Boris Johnson has announced that he will step down as leader of the Conservative Party, but will remain acting prime minister until a new successor is appointed.
Mr Johnson said it was “painful” for him to step down as Tory leader, calling it “the best job in the world”, but he had to act appropriately in the interests of his party.
“It is now clear that the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party is that there is a new leader of this party and therefore a new prime minister,” Mr Johnson said in a media address in front of 10 Downing Street.
“I want you to know how sad I am to give up the best job in the world, but these are all breaks,” he said.
He said the schedule for choosing a new leader would be announced next week.
An hour before the announcement of his resignation, Johnson appointed several new Cabinet members who would serve as he did “until a new leader comes to power.”
To loud applause, Johnson said he tried to convince his colleagues that “it would be eccentric to change governments” while in office during a mandate and in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis and Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“I regret not being successful in these arguments,” he said.
“As we saw in Westminster, the herd instinct is strong and when the herd moves, it moves. And, my friends, in politics there is no one even remotely indispensable.
“Our brilliant and Darwinian system will create another leader just as committed to leading this country forward through difficult times.
“Even if things may seem bleak right now, our future together is golden.”
Politicians and staff British Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses the nation on his resignation as leader of the Conservatives. Source: Getty / Leon Neil
On the eve of his resignation, Labor opposition leader Keir Starmer called it “good news” that Mr Johnson was about to step down, but said a “proper change of government” was needed.
mr johnson clung to power despite a wave of resignations from over 50 governments, abandoned by all but a handful of allies.
It was a far cry from when the 58-year-old Johnson took office in 2019, when he received an overwhelming majority, gaining votes in parts of the UK that had never before supported his Conservative Party.
Even his chancellor, Nadhim Zahavi, who was appointed to his post only on Wednesday, called on his boss to step down.
“This is unsustainable and will only get worse: for you, for the Conservative Party and, most importantly, for the entire country,” he wrote on Twitter.
“You must do the right thing and leave now.”
With AFP and Reuters