British Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a statement at Downing Street in London, Britain, on July 7, 2022.
Henry Nicholls | Reuters
LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned Thursday, bringing a bitter end to a nearly three-year term plagued by controversy and scandal.
Speaking outside Downing Street, Johnson said the process to choose the new leader of the Conservative Party should start now, with a timetable to be announced next week.
He said he intends to stay in office until a new Tory leader is elected.
His decision to remain in office comes despite a clear lack of support within his own party and mounting pressure across the political spectrum for him to step down immediately.
Johnson said he was “sad to give up the best job in the world” but admitted that “no one is remotely indispensable” in politics.
Pound sterling it was trading 0.4% higher at 19 1.1979 shortly after Johnson’s announcement.
It comes as the wave of resignations from the government and Johnson’s party since Tuesday night. approached 60with one Conservative Party member after another publicly expressing their lack of confidence in the prime minister.
Finance Minister Nadhim Zahawi was the latest of Johnson’s allies to urge him to “leave now”, saying the unprecedented political crisis over his future was not sustainable and would “only get worse”.
Surprisingly, Zahawi’s call for Johnson to resign came just two days after the prime minister appointed him finance minister.
The relentless stream of resignations was fueled dramatically by Finance Minister Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid. The two high-profile ministers resigned within minutes of each other on Tuesday night following a dispute over Johnson’s decision to appoint Chris Pincher as deputy chief earlier this year.
Pincher resigned and was suspended as a Conservative Party MP last week following allegations that he groped two men while intoxicated at a private club. Since then, it has emerged that Johnson appointed him to the job despite knowing about previous allegations of misconduct against him.
Johnson apologized for appointing Pincher as deputy chief. Since then, he has repeatedly rejected calls to resign, saying he had a “colossal mandate” to carry on. However, by Thursday, Johnson bowed to political pressure over his future and announced that he would resign.
Johnson’s downfall ends his reputation as the “Teflon” prime minister. The 58-year-old former mayor of London had become known for his ability to wriggle out of political controversies.
Last month Johnson survived a vote of confidence provoked by his own parliamentarians amid growing dissatisfaction with his leadership. In the secret ballot of Conservative lawmakers, some 211 MPs voted for Johnson, while 148 voted against him.
Who are the main candidates to replace Johnson?
Johnson’s resignation means there will now be a leadership contest to determine who becomes the next Conservative leader and prime minister.
Individual candidates will need to secure the backing of Conservative MPs, with the final two going head-to-head in a vote of Conservative Party members.
Former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, former Health Minister Sajid Javid, former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, former Leveling Up Secretary Michael Gove, International Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt and Defense Minister Ben Wallace are among the leading candidates to run in a leadership election
Polling firm YouGov said a comparison of individual candidates showed Wallace was the clear favorite among Conservative Party members to be the party’s next leader.
– CNBC’s Holly Ellyatt contributed to this report.
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