By Danica Kirka, Jill Lawless and Sylvia Hui
LONDON ( Associated Press) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his resignation on Thursday amid a massive revolt by top members of his government, marking the end of three turbulent years in power in which he brazenly bowed and never Sometimes broke the rules of British politics.
Months of defiance almost ended with a shoulder as Johnson stood outside No. 10 Downing St and admitted his party wanted him to go.
“Those are breaks,” he said.
The 58-year-old politician who took Britain out of the European Union and propelled it through COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine was brought about by little more than a scandal – it included the appointment of a politician who was accused of sexual of misconduct.
The worst prime ministers didn’t leave cleanly. Johnson immediately stepped down as leader of the Conservative Party, but said he would remain prime minister until the party chose his successor. He said the timetable for this process would be announced next week.
But many in the party wish he left earlier, and his government has been torn apart by several resignations.
Among the possible candidates for his successor: former Health Secretary Sajid Javid, former Treasury chief Rishi Sunak, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Defense Secretary Ben Wallace.
After the latest scandal broke, Johnson clung to power for days, telling lawmakers on Wednesday he had a “huge mandate” from voters and intended to get into the business of governance.
But he was forced to give up on Thursday morning after one of his closest aides, newly appointed Treasury chief Nadim Zhawi, publicly asked him to resign for the good of the country.
“Over the past few days, I have tried to convince my colleagues that when we are giving away so much and when we have such a huge mandate, it would be cynical to change government,” Johnson said. “I’m sorry for not succeeding in those arguments, and of course it’s painful that I can’t see myself through so many ideas and projects.”
Around 50 cabinet secretaries, ministers and lower-level officials had quit the government in the past few days, often criticizing the prime minister for his lack of integrity.
The mass resignations halted the functioning of some parliamentary committees as no ministers were available to speak on behalf of the government.
“It is now clearly the desire of the Parliamentary Conservative Party that that party should have a new leader and therefore a new prime minister,” Johnson said.
Jahvi, who was promoted as Johnson earlier this week, sought to shore up his cabinet, saying he and a group of his aides had expressed their concerns privately to the prime minister on Wednesday. and decided to go public after Johnson ignored advice to resign.
“The country deserves a government that is not only stable but works honestly,” Jahavi said in a letter posted on Twitter.
It was a humiliating defeat for Johnson, who not only held back Brexit but has also been credited with launching one of the world’s most successful mass vaccination campaigns to combat COVID-19.
But the perpetual, shaggy-haired leader, known for giving blustery answers to his critics, was also struck by allegations that he behaved as if the rules didn’t apply to him.
He managed to stay in power despite allegations that he was too close to party donors, he shielded supporters from allegations of bullying and corruption, and he misled parliament about government office parties that flouted COVID-19 lockdown rules. broke.
He was fined by police at parties and survived a no-confidence vote in parliament last month in which 41% of Conservative lawmakers tried to oust him.
Johnson became prime minister in July 2019, succeeding Theresa May, who resigned after parliament rejected the Brexit deal during talks with the European Union. Johnson pushed his own Brexit deal in an often messy and turbulent debate.
With his unruly blond mop, he often looked like a schoolboy who had just rolled out of bed and ran to class with his pajamas under his clothes.
In his rise to power, he displayed many of the same habits and abilities that would take him far, but also reflect his downfall: he was an enthusiastic, attention-seeking mayor of London; a journalist who was fired for making a quote and filing exaggerated stories about EU excesses; and an Eton- and Oxford-honored talent for colorful language and a statesman with the thrust and parry of debate.
He was known for his mild respect for truth and his brilliance and offensive marks. He called Papua New Guinea cannibals and compared Muslim women to “letter boxes” who wear face-covering veils.
Recent revelations that Johnson was aware of sexual misconduct allegations against a Conservative MP before he was promoted to a senior position in the government proved to be a scandal.
The crisis began when Chris Pincher resigned as deputy chief whip amid allegations that two men colluded at a private club. This triggered a series of reports about the previous allegations against Pincher.
Johnson offered to explain everything he knew and when he knew it. This added to the feeling that the Prime Minister could not be trusted.
Javid and Sunak resigned within minutes of each other on Tuesday night, triggering a wave of departures among their cabinet colleagues and lower-level officials and plunging the government into crisis.
Javid 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.”
Bernard Jenkin, a senior Conservative Party MP, told the BBC he met with Johnson later in the day and advised him to step down.
“I just told him, ‘Look when you go now, and that’s how you go. You can go on with some dignity or make you cling to power like Donald Trump and pretend to win an election if you lose Can be forced,'” Jenkin said.
Follow all of Associated Press’s coverage of Prime Minister Boris Johnson at https://apnews.com/hub/boris-johnson