As Boris Johnson was forced to resign, calls to "Activate the Queen" began trending on Twitter. What it means to "activate" Queen Elizabeth, along with American reactions.
Activate The Queen! What It Means And American Reactions
Credit: Jane Barlow/WPA Pool/Getty Images
July 7, 2022

After Boris Johnson was forced to resign after he was felled by the biggest mass resignation in U.K. history, the phrase "Activate the Queen" started trending on Twitter. Before Johnson resigned, British political journalist Mikey Smith tweeted: "Well-placed source convinced Boris Johnson won’t quit, even if the 22 change the rules, and he loses a VONC. Instead, he’ll claim he has a mandate from 14m voters and will threaten to force an election - but not before deselecting everyone who voted against him."

Then London Times historian Jack Blackburn explained that if Johnson did not resign, it would "activate" Queen Elizabeth, and tweeted:"This would activate the Queen. Lascelles Principles will direct her to decline his request for a dissolution. She then is left with the choice to dismiss him or not."

However, as The Washington Post reported, Johnson announced his resignation outside No.10 Downing Street on July 7, so there was no need for Her Majesty to step in. But the calls to “Activate the Queen” generated quite a few cheeky comments on Twitter. One Twitter user commented: “Activate the Queen! Or Willie Nelson.” Political pundit Ellie Mystal tweeted: “Little late for a “pro-Fourth of July” tweet but... I am indeed thankful that in none of my constitutional writings do I ever have to use the phrase “this would activate the Queen.” Another funny Twitter user quipped: “‘This would activate the Queen’ is a phrase I will now be using whenever someone in my life is about to do something so stupid I can no longer keep my mouth shut.” Self-described SCOTUS nerd Steve Vladeck tweeted: My new answer to everything: “Activate the Queen!”

But on a serious note, some noted how the mass resignations protesting Johnson show how cowardly Republicans have been under Trump. Founder of Protect Democracy, Ian Bassin, tweeted: “What is happening in the UK is a damning indictment of the American GOP. For all Boris Johnson’s scandals, his misdeeds pale in comparison to those of Donald Trump. And yet in 4 years of Trump we never saw mass public resignations like in the UK today.”

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