In Stunning Fall, Boris Johnson Finally Agrees to Step Down

Embattled British leader faced more than 50 resignations from government
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2022 4:46 AM CDT
After Flood of Resignations, Johnson Agrees to Step Down
In this image taken from video from the House of Commons, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson appears in front of the Liaison Committee in the House of Commons, London, Wednesday July 6, 2022.   (House of Commons via AP)

(Newser) – After a stunning 48 hours that saw an unprecedented number of resignations from the government, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has finally bowed to pressure and agreed to resign. Johnson, facing a mutiny that would have made it nearly impossible for the government to function, agreed to step down as Conservative Party leader Thursday but he plans to remain as caretaker prime minister until this fall, the BBC reports. The 58-year-old, who led the party to a landslide victory less than three years ago, survived numerous scandals but he was finally brought down by his mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations against Conservative MP Chris Pincher, reports the AP.

The Tuesday resignations of Treasury chief Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid were followed by a flood of more than 50 resignations, but Johnson defiantly refused to step down even as longstanding allies urged him to accept the inevitable. It's not clear whether fellow Conservatives will accept Johnson's plan to remain as prime minister until after a summer leadership race, the Guardian reports. Leaders of other parties said Johnson should depart immediately. "The idea that the Conservatives might make Boris Johnson caretaker for anything is frankly ludicrous," tweeted Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey. "The man’s never taken care of anything in his life."

Johnson's earlier attempts to resist pressure to step down brought comparisons to Donald Trump's attempts to reject the 2020 election result, with Davey quipping: "Donald Trump said a few years ago that Boris Johnson was Britain’s Trump. I’m afraid the Prime Minister is proving the former President right." By the time Johnson agreed to step down, even some of the lawmakers he had appointed to replace ministers who resigned earlier this week were calling for him to go. Michelle Donelan, who was appointed education secretary on Tuesday, resigned early Thursday after around 36 hours in the job. Johnson is expected to make a statement to the nation later Thursday, the Telegraph reports. (Read more Boris Johnson stories.)

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