On Thursday, controversial Boris Johnson announced his resignation as British prime minister after being abandoned by ministers and the majority of Conservative lawmakers.
An alone and powerless Johnson spoke outside Downing Street to confirm his resignation, bowing to the inevitable as more than 50 ministers resigned and MPs argued he had no choice.
“The process of selecting a new leader should begin immediately.
And now, I appointed a cabinet to serve until a new leader is appointed, “According to Johnson.
All had deserted the scandal-plagued Johnson, but a handful of allies after the latest scandals had broken their willingness to back him after the latest in a series of scandals.
“His departure was unavoidable,” Conservative Party deputy chairman Justin Tomlinson wrote on Twitter.
“We must swiftly unite as a party and focus on what is important. On many fronts, these are difficult times.”
The Conservatives must now choose a new leader, which may take weeks or months.
According to a recent YouGov poll, defense minister Ben Wallace is the Conservative Party’s favorite to succeed Johnson, followed by junior trade minister Penny Mordaunt and former finance minister Rishi Sunak.
Many people believe he should resign immediately and give power to his deputy, Dominic Raab because he has lost the faith of his party.
The leader of the main opposition Labor Party, Keir Starmer, has indicated that if the Conservatives do not dismiss Johnson immediately, he will demand a parliamentary confidence vote.
“If they don’t get rid of him, Labor will step up in the national interest and launch a vote of no confidence because we can’t keep this prime minister hanging on for months and months,” he warned.
The dilemma comes as Britons face the most severe financial crisis decades after the Covid-19 outbreak, with skyrocketing prices and the economy expected to be the poorest among major nations in 2023, barring Russia.
It also comes after years of internal strife triggered by the narrow 2016 vote to leave the European Union and threats to the United Kingdom’s very existence with calls for another Scottish independence referendum, the second in a decade.
Support for Johnson had dwindled during one of the most tumultuous 24 hours in recent British political history, exemplified by finance minister Nadhim Zahawi, who had only been appointed to his role on Tuesday, called Johnson to leave.
On Wednesday evening, Zahawi and several cabinet ministers went to Downing Street with a senior representative of those parliamentarians not in government to inform Johnson that the game was over.
Johnson initially refused to resign and appeared poised to dig in, firing Michael Gove, a member of his top ministerial team who was among the first to advise him he needed to resign in an attempt to reassert his authority.
According to one ally, party rebels would “have to dip their hands in blood” to get rid of Johnson.
However, as resignations flooded in on Thursday morning, it became evident that his position was untenable.
“This is not sustainable, and it will only worsen: for you, for the Conservative Party, and, most importantly, for the entire country,” Zahawi wrote on Twitter. “You must do the right thing and leave right away.”
Some of those who remained in office, such as defense minister Ben Wallace, stated that they only did so because they felt obligated to keep the country secure.
The administration had been paralyzed as a result of so many cabinet resignations. So, despite his approaching retirement, Johnson began filling vacant cabinet positions.
“It is now our responsibility to ensure that the people of this country have a working government,” Michael Ellis, a minister in the Cabinet Office department that supervises government operations, told parliament.
From well-known to desolate
Johnson took office nearly three years ago, pledging to achieve Brexit and save the country from the ugly bickering that followed the 2016 referendum.
Since then, some Conservatives have warmly supported the former journalist and London mayor, while others, despite doubts, have supported him because he was able to reach portions of the population that had previously rejected the Conservatives.
This was seen in the December 2019 election. However, his administration’s confrontational and frequently chaotic approach to governing, as well as a series of scandals, depleted the goodwill of many of his MPs, and surveys show he is no longer popular with the general population.
The newest problem developed after politician Chris Pincher, who worked in pastoral care for the government, was forced to resign amid allegations that he grabbed men in a private members’ club.
Johnson was forced to apologize after it was revealed that he was informed before appointing Pincher that he had been the subject of previous sexual misconduct charges.
The prime minister admitted that he had forgotten.
This came after months of scandals and gaffes, including a devastating exposé detailing alcoholic parties at his Downing Street home and office, which violated Covid-19 lockdown regulations and resulted in him being fined by police for a gathering for his 56th birthday.
There have also been policy reversals, an ill-advised defense of a politician who violated lobbying laws, and criticism that he has not done enough to combat inflation, with many Britons struggling to keep up with rising petrol and food prices.
“It should have happened long ago,” added Labour’s Starmer. “He was always unsuitable for public office. Instead, he has been responsible for massive amounts of deception, controversy, and fraud.”