BORIS Johnson has resigned as leader of Britain’s Conservative Party, paving the way for the selection of a new Prime Minister after dozens of ministers quit his scandal-hit government.
Announcing his resignation at 10 Downing Street he said 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, and when we have such a vast mandate, and when we’re actually only a handful of points behind in the polls, even in midterm after quite a few months of pretty relentless sledging, and when the economic scene is so difficult domestically and internationally. I regret not to have been successful in those arguments and of course it is painful not to be able to see through so many ideas and projects myself.”
He added that “It is clearly the will of the parliamentary Conservative party that there should be a new leader of that party, and therefore a new prime minister”.
Johnson, 58, announced that he would step down after a slew of resignations from his top team in protest at his leadership but would stay on as prime minister until a replacement is found.
The timetable for a Tory leadership race will be announced next week, he said, after three tumultuous years in office defined by Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic and non-stop controversy over his reputation for mendacity.
The leadership election will take place over the summer and the victor will replace Johnson by the party’s annual conference in early October.