‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Abuja
Daily Courier – UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has resigned as the prime minister and effectively as leader of the Conservative Party.
Johnson announced his resignation Thursday afternoon, at 10, Downing Street, London.
He said he will, however, remain in office until the Conservative Party elects a new leader who will also assume office as prime minister. That is expected to happen before October.
In his speech on Thursday, Johnson thanked the Conservative Party and the British voters for trusting the party and helping it to victory in the 2019 elections.
“Of course, it is painful to not to be able to see through so many ideas and projects. But as we have seen at Westminster, the herd instinct is powerful and when the herd moves, it moves”, Johnson said in front of the door of No. 10 Downing St. in London.
This comes after dozens of officials, aides and members of his Cabinet quit his government, saying they could no longer serve under his leadership. Several former Cabinet ministers told him he should resign.
An announcement will come next week about the timetable for choosing the new prime minister, Johnson said.
Lawmakers in Johnson’s Conservative Party credit him with driving Brexit through the British Parliament after his predecessor, Theresa May, was unable to.
He also led the Tories to a historic landslide election in 2019, leaving the party with an 80-seat majority in the House of Commons. It was the largest victory since Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher’s win in 1987.
Johnson, however, was ultimately forced to resign, not over policy or political differences, but because of perceptions about his character.
Many Conservative lawmakers, as well many members of the public do not trust him. A poll last month by the research firm YouGov, found nearly 3 in 4 Britons viewed Johnson as untrustworthy.
The same pollster found this week that 69% believe Johnson should resign.
The scandal that ultimately ended his nearly three-year premiership was triggered by his decision to promote a lawmaker, Chris Pincher, to a position of power even though Johnson knew Pincher had been the subject of a sexual harassment complaint.
Initially, the prime minister’s office said Johnson had not known about any specific allegations. On Monday, after more allegations emerged against the lawmaker, Johnson was forced to acknowledge that he had.
Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s former chief adviser, with whom he has had a bitter falling out, said Johnson had referred to the lawmaker as “Pincher by name, pincher by nature.”
Johnson did not deny he used that phrase and apologised for appointing Pincher.
Pincher resigned last week as deputy chief whip in the House of Commons over the scandal. Johnson suspended him from the party, meaning Pincher could not sit with fellow Conservatives in Parliament.
On its own, the scandal would not have been a resignation matter for the prime minister. But some of Johnson’s own Cabinet members saw it as part of a long-standing pattern.