British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resigned. His government completely imploded after massive resignations.
Boris Johnson has confirmed he is stepping down as UK Prime Minister.
The embattled Conservative leader eventually retired after a series of scandals plagued his premiership, from illegal parties to handing a plum job to a colleague he knew was under investigation for sexual misconduct.
Mr. Johnson formally announced his resignation at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday (9:30 p.m. AEST).
“It is now clearly the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party to have a new leader of that party and thus a new prime minister,” he said outside 10 Downing Street.
Johnson said he had appointed a new cabinet and would serve until there was a new leader.
He praised his government’s achievements, including overseeing Brexit, guiding the country through the Covid pandemic and supporting Ukraine after the Russian invasion.
“For you, the British public, I know there will be a lot of people who will be relieved and maybe quite a few will be disappointed,” he said.
“I want you to know how sad I am to give up the best job in the world, but those are the breaks.”
A small group of supporters of Mr Johnson cheered loudly as he walked to the podium.
During his speech, there was an audible boo from the crowd gathered nearby.
Big mistake that brought down PM
The wave of layoffs was sparked by news that Mr Johnson had accepted responsibility for promoting Chris Pincher to the position of deputy head whip, despite knowing he was dealing with groping accusations.
The prime minister had been made aware of the claims as early as 2019 – and is said to have even commented “Pincher by name, pincher by nature” – but still gave him the key job.
“I think it was a mistake and I apologize for that. In hindsight it was the wrong thing to do,” Johnson said.
“I apologize to everyone who has been badly affected by it. I want to make it absolutely clear that in this government there is no place for anyone who is predatory or abusive of their position of power.”
The prime minister’s televised apologies were not enough as Mr Javid and Mr Sunak delivered their resignation letters when the interview aired.
Mr. Javid publicly questioned Mr Johnson’s competence, while Mr. Sunak – who has long harbored leadership ambitions – suggested the government was not being “well, skillfully and seriously”.
Then followed a succession of deputy ministers who quit, with one even declaring that he had lost faith in the prime minister on live TV.
Mr Johnson fought on and appointed a new chancellor and health minister late Tuesday night, but the writing was on the wall.
The prime minister’s questions turned into a farce on Wednesday as he vowed to “keep going” in the work, sparking a chorus of laughter from the opposition, as well as from some on his own benches.
But in the end his government completely imploded with 55 resignations and deputy ministers refusing to fill the vacant posts
Boris calls the queen
This morning, he gave the Queen a “polite phone call” to let her know that he intended to stop. He doesn’t have to go to the palace before actually resigning.
A leadership contest will now take place between Conservative MPs to decide who will take over as Prime Minister.
British media previously reported that Mr Johnson plans to stay on if… a caregiver until October, after which he will perform an “orderly transfer”.
But some Tory MPs say they want him gone sooner, and that Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab should take over until a new Conservative leader is elected.
Labor Party leader Keir Starmer said: the BBC that Mr Johnson “must go, he can’t cling like this”.
“His own party has finally concluded that he is unfit to be prime minister – they can’t bring him to the country for the next few months,” he said.
Starmer said that if the Conservatives don’t get rid of Johnson, “Labour will step up and bring a vote of no confidence because we can’t go on with the Prime Minister holding on for months and months.”
Nicola Sturgeon, Prime Minister of Scotland and Leader of the Scottish National Party, hit too the idea that Mr Johnson will stay.
“There will be a widespread sense of relief that the chaos of recent days (months indeed) is coming to an end, although the idea of Boris Johnson staying on as prime minister until the fall is far from ideal, and certainly not sustainable?” she wrote on Twitter.
The death knell for Mr Johnson sounded Tuesday night when his right-hand man Rishi Sunak, the finance minister, resigned – just minutes after Health Minister Sajid Javid also resigned.
Their letter bombs sparked an avalanche of other ministers’ resignations, leaving Mr Johnson – who was branded a “fat piglet” for his ability to slip out of a difficult situation – with little choice but to go.
The final straw came on Thursday morning when Nadhim Zahawi, Mr Sunak’s replacement as chancellor, also withdrew his support and called for the prime minister to resign.
It came after seven ministers resigned before breakfast, meaning the total number of resignations topped 50.
Prime Minister: This is not sustainable and it will only get worse: for you, for the Conservative Party and especially for the whole country. You have to do the right thing and go now,” he wrote.
Will Walden, a former spokesperson for Johnson, described the situation as a “total farce” and said his resignation from the senior minister Michael Gove on Wednesday for telling the Prime Minister to resign was “pathetic”.
“What a farce,” Mr Walden told Sky News UK.
“To be carried away kicking and screaming, as he is, is a disgrace. It’s self-inflicted. He made mistakes all the time and it eventually cost him.”
Mr Walden said his former boss would be remembered as a prime minister who “fundamentally did not listen”.
The latest scandal that befell Mr Johnson was just another in a long list of problems he has overcome since his landslide election victory in 2019.
He became the first prime minister to have committed a crime while in office earlier this year, as he was fined for attending a party in Downing Street during the lockdown.
He repeatedly insisted that he had not attended such gatherings, but was found by the Metropolitan Police to have attended a surprise birthday party organized in his honor by his wife Carrie.
Photos later emerged of Mr Johnson holding a glass of bubbly at another raucous party, while the rules – set by the Prime Minister himself – only allowed two people from different households to meet indoors.
Although he didn’t attend all the Downing Street parties during the lockdown, Mr Johnson eventually accepted responsibility for all of them – and was forced to apologize to cleaners who were abused by party goers and were forced to clean up their vomit after a reveler had become so drunk they were ill.
Voters, enraged by the prime minister’s antics, dropped Conservatives in large numbers in two key midterm elections last month, prompting Johnson’s own MPs to table a vote of no confidence in his leadership.
The Prime Minister won the vote 211–148, but the damage was well done.
Aside from Partygate, Mr Johnson was also recently accused of offering his wife Carrie – then his lover – a plum job in the State Department for a substantial salary while he was Secretary of State.
This followed accusations of sleaze, an intriguing relationship with an American tech entrepreneur while he was mayor of London, and questions about who coughed up the money to decorate his Downing Street flat with gaudy wallpaper.
Who will be the next prime minister?
Despite Boris quitting, there will be no general election.
The Conservative Party will now vote to appoint a new leader, which could take several weeks.
The party’s new leader will then meet with the Queen to be appointed Prime Minister.
It remains to be seen who will walk, but some MPs have made it clear that they will be throwing their hats in the ring.
outgoing chancellor Rishi Sunak has made no secret of his leadership ambitions and is likely to run for the top job, but his lack of experience in cabinet (he didn’t become chancellor until 2020) could be his downfall.
Revelations earlier this year that his billionaire heiress wife Akshata Murthy had dodged up to £20 million ($35 million) in taxes also didn’t do him any favors with the public.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Liz Truss is popular among members of the Conservative Party, but her performance on the world stage was somewhat lackluster, prompting her to be mocked by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab filled in as Prime Minister when Mr Johnson battled Covid for his life in hospital. He is seen as a safe pair of hands, but some members feel he lacks the charisma to lead the party to electoral victory.
No-nonsense Minister of Defense Ben Wallace has impressed with his handling of the crisis in Ukraine and deliberately avoided getting involved in the latest furore, labeling the storm as “party games”.
Former Minister of Health Jeremy Hunt took part in the last leadership elections in 2019 and seemed to suggest he was keen to move in a different direction lately, although he has little influence over the party’s more right-wing faction.
Commercial Secretary Penny Mordaunt has remained remarkably quiet in recent days, drastically diminishing her chances of becoming the next leader as bookmakers predict she could consider a run.
— with The Sun
Originally published as Boris Johnson steps down as British Prime Minister