Under the UK political system, between elections, only Conservative MPs have the right to remove an incumbent Conservative prime minister.
So what happens to the UK government when the prime minister resigns, and how is a new leader chosen?
In a statement, Johnson said he would not leave office immediately, but would wait until a successor was chosen.
“Today I have appointed a cabinet that will remain in place until a new leader emerges,” he said.
Johnson said a timeline for the process would be announced next week, but there was speculation that he could remain in office until the Conservative Party conference in October.
Former British Prime Minister Sir John Major said it would be “unwise and unsustainable” for Johnson to remain in office for an extended period of time until a new Conservative leader is chosen.
“The proposal that the prime minister should remain in office – for up to three months – after losing the support of his cabinet, his government and his parliamentary party, is unwise and could be unsustainable,” Major wrote in a letter to the chairman of the 1922 Conservative Supporters Committee. of the year, Graham Brady.
And Dominic Cummings, who was Johnson’s most senior adviser before becoming an outspoken critic of the prime minister, warned him against letting him stay in office.
“We’re all in for a nightmare if he’s allowed to squat,” Cummings said.
Recent precedent shows that the time it takes to select a new leader can vary.
After Theresa May resigned on May 24, 2019, Boris Johnson only took office on July 24, but when David Cameron stepped down on June 24, 2016, it only took May a few weeks to take office on July 13.
Who will be prime minister while all this is going on?
As Johnson indicated in his resignation speech, he plans to remain in office until a successor is chosen.
This is what would happen under normal circumstances: a prime minister who resigns as party leader remains acting prime minister until a new party leader emerges.
But it’s unclear if the Conservative Party will support this in Johnson’s case.
One option could be Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, acting caretaker. There is no precedent for this, but there is also no precedent for more than 50 government officials to resign in two days to oust a prime minister.
Will Johnson’s resignation lead to a general election?
No. He starts the process of the Conservative Party to choose a new leader of the party.
British Prime Ministers are not directly elected by the people; Johnson is prime minister because he is the head of the largest party in the House of Commons.
The Conservatives will still be the largest party after Johnson leaves, so the new head of the party will become Prime Minister.
How is the new leader of the Conservative Party chosen?
Candidates for leadership need the support of at least eight deputies.
If there are more than two candidates, Conservative Party lawmakers hold round after round of voting to reduce the number of leadership candidates to two.
Members of the Conservative Party across the country then vote by mail between the two finalists.
The winner becomes party leader – and prime minister.