Boris Johnson resigns as UK PM, says 'sad to give up world's best job'

Updated on Jul 07, 2022 05:56 PM IST
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned after the latest ethics scandal around his leadership led some 50 senior lawmakers to quit the government.
Outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson(AP file)
Outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson(AP file)
By | Edited by Aniruddha Dhar

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson finally succumbed to political reality Thursday and said he was sad to announce his resignation as Conservative Party leader, triggering a leadership election for a new Tory leader who will go on to become the new PM.

He said he will continue in office until a new Conservative leader is in place.

"The process of choosing a new leader should begin now. And today I have appointed a cabinet to serve, as I will until a new leader is in place," Johnson said outside 10 Downing Street.

"It is clearly the will of the parliamentary Conservative party that there should be a new leader of that party, and therefore a new prime minister," Johnson said.

Johnson, 58, announced that he would step down after a slew of resignations from his top team in protest at his leadership but would stay on as prime minister until a replacement is found.

The timetable for a Tory leadership race will be announced next week, he said, after three tumultuous years in office defined by Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic and non-stop controversy over his reputation for mendacity.

The leadership election will take place over the summer and the victor will replace Johnson by the party's annual conference in early October, the BBC and others reported.

He said he was "sad... to be giving up the best job in the world" and justified fighting on in the final hours to deliver the mandate he won in a general election in December 2019.

After days of battling for his job, the scandal-plagued Johnson had been deserted by all but a handful of allies after the latest in a series of scandals broke their willingness to support him.

"His resignation was inevitable," Justin Tomlinson, deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, said on Twitter. "As a party we must quickly unite and focus on what matters. These are serious times on many fronts."

The Conservatives will now have to elect a new leader, a process which could take weeks or months.

A snap YouGov poll found that defence minister Ben Wallace was the favourite among Conservative Party members to replace Johnson, followed by junior trade minister Penny Mordaunt and former finance minister Rishi Sunak.

Also Read | UK 'PM' Rishi Sunak? 5 things to know about Boris Johnson's potential successor

Many said he should leave immediately and hand over to his deputy, Dominic Raab, saying he had lost the trust of his party.

Keir Starmer, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said he would call a parliamentary confidence vote if the Conservatives did not remove Johnson at once.

"If they don't get rid of him, then Labour will step up in the national interest and bring a vote of no confidence because we can't go on with this prime minister clinging on for months and months to come," he said.

The crisis comes as Britons are facing the tightest squeeze on their finances in decades, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, with soaring inflation, and the economy forecast to be the weakest among major nations in 2023 apart from Russia.

(With inputs from agencies)

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