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British PM Boris Johnson to resign, but stay on until new leader is chosen

Boris Johnson said on Thursday he was resigning as Britain’s prime minister but will stay on until his Conservative Party chooses a new leader. 

Johnson gives in after more than 50 ministers quit government.

Boris Johnson said on Thursday he was resigning as Britain’s prime minister, bowing to calls from ministerial colleagues and lawmakers in his Conservative Party.

After more than 50 ministers quit and lawmakers said he must go, an isolated and powerless Johnson spoke outside 10 Downing Street and confirmed he would resign.

“The process of choosing that new leader should begin now. And today I have appointed a cabinet to serve, as I will until a new leader is in place,” Johnson said.

The Conservatives will now have to elect a new leader, a process which could take weeks or months.

Johnson admitted it was “painful” not to carry on the work of his government well into the future, with his resignation announcement coming just over two and a half years after he won a resounding victory in a late 2019 election.

“My friends, in politics, no one is remotely indispensable,” he said.

Labour leader says Johnson shouldn’t dally

Keir Starmer, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said before the announcement he would call a parliamentary confidence vote if the Conservatives did not remove Johnson at once.

“If they don’t get rid of him, then Labour will step up in the national interest and bring a vote of no confidence because we can’t go on with this prime minister clinging on for months and months to come,” he said.

Boris Johnson is unfit to govern and he needs to go now.<br><br>He cannot cling on for months.<br><br>If the Conservative party do not get rid of him, then Labour will act in the national interest and bring a vote of no confidence.


It’s also not clear if the majority of his party will support his staying on for several more weeks.

After days of battling for his job, the scandal-plagued Johnson had been deserted by all but a handful of allies after the latest in a series of scandals broke their willingness to support him. Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Treasury chief Rishi Sunak resigned within minutes of each other Tuesday over the latest scandal, involving Conservative lawmaker Chris Pincher.

“His resignation was inevitable,” Justin Tomlinson, deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, said on Twitter. “As a party we must quickly unite and focus on what matters. These are serious times on many fronts.”

The crisis comes as Britons are facing the tightest squeeze on their finances in decades, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with soaring inflation, and the economy forecast to be the weakest among major nations in 2023 apart from Russia.

It also follows years of internal division sparked by the narrow 2016 vote to leave the European Union, and threats to the make-up of the United Kingdom itself with demands for another Scottish independence referendum, the second in a decade.

Initially, Johnson refused to go and seemed set to dig in, sacking Michael Gove — a member of his top ministerial team who was one of the first to tell him he needed to resign — in a bid to reassert his authority.

Bylaw election losses

The recent crisis erupted after lawmaker Pincher, who held a government role involved in pastoral care, was forced to quit over accusations he groped men in a private member’s club.

Johnson had to apologize after it emerged that he was briefed that Pincher had been the subject of previous sexual misconduct complaints before he appointed him. The prime minister said he had forgotten.

This followed months of scandals and missteps, including a damning report into boozy parties at his Downing Street residence and office that broke COVID-19 lockdown rules and saw him fined by police over a gathering for his 56th birthday. Johnson was accused of lying about his knowledge of, and attendance at, the parties.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions at the House of Commons in London, Britain July 6, 2022.

There have also been policy U-turns, an ill-fated defence of a lawmaker who broke lobbying rules, and criticism that he has not done enough to tackle inflation as many Britons struggle to cope with rising fuel and food prices.

Johnson’s Conservatives have been hit by other scandals of lawmakers accused of sexual improprieties, including two that led to MPs Ahmad Khan and Neil Parish resigning. In both cases, the Conservatives lost special elections held last month to replace them.

Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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