Thursday, August 18, 2022

Boris resigns; to stay PM until new leader elected

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday announced his resignation as Conservative Party leader following an unprecedented mutiny from within his Cabinet and after being abandoned by his close allies in the wake of a series of scandals that rocked his government, triggering a leadership election for a new Tory leader who will go on to become his successor.
Johnson, 58, said he will remain in charge at 10 Downing Street until the process of electing a new leader is completed – expected by the time of the Conservative Party conference scheduled for October.
He blamed the “herd instinct” of his party as he delivered his resignation speech on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street and expressed his sadness at giving up the “best job in the world.” “I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world,” Johnson said in his speech, marking an end to his three tumultuous years in power.
“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,” said Johnson, showing very little emotion as he read out his speech which lasted just over six minutes.
“I have 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 and I have today appointed a Cabinet to serve as I will until a new leader is in place,” he said.
The outgoing leader reiterated his “incredible mandate” at the 2019 general election, which was “the reason I have fought so hard in the last few days to continue to deliver that mandate in person”.
“I felt it was my job, my duty, my obligation to you to continue to do what we promised in 2019,” he said.
Referring to the high drama of the last few days, Johnson said he had tried to persuade his colleagues that it would be “eccentric” to change governments with such a “vast mandate” and when the Tories are only a “handful of points” behind in the polls and when the economic scene is so difficult domestically and internationally.
He also highlighted some of his government’s achievements, including the “fastest rollout in Europe” of COVID vaccines.
Johnson’s resignation was resoundingly welcomed in the Opposition ranks and a large chunk of his own party, with Labour Leader Keir Starmer declaring the resignation “good news for the country”.
Many Conservative MPs, however, are critical of Johnson’s plan to continue in office for another few months until a new leader is in place after his authority is so clearly bruised and battered by his own former supporters.

Key conservative contenders who could become the next UK PM

A Conservative leadership contest will take place in coming weeks after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he is resigning as the party’s leader. A look at the candidates who could succeed Johnson as party leader and prime minister.
Suella Braverman: Braverman, a lawmaker and barrister who became England’s attorney general in 2020, was the first to put her hat in the ring. She publicly announced Wednesday that she would seek to become the leader of Britain’s Conservatives.
Rishi Sunak: Sunak, the best-known of the Conservatives’ potential leadership contenders, quit the government Tuesday. Sunak was, for a time, widely regarded as the party’s brightest rising star and the bookmakers’ favorite to succeed Johnson.
Nadhim Zahawi: Johnson appointed Zahawi, 55, to head the Treasury after Sunak’s resignation Tuesday. Barely two days later, Zahawi joined the public calls for Johnson to quit. He is seen by some as a safe choice if other candidates prove divisive.
Sajid Javid: Javid, 52, also resigned Tuesday, declaring “enough is enough” and that “the problem starts at the top.” He ran in the 2019 Conservative leadership election, but was eliminated in the fourth round and lost to Johnson. Other candidates who could succeed Boris include Liz Truss, Ben Wallace, Jeremy Hunt, Tom Tugendhat, Penny Mordaunt, Michael Gove.


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