Boris Johnson has announced his intention to step down as leader of the Conservative party.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nadine Dorries, Carrie Johnson and a number of MPs and Downing Street staff gathered outside No 10 to hear his adress at around 12:30 pm today.
Johnson said he will remain as PM until a new leader of the Conservative Party is selected in a leadership contest.
However The Telegraph claims 1922 chairman Sir Graham Brady did not agree this course of action with Boris Johnson, saying they merely said a new leader would be in office by October party conference.
Referring to the forthcoming leadership election, he stressed that: “Our brilliant and Darwinian system will select a new leader”, and says the Tories are still several point ahead in the polls. He said new Tory leader will have his support.
Johnson said that he is “sad to be giving up the best job in the world.”
He did not apologise for the Pincher scandal that has dominated recent days.
He went on to list what he saw as his “achievements” while in office.
“The reason I have fought so hard over the last few days to continue to deliver that mandate in person was not just because I wanted to do so, but because I felt it was my job, my duty, my obligation to you.”I’m immensely proud of the achievements of this government in getting Brexit done, to settling our relations with the continent… reclaiming the power for this country to make its own laws in Parliament.”Getting this country through the pandemic, getting the fastest vaccine roll-out in Europe, the fastest exit from lockdown, and in the last few months leading the West in standing up to Putin’s aggression in Ukraine.”
The PM thanked his staff and “you, the British public for the immense privilege you have given me” and said their interests will be served as he stays in place, awaiting a new Tory leader.
“But them’s the breaks.”
He thanked his wife and children for their support.
He finished: “Even if things seem dark now, our future together is golden.”
He was applauded as he re-entered No 10.
Following the PM’ statement, foreign secretary Liz Truss said via Twitter: “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.”
She is currently travelling back from a G20 summit in Indonesia.
Foreign affairs committee chair Tom Tugendhat, who has been critical of Johnson’s leadership, tweeted: “Right call by Boris Johnson to resign. Delivered Brexit, rolled out the vaccine and led on Ukraine. Now we need a clean start.”
A snap poll released today by YouGov found that defence secretary Ben Wallace as the favourite to replace Johnson in a Tory leadership race.
Ahead of his speech, the prime minister enacted a reshuffle following mass resignations.
James Cleverly has been made education secretary and Greg Clark MP is now Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary.
More to follow