LONDON -- Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, resigned Thursday following protests from thousands of government officials over the latest scandal that engulfed him. This marks the end to three turbulent years during which he attempted to navigate his way through each ethical misstep.
Johnson stood outside No. 10 Downing St., and he admitted that his party wanted him to go.
He said, "Them's all the breaks."
The brazen, 58-year old politician who took Britain out the European Union and led it through COVID-19 as well as the war in Ukraine was brought to a halt by one scandal -- that of his appointment of a politician who was accused of sexual misconduct.
The worst of prime ministers didn't leave without a fight. Johnson, the Conservative Party leader, resigned immediately but stated that he would continue to be prime minister until his successor is chosen. Next week will see the announcement of the timetable. Six weeks was required to hold the last leadership contest.
Many want him to leave now. Conservative politicians fear that he could cause mischief as a caretaker Prime Minister.
"It's difficult to see how Boris Johnson (given the character that he has) is going to manage to govern for three month in quiet humility, contrition," stated George Freeman, who was resigned as science minister.
Sajid Javid, ex-Health Secretary, former Treasury chief Rishi Unak, Liz Truss, and Ben Wallace are all possible candidates for Johnson's successor.
Over 50 cabinet secretaries, ministers, and lower-ranking officials quit government in the last few days due to the latest scandal. Many have criticized the prime minister for being lacking integrity.
Because there were no ministers to speak on behalf of the government, the mass resignations caused some parliamentary committees to stall.
Johnson held on to power for days, telling lawmakers Wednesday defiantly that he had a "colossal mandate from the voters" and wanted to continue with the business of government.
He was forced to admit defeat on Thursday morning by Nadhim Zahawi (newly appointed Treasury chief) who publicly advised him to resign in the best interests of the country.
Johnson stated, "In the past few days I tried to persuade colleagues that it would not be eccentric to change government governments when we're delivering such much and when our mandate is so vast." Johnson said, "I regret that I was not able to make those arguments and it's very painful not being able to see through so much ideas and projects myself."
He stated that it was "clearly now" the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party for there to be a new leader and, therefore, a new prime minster.
Critics claimed that Johnson's speech was a rejection of responsibility and an admission of his errors.
Many Britons were surprised and relieved to hear of his resignation, as he is known for digging in.
"It felt as if he could just keep going and ignore it, so it was a bit surprising this morning when I saw it on my smartphone," Himmat Dalyway (an investment trader in his 20s) said outside a London Underground station. "Are your still 100% certain that he's going?"
Johnson was humiliated by the defeat. Johnson was not only able to pull off Brexit, but also was credited with launching one of the most successful mass vaccination campaigns in order to combat COVID-19.
The shaggy-haired and perpetually rumpled leader, who is known for his blustery answers to critics, was also plagued by accusations that he behaved like the rules didn't apply to him.
Despite accusations that he was too close with party donors, that his supporters were protected from bullying and corruption allegations and that he misled Parliament regarding government office parties that violated COVID-19 lockdown rules, he managed to stay in power.
Johnson said that there was no Downing Street party and that no rules were broken when allegations of Downing Street parties surfaced. However, photos of Johnson raising a glass before a group of people were published. This was a traditional resigning matter.
The police fined the prime minister for his actions and he survived a no confidence vote in Parliament last month, in which 41% Conservative lawmakers attempted to expel him.
Johnson was elected prime minister in July 2019. He succeeded Theresa May who resigned after Parliament rejected her Brexit deal with the EU. Johnson was able to push through his own Brexit deal in a messy and turbulent debate.
His mop of unruly blonde hair made him look like a schoolboy who just got out of bed to run to class in his pajamas.
His rise to power was marked by many of the same traits and abilities that would lead him to his downfall. He was an energetic, attention-loving London mayor; a journalist who was fired because he made up a quote and filed exaggerated stories on EU excesses; and a politician with an Oxford- and Eton-honed talent in colorful oratory and the thrusts and parries of debate.
His lack of concern for truth and his offensive and glib remarks made him well-known. He called Papua New Guineans "cannibals" and compared Muslim women wearing face-covering veils with "letter boxes."
Recent revelations that Johnson knew of sexual misconduct allegations against a Conservative lawmaker prior to he promoted him in government leadership proved to be another scandal.
After being accused of having groped two men in a private club, Chris Pincher, deputy chief whip, resigned. This sparked a number of reports on past allegations against Pincher.
Johnson gave varying explanations as to what he knew and when. This only heightened suspicion that Johnson was not trustworthy.
Javid and Sunak, key Cabinet members responsible for fighting COVID-19, and inflation respectively, resigned within minutes each other Tuesday. Their colleagues followed suit, causing a wave of resignations.
With a leadership election imminent, the Conservatives will need to decide whether or not they can stomach Johnson's role as caretaker leader. This job normally involves saying little and doing nothing.
Tim Bale, a Queen Mary University of London professor of politics, said that "To be sincere, I think a majority of the public want him gone rightaway." "They don't want him to be around like a bad smell at Downing Street," he said.
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