UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign

Published on
July 7, 2022
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday, 7 July, he will resign as soon a successor is chosen by the Conservative Party.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday, 7 July, he will resign as soon a successor is chosen by the Conservative Party.

Johnson’s announcement was prompted by the resignation of scores of members of the U.K. Parliament and several of his own cabinet ministers. On Tuesday, 5 July, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and U.K. Health Secretary Sajid Javid initiated the exodus, with Javid saying in a speech that “treading the tightrope between loyalty and integrity has become impossible in recent months.”

Johnson became prime minister when he won the Conservative Party leadership election in July 2019. In December 2019, the Conservative Party won national elections, giving Johnson a fresh term. In December 2020, Johnson struck a deal with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that would transition the U.K. out of the European Union, delivering on his promise to complete the Brexit process, which was approved by U.K. voters in a 2016 referendum. The deal has had a significant impact on both the U.K. and E.U. seafood industries.

However, Johnson subsequently struggled with a series of scandals, including parties held in his Downing Street offices during the U.K.’s nationwide COVID-19 lockdowns, and accusations of using donor money to pay for home improvements. In June, he survived a parliamentary confidence vote, but 148 Conservative Party officials voted against him.

"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," Johnson said in a speech delivered in front of 10 Downing Street on 7 July.

Johnson expressed pride at "getting Brexit done" and "leading the West in standing up to Putin's aggression in Ukraine,” according to CNN.

"In the last few days, I've tried to persuade my colleagues that it would be eccentric to change governments when we're delivering so much... and when the economic scene is so difficult domestically and internationally," Johnson said in a speech delivered in front of 10 Downing Street on 7 July. "I regret not to have been successful in those arguments, and of course, it's painful, not to be able to see through so many ideas and projects myself.”

It is possible Johnson will remain prime minister until October 2022, when the Conservative Party is scheduled to meet to pick his successor. In the U.K., the party with the largest number of parliamentary seats chooses the prime minister.

While Johnson has announced his resignation as Conservative Party leader, it is possible that he will remain as Prime Minister until October, when the party meets for its annual conference.

Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition Keir Starmer called the resignation "good news for the country,” saying "it should have happened long ago."

"He was always unfit for office. He has been responsible for lies, scandal, and fraud on an industrial scale," Starmer said on Twitter.

Photo courtesy of Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock

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