British Prime Minister Boris Johnson finally admitted the scandals surrounding his administration were too many for him to stay in office and turned in his resignation as leader of the Conservative Party, which has triggered the process for the appointment of a replacement who will also take over as head of government.
It is clearly the will of the Conservative parliamentary group that there will be a new leader of the party and, therefore, a new prime minister, Johnson acknowledged when announcing his resignation, although he will remain on the job until his successor is chosen, which will happen probably in October.
In the meantime, the controversial premier declared himself determined to continue at the helm of the country and appointed new ministers and secretaries of state to replace the over 50 officials whose resignations led to his own demise.
Opposition leader Keir Starmer said Johnson's future departure was good news, but not enough. We need a real change of government, he said, while weighing a motion of censure against the government and call for snap elections.
Nearly 60 members of Johnson's government had already resigned by Thursday morning in a relentless bloodletting that began Tuesday with Finance Minister Rishi Sunak and Health Minister Sajid Javid. Sunak's successor, appointed Tuesday, was among those leaving Thursday. You know in your heart what the right thing to do is, leave now, he wrote in a letter posted on Twitter.
Michelle Donelan, also appointed Tuesday to the education portfolio to replace Zahawi, likewise resigned less than two days later.
The resignations came hours after Johnson apologized for the umpteenth time after acknowledging he had made a mistake in appointing Chris Pincher to a key parliamentary post. Downing Street acknowledged Tuesday that the prime minister had been briefed in 2019 of previous allegations against Pincher, but had forgotten them.
“Them’s the breaks,” said the 58-year-old departing Prime Minister politician who led the UK through Brexit and COVID-19.
Efforts regarding the war in Ukraine were not enough to counterbalance his appointment of a politician who had been accused of sexual misconduct after barely surviving a vote of confidence over the Partygate scandals.
The Conservative Party's roadmap for the appointment of a successor will be announced next week. The last leadership contest to take over from Theresa May took six weeks, although many want Johnson gone yesterday out of fear he might do additional harm even as a caretaker prime minister.
“It’s very difficult to see how Boris Johnson, given the character that he is, is going to be able to govern for three months in quiet humility and contrition, said George Freeman, who resigned as science minister Thursday.
According to press reports, the most likely candidates to succeed Johnson are former Health Secretary Sajid Javid, former Treasury chief Rishi Sunak, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, and Defense Secretary Ben Wallace.
Johnson defiantly clung to power for days but was forced to concede defeat Thursday morning. “In the last few days, I tried to persuade my colleagues that it would be eccentric to change governments when we’re delivering so much and when we have such a vast mandate, Johnson said. “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.’’