Boris Johnson Steps Down as U.K. Prime Minister Following Flood of Resignations
Boris Johnson has resigned as prime minister of the United Kingdom. The British leader was ousted from the post after more than 50 members of his Conservative government resigned this week.
The resignation comes only weeks after the Prime Minister survived a confidence vote by Tory MPs after winning the support of 211 MPs.
“It is clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative party that there should be a new leader of that party and so a new prime minister,” Johnson confirmed in a speech at London’s 10 Downing Street today.
He went on to list many of his accomplishments, including Brexit, the vaccine program, and his support of the Ukraine during the current war with Russia. “The reason I have fought so hard over the last few days to continue to deliver that mandate in person was not just because I wanted to do so, but because I felt it was my job, my duty, and my obligation to you,” Johnson said.
Johnson has been dogged repeatedly by controversies in recent months, including the so-called Partygate and the revelation that he had knowledge of MP Chris Pincher’s sexual assault allegations when he appointed Pincher Government Deputy Chief Whip. Over the course of the week, numerous members of Johnson’s cabinet and the Tory government have resigned, with many saying, “enough is enough.”
Opposition leader Keir Starmer, head of the Labour party, responded in a statement on Twitter noting that Johnson’s departure is “good news for the country.”
“The Conservatives have overseen 12 years of economic stagnation, declining public services and empty promises,” Starmer said. “We don’t need to change the Tory at the top — we need a proper change of government. We need a fresh start for Britain.”
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, added in a series of tweets, “Boris Johnson was always manifestly unfit to be PM and the Tories should never have elected him leader or sustained him in office for as long as they have. But the problems run much deeper than one individual. The Westminster system is broken.”
Initially, Johnson was expected to stay on as prime minister through the summer as the Conservative leadership contest takes place to select the next party leader. However, many Tory MPs, as well as the opposition governments, are calling for him to leave now. During his speech, Johnson affirmed that he plans to serve “until a new leader is in place.”
Former members of Johnson’s own cabinet, including Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid, are expected to stand in the next Tory leadership contest. A new prime minister will be in office in time for the party conference in October, according to the BBC.
Formerly the mayor of London, Johnson was elected as the Tory party leader — and therefore prime minister — on July 23, 2019, replacing former PM Theresa May, who was also ousted by the Tories. He campaigned under the mandate of “get Brexit done.”
“And to you, the British public, I know that there will be many people who are relieved and perhaps quite a few who will also be disappointed,” Johnson said in his resignation speech. “And I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world. But thems the breaks.”