LONDON — Scandal-ridden British Prime Minister Boris Johnson capitulated to mounting pressure to step down Thursday, announcing his decision after days of high-profile government resignations and calls from fellow Conservative Party members to quit.
“In the past few weeks, I have been trying to convince my colleagues it would be eccentric to change governments when we have achieved so much,” he said in his speech outside No. 10 Downing St. amid loud booing from the crowd nearby. “I regret not to be successful in those arguments and, of course, it’s painful not to be able to see through those projects myself.”
Johnson also said he planned to remain as prime minister until a successor is chosen — a move that may face opposition from others in an increasingly hostile Parliament.
Image: Conservative Leader And Prime Minister Boris Johnson Resigns From Office
Boris Johnson announced his resignation outside No. 10 Downing St. on Thursday. Leon Neal / Getty Images
In his speech, he hailed his government’s achievements, including supporting Ukraine after the Russian invasion and weathering the Covid pandemic.
He becomes the third consecutive British prime minister to resign before their term in recent years, following in the footsteps of Theresa May and David Cameron.
While Johnson was met by applause from colleagues on Downing Street, boos from a crowd nearby threatened to drown out his speech. Meanwhile, a loudspeaker blasted a reworked version of the Bay City Rollers song “Bye Bye Baby” with the lyrics changed to “Bye bye Boris.”
Some in the crowd celebrated Johnson’s departure.
“He’s a born liar and you can’t have faith in someone who tells that many lies,” said Diane Flynn, 40, who was visiting London from Glasgow in Scotland.
Months of discontent over Johnson’s judgment and ethics within his governing party erupted with the resignations of Treasury chief Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid within minutes of each other Tuesday evening.
The final straw for them was the prime minister’s shifting explanations about his handling of sexual misconduct allegations within Conservative Party ranks.
Calls for Johnson’s resignation had only intensified in the hours that followed, during which more than 50 other members of the government also resigned.
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