Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Boris Johnson Resigns As British PM

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Boris Johnson has announced that he will resign as prime minister, clearing the way for a successor to be chosen by October.

Conservative MPs and party members will choose Britain’s fourth prime minister in just over six years after Johnson’s authority finally crumbled this morning.

But Johnson wants to stay on until a new party leader is chosen in time for the annual Conservative conference in October.

Downing Street announced that Johnson would resign minutes after Nadhim Zahawi, Johnson’s new chancellor, publicly urged him to quit, and Michelle Donelan resigned after 36 hours as education secretary.

The prime minister spoke to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers, this morning. He said he had reflected on their conversation last night, in which Brady made clear the scale of backbench opposition to his leadership, and concluded that it was in the best interests of the party and the country for him to resign.

Though Johnson wants to continue to October, the timetable for the contest is not in his hands but instead will be determined by Brady and his executive. Brady wants to have the parliamentary section of the contest — where MPs whittle the candidates down to a final two — completed by the summer recess, which begins on July 21.

The final pair would then be put before Conservative Party members.

There are questions over whether Johnson can continue as prime minister during the leadership contest. Theresa May remained in post while Johnson was elected and David Cameron stayed in place while May was chosen, but neither of them was left with so many vacancies across government.

George Freeman, who resigned as science minister this morning, said: “Boris Johnson needs to hand in the seals of office, apologise to Her Majesty and advise her to call for a caretaker prime minister.” He was backed by Bim Afolami, who was a vice-chairman of the Conservatives until Tuesday night.

A government source said : “I really don’t think he can [stay on]. How? Who will govern with him?”

Suella Braverman, the attorney-general, announced last night that she would run. Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the foreign affairs committee, has previously said he would run. Other candidates are likely to include Zahawi; Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor; Sajid Javid, who quit as health secretary on Tuesday; Jeremy Hunt, the former foreign secretary; Liz Truss, the foreign secretary; Penny Mordaunt, a trade minister; and Steve Baker, a former Brexit minister.

Photo Credit: Getty

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