There has been a constant stream of approximately 50 Conservative Party leaders resigning this week in Great Britain. And one of the last ones standing just resigned as well.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his resignation Thursday and he will step down as the leader of the Conservative Party.
This action comes on the heels of several scandals that have hit Johnson’s party in recent months. There has been a significant loss of support from his party members.
Prime Minister Johnson said in a statement that he will remain in his position until the Tories can elect a new leader.
Johnson gave a brief address from the prime minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street in London. He said that it was “clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party that there should be a new leader … and therefore a new prime minister.”
Johnson thanked the voters for giving the Conservatives the largest Conservative majority since 1987. The 2019 election was a landslide win for him and he was grateful for the accomplishments in his government.
Some of the highlights of his time in office include Brexit, dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, and staying strong against the actions of Russian President Putin after he invaded Ukraine.
Johnson also said that he would have liked to remain the prime minister of England, but he said that “herd instinct is powerful and when the herd moves, it moves.”
Johnson was referring to the dozens of Conservative ministers and leaders who had resigned just this week. This happened after it was revealed that Johnson had named Conservative MP Chris Pincher to his government. He did this even though he was aware of sexual misconduct allegations against him.
Pincher resigned from Parliament last week due to fresh revelations that he sexually assaulted two men at a club.
Johnson’s party was already close to breaking apart because of the so-called “Partygate” scandal. The allegations were that Johnson hosted parties and another gathering at his residence during the pandemic and it was a violation of his own lockdown rules.
Just a month ago, Johnson faced a vote of no confidence in Parliament. He survived by getting a simple majority to support him from Conservative lawmakers.
But the new Pincher scandal was the last straw.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Chancellor Rishi Sunak both resigned this week and over 50 of Johnson’s ministers left their positions as well. This left the prime minister scrambling to find people to fill these positions so the government could keep moving forward.
It was Johnson’s inability to fill the voids that caused him to resign.
“In the last few days I’ve 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, and when we’re actually only a handful of points behind in the polls even in midterm after quite a few months of pretty relentless sledging,” 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,” he continued.
Johnson finished his statement by saying that no politician was indispensable. He said that England’s brilliant Darwinian system would produce another leader and he will pledge that leader his full support.
There is no clear frontrunner for the U.K’s top job, but several people have already emerged as possible successors to Johnson. One of them is the British Defense Secretary.
Let’s hope the one who rises to the surface can maintain conservative values.