Boris Johnson quits as UK prime minister, dragged down by scandals

Boris Johnson quits as UK prime minister, dragged down by scandals
  • Cupboard ministers resigned en masse, telling him to go
  • ‘Them’s the breaks’, Johnson says, blaming ‘herd intuition’
  • Goals to remain on til successor named, many need him out now
  • Combative, chaotic method to governing alienated many
  • Britain’s financial system slumping amid cost-of-living disaster

LONDON, July 7 (Reuters) – Scandal-ridden Boris Johnson introduced on Thursday he would give up as British prime minister after he dramatically misplaced the assist of his ministers and most Conservative lawmakers, however mentioned he would keep on till his successor was chosen.

Bowing to the inevitable as greater than 50 ministers give up and lawmakers mentioned he should go, an remoted and powerless Johnson mentioned it was clear his get together wished another person in cost, however that his pressured departure was “eccentric”.

“At present I’ve appointed a cupboard to serve, as I’ll, till a brand new chief is in place,” Johnson mentioned outdoors his Downing Road workplace the place his speech was watched by shut allies and his spouse Carrie.

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“I do know that there can be many people who find themselves relieved and maybe fairly just a few who may even be disenchanted. And I need you to know the way unhappy I’m to be giving up the perfect job on the planet. However them’s the breaks,” he added, making no apology for the occasions that pressured his announcement.

There have been cheers and applause as he started his speech, whereas boos rang out from some outdoors the gates of Downing Road.

After days of battling for his job, Johnson had been abandoned by all however a handful of his closest allies after the newest in a collection of scandals sapped their willingness to assist him.

“It was a brief and weird resignation speech which did not point out the phrase resign or resignation as soon as. There was no apology, no contrition,” Conservative lawmaker Andrew Bridgen mentioned. “There was no apology for the disaster his actions have put our authorities, our democracy, via.”

The Conservatives will now must elect a brand new chief, a course of which may take weeks or months, with particulars to be introduced subsequent week. read more

A snap YouGov ballot discovered that defence minister Ben Wallace was the favorite amongst Conservative Get together members to interchange Johnson, adopted by junior commerce minister Penny Mordaunt and former finance minister Rishi Sunak.

Whereas Johnson mentioned he would keep on, opponents and lots of in his personal get together mentioned he ought to go away instantly and hand over to his deputy, Dominic Raab. Former Conservative Prime Minister John Main mentioned it was “unwise and possibly unsustainable” for him to stay in workplace when he may nonetheless exert its powers.

“For the general wellbeing of the nation, Mr Johnson shouldn’t stay in Downing Road – when he’s unable to command the boldness of the Home of Commons – for any longer than essential to impact the sleek transition of presidency,” Main mentioned in a letter launched to media.

Keir Starmer, chief of the primary opposition Labour Get together, mentioned he would name a parliamentary confidence vote if the Conservatives didn’t take away Johnson directly. read more


The disaster comes as Britons are dealing with the tightest squeeze on their funds in a long time, within the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with hovering inflation, and the financial system forecast to be the weakest amongst main nations in 2023 other than Russia.

It additionally follows years of inner division sparked by the slender 2016 vote to go away the European Union, and threats to the make-up of the UK itself with calls for for an additional Scottish independence referendum, the second in a decade.

Assist for Johnson had evaporated throughout one of the vital turbulent 24 hours in current British political historical past, epitomised by finance minister, Nadhim Zahawi, who was solely appointed to his submit on Tuesday, calling on his boss to resign.

Zahawi and different cupboard ministers went to Downing Road on Wednesday night, together with a senior consultant of these lawmakers not in authorities, to inform Johnson the sport was up.

Initially, Johnson refused to go and appeared set to dig in, sacking Michael Gove – a member of his prime ministerial workforce who was one of many first to inform him he wanted to resign – in a bid to reassert his authority.

However by Thursday morning as a slew of resignations poured in – together with that of Michelle Donelan who he’d solely appointed training secretary on Tuesday night time – it turned clear his place was untenable.

“You have to do the appropriate factor and go now,” Zahawi tweeted.

A few of people who remained in submit, together with Wallace, had mentioned they had been solely doing so as a result of that they had an obligation to maintain the nation protected.

As soon as it was clear he was standing down, Johnson started appointing ministers to vacant posts.

“It’s our obligation now to ensure the individuals of this nation have a functioning authorities,” Michael Ellis, a minister within the Cupboard Workplace division which oversees the working of presidency, informed parliament.


The ebullient Johnson got here to energy practically three years in the past, promising to ship Brexit and rescue it from the bitter wrangling that adopted the 2016 referendum. He shrugged off issues from some that his narcissism, failure to cope with particulars, and a fame for deceit meant he was unsuitable.

Some Conservatives enthusiastically backed the previous journalist and London mayor, whereas others, regardless of reservations, supported him as a result of he was capable of attraction to components of the voters that often rejected their get together.

That was borne out within the December 2019 election. However his administration’s combative and infrequently chaotic method to governing and a collection of scandals exhausted the goodwill of lots of his lawmakers whereas opinion polls present he’s now not well-liked with the general public at giant.

The current disaster erupted after lawmaker Chris Pincher, who held a authorities function concerned in pastoral care, was pressured to give up over accusations he groped males in a personal member’s membership.

Johnson needed to apologise after it emerged that he was briefed that Pincher had been the topic of earlier sexual misconduct complaints earlier than he appointed him. The prime minister mentioned he had forgotten.

This adopted months of scandals and missteps, together with a damning report into boozy events at his Downing Road residence and workplace that broke COVID-19 lockdown guidelines and noticed him fined by police over a gathering for his 56th birthday.

There have additionally been coverage U-turns, an ill-fated defence of a lawmaker who broke lobbying guidelines, and criticism that he has not finished sufficient to sort out the cost-of-living disaster, with many Britons struggling to deal with rising gasoline and meals costs.

In his resignation speech, Johnson highlighted his successes – from finishing Brexit to overseeing the quickest COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Europe. However he mentioned his makes an attempt to steer colleagues that altering chief whereas there was struggle in Ukraine and the federal government was delivering on its agenda had failed.

“I remorse to not have been profitable in these arguments. And naturally, it is painful not to have the ability to see via so many concepts and tasks myself,” he mentioned.

“However as we have seen at Westminster, the herd intuition is highly effective – when the herd strikes, it strikes and, my associates, in politics nobody is remotely indispensable.”

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Extra reporting by William James, Kylie MacLellan, Andrew MacAskill, Alistair Smout, William Schomberg, Muvija M, Farouq Suleiman and Sachin Ravikumar; Writing by Michael Holden and Elizabeth Piper; Enhancing by Kate Holton, Frank Jack Daniel, Toby Chopra and Mark Heinrich

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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