On Thursday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson officially stepped down as leader of the governing Conservative Party, delivering a speech outside 10 Downing Street in London.
Johnson’s move caps off a tumultuous week wherein dozens of his colleagues publicly expressed their lack of confidence in his ability to lead.
“It is now clearly the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party that there should be a new leader of that party,and therefore a new Prime Minister,” Johnson began, “and I have agreed with Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of our backbench MPs, that the process of choosing that new leader should begin now.
Johnson explained that a timetable would be announced next week, and that until a new leader is found, he will serve alongside a newly appointed cabinet.
“I want to say to the millions of people who voted for us in 2019 â many of them voting Conservative for the first time, thank you for that incredible mandate,” he added, noting that he his government had received the largest Conservative majority since 1987, and the highest share of the vote since 1979.
Johnson said he was “immensely proud” of what his government has achieved, citing the deliverance of the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe, the completion of Brexit, and “reclaiming the power for this country to make its own laws in parliament.”
He stated that as confidence within the party dipped, he tried to persuade his colleagues that it would be “eccentric” for him to step down, but in the end, they won out.
“It is painful not to be able to see through so many ideas and projects myself,” Johnson said, “but as weâve seen at Westminster, the herd is powerful and when the herd moves, it moves, and my friends, in politics no one is remotely indispensable.”
He praised the UK’s “brilliant and Darwinian system,” claiming that it “will produce another leader equally committed to taking this country forward through tough times.”
“I want you to know how sad I am to give up the best job in the world,” he added, “but themâs the breaks.”
Johnson (barely) survived a vote of confidence in June, however in recent days, pushback from within the party simply came to be too much, causing him to announce his resignation.
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