Boris Johnson Steps Down As UK Prime Minister

by Ujjawal Mishra - Jul 7, 2022 06:40 PM +05:30 IST
Boris Johnson Steps Down As UK Prime MinisterBritish PM Boris Johnson

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stepped down as the leader of the ruling Conservative Party, ending an unprecedented political crisis and triggering an election for a Tory leader who will go on to succeed him.

What he said: “As we have seen at Westminster, the herd instinct is powerful and when the herd moves, it moves and my friends in politics no one is remotely indispensable and our brilliant Darwinian system will produce another leader, equally committed to taking this country forward through tough times," Johnson said in his resignation speech on the steps of Downing Street, blaming the machinations of his party colleagues for his exit after a new leader is elected.

What led to the resignation was a series of criticisms and allegations involving flouting of rules, a lack of confidence in his leadership, and poor administration.

Partygate scandal: Videos emerged from the Covid-19-induced lockdown times where Johnson was seen partying within Downing Street even as the nation stayed locked in.

  • According to an FT report, Johnson, while addressing fellow Tory MPs in a meeting, said he did not regret attending those parties and "would do it again."

  • Johnson's comment surprised people in the room.

No-confidence vote: Johnson's comments prompted his own party members to initiate no-confidence proceedings against him.

  • Although he survived the vote, it left him severely weakened within his party.

  • "This is a very good result for politics and the country. It’s a convincing result, a decisive result," Johnson said later.

Losses in two key by-polls: The Conservatives lost the Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton by-elections on the same night.

  • The party chair, Oliver Dowden, stepped down saying someone "must take responsibility."

  • "Governing parties generally do not win by-elections, particularly not in mid-term. You know, I’m very hopeful, but you know, there you go," Johnson said prior to these elections.

  • Political analysts had predicted that Johnson would face more pressure from his party members after the defeat in the by-elections.

A massive exodus from his government, in which more than 50 members of his government resigned, diminished his political authority.

  • Two Cabinet colleagues of Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid, stepped down from their posts on 5 July.

  • The newly appointed Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi asked the PM to quit just hours after Zahawi was appointed as a replacement to Sunak.

  • The Iraqi-origin minister wrote a damning letter that openly questioned his boss’ authority and demanded his exit.

What's next: Johnson's resignation will now trigger a leadership battle within the Conservative Party.

  • The 1922 Committee is responsible for setting the timetable for a Tory leadership contest.

  • To take part in the race, a Tory MP has to be nominated by eight colleagues. If more than two MPs come forward and secure enough nominations to run for leader, a series of secret ballots will be held to whittle them down.

  • UK Attorney General Suella Braverman threw her hat in the ring to take over as the next Conservative Party leader and future prime minister.

  • The Goan-origin minister is so far the only Tory MP to formally declare her leadership bid. Others expected to join the race include Zahawi, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Sunak, Javid, Indian-origin Home Secretary Priti Patel, and UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.

  • Among the more junior members, Tory MPs Penny Mordaunt, Tom Tugendhat, and former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt are the names doing the rounds.

Johnson's exit is reminiscent of other similar dramatic departures in recent times of his predecessors, especially former PM Theresa May.

  • The former journalist and columnist took charge at 10 Downing Street in July 2019 after spearheading a similar coup against then incumbent May.

  • The Brexiteer, who served as Foreign Secretary in May's Cabinet, had stepped down in protest against her Brexit deal with the EU, triggering a leadership election within the Tory party.

Also Read: The Race To Succeed Boris Johnson As Conservative Leader Is Crowded With Too Many Contenders But Six Candidates Stand Out

Ujjawal Mishra is a Staff Writer at Swarajya. He tweets @Ujjawal1Mishra.
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