UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced his resignation as Conservative party leader following a wave of government resignations.
“It is clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative party that there should be a new leader of that party and therefore a new prime minister,” he said on Thursday.
“I’d agreed with Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of our backbench MPs, that the process of choosing that new leader should begin now. And the timetable will be announced next week.”
“So I want to say to the millions of people who voted for us in 2019, many of them voted Conservative, for the first time. Thank you for that incredible mandate. The biggest Conservative majority, since 1987,” he added.
Boris Johnson says he has appointed new Cabinet while he remains as UK prime minister until a successor is chosen.
“The process of choosing that new leader should begin now,” Johnson said at the door of Number 10 Downing Street.
“And today I have appointed a cabinet to serve, as I will, until a new leader is in place.”
Boris Johnson says ‘painful’ not to see term through
Johnson said it was “painful” for him not to see his term through, adding he regrets he not being successful in convincing his party to continue to support him, calling the party’s “herd instinct” was powerful.
He did not apologise for his conduct in office. He said he has appointed a new Cabinet while he remains as UK prime minister until a successor is chosen, adding a timetable for his departure would be announced next week.
“I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world,” he said.
Boris Johnson’s scandals since taking office
The scandal involving Pincher is only the latest Johnson has faced since taking office.
They include “Partygate”, which refers to a scandal over parties held in government, including in Johnson’s own Downing Street office, during strict COVID-19 lockdown rules. Johnson was fined for attending a birthday party and apologised to the Queen, who sat alone during her husband, Prince Philip’s funeral, per the restrictions at the time.
Johnson also faced a probe following the refurbishment of Johnson’s Downing Street flat, which was led by a celebrity designer and including gold wallpaper. Britain’s electoral commission later fined the Conservatives 17,800 pounds for failing to accurately report a donation to pay for it.
Johnson’s ethics adviser criticised him for failing to disclose some messages exchanged with the donor, but concluded that Johnson had not intentionally lied.
How does the process to pick new prime minister work?
- Candidates putting themselves forward for the leadership must be nominated by two other Conservative MPs.
- Conservatives then hold several rounds of votes to whittle down the field. Each time they are asked to vote for their chosen candidate in a secret ballot. The person with the fewest votes is eliminated.
- This process is repeated until two candidates remain. Votes previously have been held every Tuesday and Thursday but Parliament is due to break for its six-week summer recess on July 21. This means the process may have to be accelerated.
- The final two candidates are then put to a mail ballot of the wider Conservative Party membership, with the winner named the new leader.
- The leader of the party with a majority in the House of Commons is the de facto prime minister. While he or she does not have to call a snap election, they have the power to do so.