LONDON (Fwrd Axis) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson finally caved to the pressure to step down on Thursday, announcing his resignation just 48 hours after several high-profile government officials quit their positions and lost trust from his own Conservative Party.
Speaking from Downing Street, the scandal-ridden Prime Minister said he attempted to convince his colleagues that his stepping down would not be best for the country, touting his successes as Britain’s leader. However, those calls fell on deaf ears.
“It is clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party that there should be a new leader … and therefore a new prime minister,” Johnson said.
“In the past few weeks, I have been trying to convince my colleagues it would be eccentric to change governments when we have achieved so much,” he added. “I regret not to be successful in those arguments and, of course, it’s painful not to be able to see through those projects myself.”
Johnson said he’d appointed a new cabinet and plans to remain as prime minister until a successor was chosen, a move that many in the Conservative Party are opposed to. Boris Johnson becomes the third consecutive British prime minister to resign following Theresa May and David Cameron.
He thanked voters who gave him a landslide general election back in 2019 and said one of the reasons he resisted stepping down was due to keeping his promise to those who voted for him.
“I felt it was my job, my duty, my obligation to you to continue to do what we promised in 2019,” he said.
He blasted the Conservative members of Parliament who turned against him in recent days and weeks amid several high-profile scandals from “Partygate” when he and his staff disregarded Covid lockdown protocol to hold private parties with no masks or social distancing guidelines to allegations of abuse by Conservative lawmakers.
“As we’ve seen at Westminster, the herd instinct is powerful, and when the herd moves, it moves. And my friends, in politics, no one is remotely indispensable, and our brilliant and Darwinian system will produce another leader equally committed to taking this country forward,” he said.
The last straw for Johnson came when Chris Pincher, the Conservative Party’s deputy chief whip, resigned last week after it was revealed he drunkenly groped two men at a private members’ club. It then came to light that Johnson appointed Pincher to the role despite knowing of previous misconduct allegations against him.
British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak resigned Tuesday, writing the government should be run “properly, competently and seriously.” Hours later, Health Secretary Sajid Javid also resigned in protest of Johnson’s leadership.
A recent YouGov poll shows that 69 percent of Britons wanted Johnson to resign while only 18 percent wanted him to remain in office. Among the Conservative voters polled, 54 percent said they wanted to see Johnson quit and 33 percent wanted him to stay.
Johnson narrowly won a vote of confidence back in June but he is still facing dissatisfaction from members of his own Conservative Party as well as the general public.
“There will be many people who are relieved, and perhaps quite a few who will also be disappointed. And I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world. But them’s the breaks,” Johnson concluded.
Stephen Michael reported from the United States.