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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson drops party leadership but will stay on until new leader found

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Posted: Thursday, July 7, 2022. 8:58 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson, 58, has bowed to a mass revolt by members of his government, announcing he would stand down as Conservative Party leader but stay on as Prime Minister until a new leader is found, the Associated Press reports.

Typical of his brash style which served him well as he took Britain out of the European Union and steered it through COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine, Johnson only reluctantly conceded that his party wanted him gone and now, saying in his address this morning at 10 Downing Street, “Them’s the breaks.”

It was a domestic scandal that brought Johnson down – involving his appointment of a politician who had been accused of sexual misconduct.

The timetable for the selection process will be announced next week, he said. But many in the party want him gone before then, and his government has been shredded by scores of resignations.

Johnson had clung to power for two days, defiantly telling lawmakers on Wednesday that he had a “colossal mandate” from voters and intended to get on with the business of government. “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 outside his office. “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 was forced to concede defeat Thursday morning after one of his closest allies, newly appointed Treasury chief Nadhim Zahawi, publicly told him to resign for the good of the country. About 50 Cabinet secretaries, ministers and lower-level officials had quit the government over the past few days, often castigating the prime minister for his lack of integrity.

“It is clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party that there should be a new leader of that party and therefore a new prime minister,” Johnson said, leaving unstated his belief that this did not reflect the will of the British people.

Among the possible candidates to succeed him are former Health Secretary Sajid Javid, former Treasury chief Rishi Sunak, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Defense Secretary Ben Wallace. Javid and Sunak resigned within minutes of each other Tuesday night, triggering the wave of departures among their Cabinet colleagues and lower-level officials.

Javid captured the mood of many lawmakers when he said Johnson’s actions threatened to undermine the integrity of the Conservative Party and the British government.

“At some point, we have to conclude that enough is enough,” he said Wednesday in the House of Commons. “I believe that point is now.”

 

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