United Kingdom Prime Minister, Boris Johnson announced his resignation Thursday amid a mass revolt by top members of his government.
After resisting calls to step down for nearly two days, Johnson admitted to the world’s media outside No. 10 Downing Street in London that “it is clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party that there should be a new leader and a new prime minister.”
“The process of that should begin now. The timetable should be announced next week,” added Johnson, who went on to thank British voters who propelled the Conservatives to their largest House of Commons majority for nearly four decades in the 2019 general election — a result Johnson had repeatedly cited as he sought to cling to power.
Johnson insisted in his resignation statement that he believed it would be ill-advised to “change governments when we are delivering so much and when we have such a vast mandate and when we are actually only a handful of points behind in the polls.”
“I regret not to have been successful in those arguments and of course, it is painful not to be able to see through so many ideas and projects myself,” he said.
In the end, Johnson was left to acknowledge the political reality that dozens of resignations in the previous 24 hours had left him unable to form a fully functioning government.
“As we have seen at Westminster, the herd instinct is powerful and when the herd moves, it moves,” he said. “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.”
Speaking to his yet-to-be-named replacement as leader of the Conservative Party, who is also expected to replace him as prime minister, Johnson said, “I will give you as much support as I can.”
“And to you, the British public, I know that there will be many people who are relieved and perhaps quite a few who will also be disappointed, and I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world. But them’s the breaks,” he said.
“Above all, I want to thank you, the British public, for the immense privilege you have given me. And from now on until the new prime minister is in place, your interest will be served, and the government of the country will be carried on.”
Ironically, though Johnson stepped down as prime minister Thursday, he could remain in the post for months while Conservatives work out who should replace him. Under party rules, candidates are voted on by members of the parliamentary Conservative Party until just two contenders remain. The final choice will then be made by party members across Britain, with an outcome not likely to be known until early September.