U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Thursday he is resigning, ending an unprecedented political crisis over his future that has paralyzed Britain’s government.
In a statement at Downing Street Johnson said that he would stay as PM until his Conservative party finds a successor.
He said it was “clearly now the will of the parliamentary party” for there to be a new PM.
He said that he has tried to persuade colleagues that changing the leader would be “eccentric”. But he failed to persuade them, he admitted- even though the party has a “vast mandate” and is only “a handful of points behind in the polls”.
He says in politics “no one is remotely indispensable”.
Johnson had until Thursday rebuffed calls by his Cabinet to step down in the wake of ethics scandals. He gave in after more than 40 ministers quit his government and told him to go.
Who will replace Boris Johnson?
It was not immediately clear whether Johnson would stay in office while the Conservative Party chooses a new leader, who will replace him as prime minister.
A group of Johnson’s most trusted Cabinet ministers visited him at his office in Downing Street Wednesday, telling him to stand down after losing the trust of his party. But Johnson instead opted to fight for his political career and fired one of the Cabinet officials, Michael Gove, British media reported.
It is rare for a prime minister to cling on to office in the face of this much pressure from his Cabinet colleagues. The Guardian’s frontpage on Thursday called him “Desperate, deluded.”
“He’s breached the trust that was put in him. He needs to recognize that he no longer has the moral authority to lead. And for him, it’s over,” Scottish National Party leader Ian Blackford told The Associated Press.