August 17, 2022

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Boris Johnson bows to pressure and quits after days of turmoil

2 min read
Video: Boris Johnson’s resignation speech in front of No 10 Downing Street

Boris Johnson has announced his “painful” resignation but defied pressure to step down immediately as prime minister, insisting he would remain in office until a new Conservative party leader is chosen.

In an unapologetic address in front of No 10 Downing Street, after days of turmoil and mass resignations from his government, he accused his party of making an “eccentric” decision to ditch him.

But he said: “It is clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative party that there should be a new leader for the Conservative party and therefore a new prime minister.”

Johnson, one of the most controversial British leaders in modern times, said the timing of the leadership contest would be agreed next week, but a new prime minister is unlikely to be in place until September at the earliest.

However, many Conservatives, including a number of former ministers, believe Johnson should leave Downing Street immediately. “There’s no way I could serve under him in any circumstances,” said one.

Sir John Major, the former Conservative prime minister, said the proposal for Johnson to remain in office for up to three months was “unwise, and may be unsustainable”.

In a letter to the head of the 1922 committee of backbench Tory MPs, which oversees rules on leadership elections, he proposed two solutions: a new party leader could be elected quickly by MPs only, rather than party members, and installed as prime minister; or Johnson could resign as prime minister and leave his deputy Dominic Raab to serve in the role on an interim basis.

Allies of Raab confirmed that he would not stand in the party leadership contest, opening up the possibility of him serving as an interim prime minister.

An array of candidates to succeed Johnson are expected to confirm they are running in the coming days. There is no clear frontrunner.

Speaking from a lectern outside Number 10 and…

2022-07-07 09:44:45

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