Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Going, going, gone: Boris Johnson resigns

Boris Johnson resigned on Thursday as leader of Britain’s Conservative party, paving the way for the selection of a new Prime Minister after dozens of ministers quit his scandal-hit government.

“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,” Mr Johnson said outside 10 Downing Street.

Mr 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 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.

Boris Johnson faces a parliamentary probe into whether he lied to MPs about “Partygate” revelations.

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.

In the frenzied hours building up to Johnson’s announcement, opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer had welcomed his impending departure.

But Starmer said “a proper change of government” was needed and demanded a no-confidence vote in parliament, potentially triggering a general election, rather than Mr Johnson “clinging on for months and months”.

Even while eyeing the exit, Mr Johnson on Thursday sought to steady the ship with several appointments to replace the departed cabinet members.

They included Greg Clark, an arch “remainer” opposed to Britain’s divorce from the European Union, which Johnson had championed.

Johnson had been clinging on to power despite a wave of more than 50 government resignations, expressing defiance late Wednesday.

But Thursday’s departure of Education Minister Michelle Donelan and a plea to quit from Finance Minister Nadhim Zahawi, only in their jobs for two days, appeared to tip the balance along with warnings of a new no-confidence vote by Tory MPs.

Defence minister Ben Wallace and Rishi Sunak, whose departure as Finance Minister on Tuesday sparked the exodus, were among the early frontrunners to succeed Mr Johnson, according to a YouGov survey of Conservative party members.

Those members will decide the new leader once Tory MPs have whittled down the contenders to a final two.

Cries of “bye, Boris” echoed around the chamber at the end of his speech.

“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,” Mr Johnson said outside 10 Downing Street.

Mr 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 pandemic and non-stop controversy over his reputation for mendacity.

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

Boris Johnson faces a parliamentary probe into whether he lied to MPs about “Partygate” revelations.

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.

In the frenzied hours building up to Johnson’s announcement, opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer had welcomed his impending departure.

But Starmer said “a proper change of government” was needed and demanded a no-confidence vote in parliament, potentially triggering a general election, rather than Mr Johnson “clinging on for months and months”.

Even while eyeing the exit, Mr Johnson on Thursday sought to steady the ship with several appointments to replace the departed cabinet members.

They included Greg Clark, an arch “remainer” opposed to Britain’s divorce from the European Union, which Johnson had championed.

Johnson had been clinging on to power despite a wave of more than 50 government resignations, expressing defiance late Wednesday.

But Thursday’s departure of Education Minister Michelle Donelan and a plea to quit from Finance Minister Nadhim Zahawi, only in their jobs for two days, appeared to tip the balance along with warnings of a new no-confidence vote by Tory MPs.

Defence minister Ben Wallace and Rishi Sunak, whose departure as Finance Minister on Tuesday sparked the exodus, were among the early frontrunners to succeed Mr Johnson, according to a YouGov survey of Conservative party members.

Those members will decide the new leader once Tory MPs have whittled down the contenders to a final two.

Cries of “bye, Boris” echoed around the chamber at the end of his speech.

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