Boris Johnson has, today, stepped down as Prime Minister. It comes after a number of Tory members of parliament resigned this week, including cabinet members Rishi Sunak (Chancellor of State) and Sajid Javid (Secretary of State for Health and Social Care).
Both cabinet members, along with the majority of the Tory party, resigned after it was revealed that the Prime Minister allowed Chris Pincher to remain in government and promoted him to deputy chief whip even after being made aware of his inappropriate conduct. Last week, Pincher was accused of groping two men in a London private member’s club, to which is it believed that Johnson replied with, “once a Pincher, always a pincher”.
The first to tender their resignation was Sajid Javid and while the Chris Pincher situation was a factor in his departure, his resignation letter goes into further detail as to why he could not continue working under Mr Johnson. Javid cited a lack of confidence in Johnson, writing, “we [conservatives] may not have always been popular, but we have been competent in acting in the national interest. Sadly, in the current circumstances, the public are concluding that we are not either.” Adding, “the country needs a strong and principled Conservative Party, and the Party is bigger than any one individual”.
Similarly, Rishi Sunak, who is the most senior politician after the Prime Minister, wrote that “the public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously … I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning”.
Following the resignations of cabinet members, ministers and private secretaries, Boris Johnson was left with no other option other than to also resign. Mr Johnson stood behind a lectern this afternoon in front of Number 10 and delivered his resignation speech while his wife Carrie looked on. The Prime Minister began by reluctantly agreeing to new leadership and thanking people across the country for voting for the Conservative party back in 2019. He then continued to reminisce on his successes as a Prime Minister, including guiding the country through the COVID-19 pandemic, delivering the vaccine rollout, and getting a Brexit deal. Johnson even spoke out about those who have recently turned against him, reading that “in the last few days I have tried to persuade my colleagues that it would be eccentric to change governments when we’re delivering so much … but as we’ve seen, at Westminster the herd instinct is powerful and when the herd moves, it moves, and, my friends in politics, no one is remotely indispensable”. Finally, the Prime Minister ended by thanking the British public and revealing that he is “sad to be giving up the best job in the world”.
Although Boris Johnson has formally resigned as Prime Minister, he will stay in office until the Autumn when a new Prime Minister is found. This is standard procedure when a PM resigns or leaves office and is what happened when both Theresa May and David Cameron resigned.
According to the BBC, the process of replacing Mr Johnson could last until October, which has not gone down positively with other MP’s including Former Conservative Prime Minister, Sir John Major. Surprisingly, Mr Johnson agrees with this sentiment and in his resignation speech said “I agree that the new leader should begin now and the timetable will be announced next week”.
As of right now, there is not a stand-out successor for Mr Johnson, however, there are lots of MP’s who will be putting themselves forward including Lizz Truss, Rishi Sunak, Ben Wallace and Nadhim Zahawi.
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