the hope is that perhaps he will, his own cabinet, MPs will try to push him out?

MCGEE: I wouldn't wish to get ahead of Boris Johnson. He's certainly been a man who's been willing to ride for many, many scandals before. And given

how deeply dug in he is on this, one I think it's entirely possible he will hang on to Monday.

We know from the 1922 committee, when they came out, I was outside the committee room. And lots of MPs were saying, the reason that they wanted to

move this through to Monday was they wanted the cabinet to do their job.

There's been a lot of anger among the backbenches, that the cabinet has asked the MPs to effectively do their dirty work for them. So I think there

is an element to that. But the reality has become -- the longer he hangs on, the more it harms his reputation.

SOARES: His reputation and no doubt that of the party as well. Luke, I know you'll stay on top of this for us. Really appreciate it, thank you very


And thank you very much for your company tonight. Do stay right here with CNN. We will have much more, of course, on Britain's political crisis. It

is almost 8 o'clock and (INAUDIBLE). "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next. Right here on CNN.