- Scandal-ridden Johnson to quit shortly, source says.
- Cabinet ministers had resigned en masse.
- Newly-appointed finance minister said he should go.
LONDON: Boris Johnson will announce his resignation as British Prime Minister on Thursday, a government source said, after he was abandoned by ministers and his Conservative Party’s lawmakers who said he was no longer fit to govern.
With eight ministers, including two secretaries of state, resigning in the last two hours, an isolated and powerless Johnson was set to bow to the inevitable and declare his was stepping down later.
His Downing Street office confirmed that Johnson would make a statement to the country later.
After days of battling for his job, Johnson had been abandoned by all but a handful of allies after the latest in a series of scandals broke their willingness to support him.
“His resignation was inevitable,” Justin Tomlinson, Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, said on Twitter. “As a party, we must quickly unite and focus on what matters. These are serious times on many fronts.”
The Conservatives will now have to elect a new leader, a process which could take about two months.
In a sign of his evaporating support over one of the most turbulent 24 hours in recent British political history, Johnson’s finance minister, Nadhim Zahawi, who was only appointed to his post on Tuesday, had called on his boss to resign.
“This is not sustainable and it will only get worse: for you, for the Conservative Party and most importantly of all the country,” he said on Twitter. “You must do the right thing and go now.”
British education minister Michelle Donelan resigned from the government today less than 48 hours after she was appointed, saying it was the only way to force the hand of PM Johnson to quit.
“I see no way that you can continue in post, but without a formal mechanism to remove you it seems that the only way that this is… possible is for those of us who remain in Cabinet to force your hand,” Donelan wrote in a resignation letter, saying she had “pleaded” with Johnson on Wednesday to resign.
“You have put us in an impossible situation… as someone who values integrity above all else, I have no choice.”
Some of those that remained in post, including defence minister Ben Wallace, said they were only doing so because they had an obligation to keep the country safe.
There had been so many ministerial resignations that the government was facing paralysis.
The ebullient Johnson came to power nearly three years ago, promising to deliver Britain’s departure from the European Union and rescue it from the bitter wrangling that followed the 2016 Brexit referendum.
Since then, some Conservatives had enthusiastically backed the former journalist and London mayor while others, despite reservations, supported him because he was able to appeal to parts of the electorate that usually rejected their party.
That was borne out in the December 2019 election. But his administration’s combative and often chaotic approach to governing and a series of scandals have exhausted the goodwill of many of his lawmakers while opinion polls show he is no longer popular with the public at large.
The recent crisis erupted after lawmaker Chris Pincher, who held a government role involved in pastoral care, was forced to quit over accusations he groped men in a private member’s club.
Johnson had to apologise after it emerged that he was briefed that Pincher had been the subject of previous sexual misconduct complaints before he appointed him. The prime minister said he had forgotten.
This followed months of scandals and missteps, including a damning report into boozy parties at his Downing Street residence and office that broke strict COVID-19 lockdown rules and saw him fined by police over a gathering for his 56th birthday.
There have also been policy U-turns, an ill-fated defence of a lawmaker who broke lobbying rules, and criticism that he has not done enough to tackle inflation, with many Britons struggling to cope with rising fuel and food prices.
The Kremlin said that the British prime minister didn’t like Russia and that Moscow didn’t like him either.
Speaking during a call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “he (Johnson) doesn’t like us, we don’t like him either”.
Peskov said that reports that Johnson would shortly resign as prime minister were of little concern to the Kremlin.
In light of the fast-coming resignations, Sky News has compiled a list of all the ministers and secretaries who have left, been fired, promoted, and are planning to stay.
Who has resigned?
- Chancellor Rishi Sunak
- Health Secretary Sajid Javid
- Wales Secretary Simon Hart
- Children and families minister Will Quince
- Schools minister Robin Walker
- Justice minister Victoria Atkins
- Treasury minister John Glen
- Environment minister Jo Churchill
- Housing minister Stuart Andrew
- Employment minister Mims Davies
- Home Office minister Rachel Maclean
- UK exports minister Mike Freer
- Health minister Edward Argar
- Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis
- Treasury minister Helen Whately
- Security minister Damian Hinds
- Science minister George Freeman
- Education secretary Michelle Donelan, who was recently promoted to office, resigns
- Pensions minister Guy Opperman
- Parliamentary private secretary Laura Trott
- Solicitor general Alex Chalk
- Trade envoy to Morocco Andrew Murrison
- Tory Vice-Chair Bim Afolami
- Junior minister Kemi Badenoch
- Junior minister Neil O’Brien
- Junior minister Alex Burghart
- Junior minister Lee Rowley
- Junior minister Julia Lopez
- Parliamentary private secretary to the Northern Ireland secretary Jonathan Gullis
- Parliamentary private secretary to the health secretary Saqib Bhatti
- Parliamentary private secretary for the Department for Transport Nicola Richards
- Parliamentary private secretary at the Welsh Office Virginia Crosbie
- Parliamentary private secretary to the Treasury Claire Coutinho
- Parliamentary private secretary for the Department for Education David Johnston
- Parliamentary private secretary in the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Felicity Buchan
- Parliamentary private secretary at the Treasury Selaine Saxby
- Parliamentary private secretary in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Duncan Baker
- Parliamentary private secretary to the chancellor Craig Williams
- Parliamentary private secretary to the Ministers for Northern Ireland Mark Logan
- Prime minister’s trade envoy to Kenya Theo Clarke
- Parliamentary private secretary in the Department for Business Mark Fletcher
- Parliamentary private secretary in the Department for Education Sara Britcliffe
- Parliamentary private secretary in the Scotland Office Ruth Edwards
- Parliamentary private secretary in the Department for Trade Peter Gibson
- Trade envoy for Angola and Zambia David Duguid
- Parliamentary private secretary in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs James Sunderland
- Parliamentary private secretary in the Department for Levelling Up Jacob Young
- Parliamentary private secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions James Daly
- Trade envoy for New Zealand David Mundell
- Parliamentary private secretary at the Department of Health Gareth Davies
- Private secretary at the Department of Health James Davies
Who’s been fired?
- Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary Michael Gove
Who got promotions?
- Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi will become the next chancellor
- Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and minister for the Cabinet Office Steve Barclay has been promoted to health secretary
Who is staying?
- Justice Secretary Dominic Raab
- Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries
- Brexit opportunities minister Jacob Rees-Mogg
- Scotland Secretary Alister Jack
- Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng
- Attorney General Suella Braverman
- Home Secretary Priti Patel
- Defence Secretary Ben Wallace
- International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan
- Foreign Secretary Liz Truss
- Transport Secretary Grant Shapps
- Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis
- Chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris
- Cabinet minister Alok Sharma
- Cabinet minister Michael Ellis
- Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke
- Lord Privy Seal, and Leader of the House of Lords Baroness Evans
- Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions Therese Coffey