London — Thursday, Scandal-ridden Boris Johnson announced he would quit (resigns) as British prime minister after his ministers abandoned him along with most of his Conservative lawmakers.
An isolated and powerless Johnson accepted the inevitable as more than 50 ministers quit, and lawmakers said he must go. Johnson spoke outside his Downing Street residence to confirm he would step down (resigns).
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Johnson said, “And today, I have appointed a cabinet to serve, as I will until a new leader is in place.”
“The process of choosing the new leader should begin now.”
After battling for days, the scandal-plagued Johnson was deserted by all but a handful of allies. The latest in a series of scandals ruined any willingness to support him.
The Conservatives will now elect a new leader, which could take weeks or months.
A snap YouGov poll says that defense minister Ben Wallace is the favorite among Conservative Party members to replace Johnson. Followed by Penny Mordaunt, the junior trade minister, and Rishi Sunak, former finance minister.
Critics say he should immediately hand over the government to his deputy, Dominic Raab. Insisting he had lost the trust of his party.
Keir Starmer, the main opposition Labour Party leader, announced calling a parliamentary confidence vote if the Conservatives did not remove Johnson immediately.
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He said, “Labour will step up in the national interest and bring a vote of no confidence if they don’t get rid of him.”
The crisis has come as Britons face the tightest financial squeeze in decades. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought in soaring inflation, and the economy is forecast to be the weakest among major nations in 2023.
Turbulence in support for Johnson evaporated as finance minister Nadhim Zahawi, appointed to his post on Tuesday, called on his boss to resign.
Initially, Johnson seemed set to dig in. Johnson sacked Michael Gove in a bid to reassert his authority. Michael Gove was a top member of his ministerial team and one of the first to tell him he needed to resign.
However, Thursday morning saw a slew of resignations pour in; it became clear his position was tenable no longer.
Some of the ministers that remained in post, including Ben Wallace, the defense minister, said they were doing so only because of the obligation to keep the country safe.
The multiple ministerial resignations paralyzed the government. Still, despite the impending departure, Johnson began appointing ministers to vacant posts.
Johnson formed his government nearly three years ago with the promise to deliver Brexit and rescue Briton from the bitter wrangling that followed the 2016 referendum.
Since then, some Conservatives had enthusiastically backed the former journalist and London mayor, while others, despite reservations, supported him because he was able to appeal to parts of the electorate that usually rejected their party.
However, his administration’s combative and often chaotic approach to governing and a series of scandals exhausted the goodwill of many of his lawmakers. At the same time, opinion polls show he is no longer popular with the public.
The latest crisis erupted after lawmaker Chris Pincher resigned over accusations he groped men in a private member’s club.
Johnson apologized after it emerged that he knew Pincher had been the subject of previous sexual misconduct complaints before he appointed him. The prime minister said he had forgotten.
Months of scandals and missteps followed, including a damning report into boozy parties at the Prime Minister’s Downing Street residence and infringing COVID-19 lockdown rules that saw him fined by police over a gathering for his 56th birthday.
There have also been policy U-turns and criticism that he has not done enough to control inflation. Many Britons are struggling to cope with rising food and fuel prices.