Boris Johnson quits as prime minister but vows to stay until October
- Credit: PA
Boris Johnson has confirmed his resignation as Conservative leader in a statement read outside Downing Street.
The prime minister said it was “eccentric” to change governments at this stage but “I regret not to have been successful in those arguments”.
A new Tory leader will now be elected who will replace Mr Johnson in No 10, with the appointment set to be made before the party conference in October.
The lectern was put in place at 12.23pm ready for the prime minister's appearance, who later arrived at 12.31pm.
Mr Johnson said it is “clearly the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party that there should be a new leader” as he announced his resignation.
He added he was “immensely proud of the achievements of this government”, from getting Brexit done to getting the UK through the pandemic, and leading the West in standing up to Putin’s aggression in Ukraine.
Mr Johnson said he had tried to persuade his cabinet it would be “eccentric” to change prime minister now but “I regret not to have been successful in those arguments”.
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He acknowledged that “in politics, no one is remotely indispensable” as he announced his resignation as Tory leader and prime minister.
Mr Johnson intends to remain in No 10 until his successor is elected, but he faces resistance to that plan from within his own party and the opposition.
He has already appointed new cabinet ministers to replace MPs who quit as part of the mass ministerial exodus in protest at his leadership.
He said: "I’ve agreed with Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of our backbench MPs, that the process of choosing that new leader should begin now and the timetable will be announced next week.
“And I’ve today appointed a cabinet to serve, as I will, until a new leader is in place.”
Addressing the British public, he said: “I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world, but them’s the breaks.”
Foreign secretary Liz Truss said the Conservative Party needed “calmness and unity” until a new leader is elected.
She tweeted: “The PM has made the right decision.
“The government under Boris’s leadership had many achievements – delivering Brexit, vaccines and backing Ukraine.
“We need calmness and unity now and to keep governing while a new leader is found.”
The resignation follows a turbulent 48 hours that saw over 50 MPs quit their positions after a series of scandals.
This includes, most recently, his handling of claims of inappropriate behaviour levelled at former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher.
Party heavyweights Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid were the first to announce their resignation on Tuesday evening within minutes of Mr Johnson apologising for appointing Mr Pincher to the senior role in a co-ordinated plot to oust the prime minister.