Boris Johnson is set to announce his resignation as Britain’s Prime Minister on Thursday after being abandoned by ministers and lawmakers from his Conservative Party who said he was unfit to govern.
After eight ministers, including two foreign secretaries, resigned in the past two hours, an isolated and powerless Johnson was ready to bow to the inevitable and declare he would step down later Thursday, a source said.
His Downing Street office confirmed that Johnson would later make a statement to the country.
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After fighting for his job for days, Johnson had been abandoned by all but a handful of allies after the latest in a series of scandals shattered their willingness to back him.
“His resignation was inevitable,” Justin Tomlinson, vice leader of the Conservative Party, said on Twitter. “As a party, we need to band together quickly and focus on what’s important. These are serious times on many fronts.”
The Conservatives must now elect a new leader, a process that could take around two months. It was not clear if Johnson would or could remain in a caretaker role while the person who would be the new prime minister was selected.
“As well as stepping down as party leader, the prime minister must also leave office,” said Conservative lawmaker Nick Gibb. “Having lost so many ministers, he has lost the confidence and authority it takes to carry on.”
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Support for Johnson had evaporated during one of the most turbulent 24 hours in recent British political history, embodied by Finance Minister Nadhim Zahawi, who was only appointed to his post on Tuesday and called on his boss to resign.
Zahawi and other Cabinet ministers, along with a senior non-Government lawmaker, had gone to Downing Street on Wednesday night to tell Johnson the game was over.
Initially, Johnson refused to go and appeared ready to step in and sack Michael Gove – a member of his top ministerial team who was among the first to tell him he had to step down – to reassert his authority.
An ally had told the Sun newspaper that party rebels “would have to dip their hands in blood” to get rid of Johnson.
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But as a slew of resignations poured in on Thursday morning, it became clear his position was untenable.
“This is unsustainable and will only get worse: for you, for the Conservative Party and most importantly for the whole country,” Zahawi said on Twitter. “You have to do the right thing and go now.”
Some of those who remained in office, including Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace, said they were doing so only because they had a duty to protect the country.
There had been so many resignations of ministers that the government faced paralysis as no one was willing to fill the vacant posts.
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From popular to deserted
The ebullient Johnson came to power almost three years ago, pledging to deliver Britain’s exit from the European Union and save it from the bitter post-Brexit referendum dispute of 2016.
Since then, some Conservatives had enthusiastically supported the former journalist and London Mayor, while others supported him despite reservations because he was able to appeal to sections of the electorate that normally opposed their party.
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This was shown in the December 2019 election. But his government’s combative and often chaotic approach to governance and a series of scandals have drained the goodwill of many of his lawmakers, while opinion polls show he is no longer popular with the general public.
The latest crisis erupted after lawmaker Chris Pincher, who held a government chaplaincy role, was forced to quit amid allegations he groped men at a private member’s club.
Johnson was forced to apologize after it emerged that he had been informed that Pincher had been the subject of previous sexual misconduct complaints before appointing him. The Prime Minister said he forgot.
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This followed months of scandal and missteps, including a scathing report of boisterous parties at his Downing Street residence and office that broke strict COVID-19 lockdown rules and saw him arrested by police for attending a gathering to mark his 56th birthday fined.
There were also policy U-turns, an unfortunate defense of a lawmaker who broke lobbying rules and criticism that it had not done enough to fight inflation as many Britons grappled with soaring fuel and food prices.
Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labor Party, said Johnson’s resignation was good news for Britain.
“But it should have happened a long time ago,” he said. “He was always unfit for office. He is responsible for lies, scandals and fraud on an industrial scale.”
(Writing by Michael Holden and Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Kate Holton, Frank Jack Daniel, Toby Chopra and Mark Heinrich)
https://globalnews.ca/news/8972754/boris-johnson-set-to-resign/ UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson set to resign amid political fallout – National