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UK: Boris Johnson Resigns as Conservative Party Leader

Boris Johnson Leaves the Presidency of the Conservative Party

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Faced with serious dissension within his government, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson nevertheless wishes to remain in office until the autumn.

"Boris Johnson Resignation"
“Boris Johnson Resignation”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street on his way to Parliament on July 6, 2022.

Faced with a “mutiny” within his government and the Conservative Party, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his resignation as leader of the Conservative Party.

“I am sad to leave this position, the best in the world,” he said, indicating that he would support the future leader.

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The Prime Minister spoke from 10 Downing Street at midday on Thursday, July 7, the day after a dark day marked by an avalanche of cabinet departures and ever-increasing calls for resignation.

However, he wants to stay until the fall. In any case, he will remain at the head of the executive until his successor is appointed. A schedule is to be unveiled next week.

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Mutiny

“Boris Johnson fights for his survival”, headlined the Times on Thursday, summing up the feeling of the British press after what the Daily Telegraph described as a “mutiny” of the government, which resulted in two days the departure of several dozen ministers and advisers.

The waltz of resignations began Tuesday evening when, without warning, the ministers of Health Sajid Javid and Finance Rishi Sunak slammed the door, followed by other members of the government, of lower rank.

Wednesday evening, the number of departures amounted to forty, including the minister responsible for Wales Simon Hart.

Stuck in repeated scandals, accused of repeated lies, Boris Johnson brushed aside calls for resignation all day long, including from his faithful, dismissing in the evening his minister Michael Gove, in charge of territorial rebalancing, who in the morning had also called to leave.

Untenable situation

According to British media, several senior ministers have asked him to resign as the situation has become untenable. Among the names cited, were Interior Minister Priti Patel and Nadhim Zahawi, less than 24 hours after his appointment as Minister of Finance.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will step down as leader of the Conservative Party on Thursday, the BBC reported as government departures surge. He will also make “a statement to the country later in the day”, a Downing Street spokesman said.

According to the BBC, Mr. Johnson will resign as leader of the Conservative Party but could remain Prime Minister until the autumn, the time that a new leader is elected among the Conservatives.

Opposition leader Keir Starmer said it was “good news” but that “we don’t need a change in the leadership of the Tories. We need a real change of government”.

The announcement comes as nearly 60 departures have been announced in the government since Tuesday, including five ministers, an exodus of unprecedented speed in British political history.

Discontent had been simmering for months, fueled by the scandal of illegal parties in Downing Street during the anti-Covid lockdown.

Faced with a “mutiny” within his government and the Conservative Party, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson clung to power, the day after a dark day marked by an avalanche of cabinet departures and ever-increasing calls for resignation.

To ministers and MPs, Boris Johnson had retorted that he wanted to stay to devote himself “to the extremely important problems” facing the country, according to the press.

“We will continue with the government of this country”, assured the Prime Minister in the afternoon in front of the heads of the parliamentary committees, a few moments after having affirmed that he was having a “formidable” week.

Combative, Boris Johnson judged that he would not be “responsible” to leave power in the current context, between purchasing power crisis and the war in Ukraine.

A little earlier, during the weekly question session in front of the deputies, punctuated by laughter and mockery, he had affirmed that the “colossal mandate” which had been entrusted to him by the voters in 2019 conferred on him the duty to “continue”.

Opposition Labor leader Keir Starmer had blasted a “pathetic spectacle” at the end of his reign, while Scottish nationalist SNP leader in the House of Commons Ian Blackford demanded a snap election. An idea that Boris Johnson rejected out of hand.

Bye bye Boris

The resigning ministers had harsh words for the head of government, questioning his honesty.

In front of the deputies, Sajid Javid detailed the reasons for his departure, convinced that Boris Johnson would not change: “That’s enough”, he launched, before some deputies resumed a mocking “bye Boris” launched by the One. Two.

The resignation of Mr. Javid and that of his finance colleague was announced on Tuesday evening when Boris Johnson had just issued an apology after a new scandal.

Mr. Johnson admitted having made a “mistake” in appointing Chris Pincher to his government in February, deputy chief “whip” in charge of parliamentary discipline for Conservative MPs. He resigned last week after being accused of touching two men. After claiming the opposite, Downing Street admitted on Tuesday that the Prime Minister had been informed as early as 2019 of old accusations against Mr. Pincher, but that he had “forgotten” them.

According to a Savanta ComRes poll published on Wednesday, 72% of Britons believe the Prime Minister should resign.

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