UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigns as Tory leader
Boris Johnson announced his resignation as leader of the UK’s Conservative Party on Thursday. He leaves amid several high-profile scandals, and following a wave of resignations of senior cabinet members. Johnson will remain acting head of the government until a new person is selected for the job.
Johnson said that shortly before his speech, he appointed new cabinet members to replace those who refused to have him as their boss this week.
The long list of high-ranking officials who have recently left the government, dissatisfied with Johnson, includes Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid. Johnson fired Leveling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary Michael Gove on Wednesday, who, according to UK media, urged the PM to step down.
Johnson capped his short address by expressing gratitude to his wife and family for enduring the hard times. He also thanked cabinet members who stood by him, and the British voters who entrusted him with the leadership of the country.
Despite surviving a no-confidence vote in Parliament last month, Johnson and his cabinet have been increasingly embroiled in a number of controversies. In May, an internal inquiry confirmed that government officials had routinely flouted Covid-19 social distancing rules, and several of them, including Johnson himself, were fined.
On Tuesday, Johnson admitted that he made a “bad mistake” by appointing Chris Pincher as deputy chief whip, an official tasked with marshaling government procedures. Pincher resigned from his post late last week following allegations of sexual misconduct.
Johnson was elected party leader three years ago, months after his predecessor, Theresa May, resigned amid pressure over her Brexit policies. After taking over as prime minister in July 2019, he called a snap election and won a mandate to lead the country in December. His promise to decisively bring the country out of the EU was the cornerstone of his campaign.