Boris Johnson resigned as leader of Britain’s Conservative Party on Thursday, paving the way for the election of a new prime minister after dozens of ministers walked out of his scandal-ridden government.
“It’s clear 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 outside 10 Downing Street.
Johnson, 58, announced he was stepping down after a will see a series of resignations from his top team in protest at his leadership but would remain prime minister until a replacement is found.
The schedule for a Tory leadership race will be announced next week, he said, after a tumultuous three Years in office marred by Brexit, the Covid pandemic and the relentless controversy over his reputation for mendacity.
The leadership election takes place in the summer and you ger will replace Johnson until the party’s annual conference in early October, the BBC and others reported.
He said he was “sad… to leave the best job in the world” and justified the fight in the last few hours, to fill the mandate he won in the December 2019 general election.
In the frantic hours leading up to Johnson’s announcement, opposition Labor Party leader Keir Starmer had welcomed his imminent departure.
But Starmer said that “a real change of government” was needed, and called for a vote of no confidence in Parliament that could potentially trigger a general election, rather than Johnson “hanging on to it for months”.
Although eyeing the exit, Johnson on Thursday attempted to stabilize the ship with several appointments to replace the departing cabinet members.
They included Greg Clark, an arch “remnant” who opposed the separation of Great Britain itanniens from the European Union, which Johnson had championed.
Johnson had remained in power despite a wave of more than 50 government resignations, an expression of defiance late Wednesday.
But Thursday’s departure of Education Secretary Michelle Donelan and a plea for the resignation of Finance Minister Nadhim Zahawi, who had only been in office for two days, seemed to have the tipping point, along with warnings of another no-confidence vote by Tory MPs.
< p>Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and Rishi Sunak, whose departure as Treasury Secretary sparked the exodus on Tuesday, were among the top candidates to succeed Johnson, according to a YouGov poll of Conservative Party members.
These members will decide on the new leader once Tory MPs have narrowed the contenders down to the last two.
Northern Ireland Minister Brandon Lewis led the frenetic events on the Don On Thursday, became the fourth Cabinet minister to resign, writing that Johnson is “past the point of no return”.
Johnson defiantly responded to calls from his loyalists and cabinet colleagues late Wednesday to step down by dismissing Minister Michael Gove, with a Downing Street source telling the media his former top Brexit ally is a “snake”. .
The Sun newspaper said Johnson had told colleagues they would have to “dip [their] hands in blood” to oust him, but Thursday’s events forced him to do so.
The shocked resignations of Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid late Tuesday sparked a string of others.
They resigned after Johnson contested his appointment of senior Conservative MP Chris Pincher as Deputy Chief Whip in February had apologized.
Pincher was forced to resign after allegations he was drunk and groping two men.
Days of mixed explanations followed the resignation before Downing Street finally admitted Johnson had known about Pincher’s behavior since 2019
Tory critics said that the Pincher affair had many tipped over the edge, angry at having to defend what they saw as more lies from Johnson about his appointment of what Starmer called a “sexual predator” had to defend.
Johnson was confronted by members of his Cabinet on Wednesday as he returned to Downing Street from a long barbecue by a Parliamentary Co. mmitee.
The delegation is also said to have the uncompromising Home Secretary Priti Patel.
Attorney General Suella Braverman told ITV that while she would not be stepping down, “the balance has now tipped in favor of saying…it’s time to go”.< /p>
She was the first Tory to say she would stand up in a leadership contest but is an outsider, according to bookies.
A culture of scandal has dogged Johnson for months, including parties that broke the lockdown, at Downing Street.
The Prime Minister, who was fined by police over the ‘Partygate’ Covid lockdown affair, faces a Parliamentary inquiry into whether he lied to MPs about the revelations.
He narrowly survived a no-confidence vote by Conservative MPs a month ago, which would normally mean he could not be challenged for another year.
But the influential ‘Committee of 1922” of non-ministerial Tory MPs is reportedly trying to change the rules, with its executive committee planning to elect a Fres h list of members next week.
In parliament on Wednesday, Johnson promised to go ahead and passed insisted that the country needed a “stable government”.
But Javid turned to MPs and urged others to resign ministers.
“The problem starts at the top, and I believe , that’s not going to change,” he told a hushed House of Commons.
Shouts of “Bye, Boris,” echoed through the hall at the end of his speech.