Boris Johnson resigns: Prime minister addresses the nation about his decision to quit as PM

BORIS Johnson has quit as Tory leader after admitting he failed to persuade cabinet colleagues that he could fight on.

The prime minister said it was ‘eccentric’ to change governments at this stage but ‘I regret not to have been successful in those arguments’.During his brief five-minute speech, the PM said the process to find a new Conservative leader should begin now and that the timetable would be announced next week.

The PM said he would remain in place until a new leader was elected.

Mr Johnson said it was ‘clearly the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party that there should be a new leader’ as he announced his resignation.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson reads a statement outside 10 Downing Street, London, formally resigning as Conservative Party leader after ministers and MPs made clear his position was untenable. He will remain as Prime Minister until a successor is in place. Picture date: Thursday July 7, 2022.

‘I know there will be many people who are relieved and perhaps a little disappointed but I want to let you know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world but them’s the brakes.

‘Above all I want to thank you, the British public, for the immense privilege that you have given me and I want you to know that from now on until the new prime minister is in place that your interests will be served and the government of the country will carry on.’

Mr Johnson said 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.

Addressing the people of Ukraine, the outgoing premier said ‘we in the UK will continue to back your fight for freedom for as long as it takes’.

Members of the public stand outside the gates of Downing Street as Prime Minister Boris Johnson reads a statement outside 10 Downing Street, London, as he formally resigns as Conservative Party leader after ministers and MPs made clear his position was untenable. He will remain as Prime Minister until a successor is in place. Picture date: Thursday July 7, 2022.

‘Let me say now to the people of Ukraine, that I know that we in the UK will continue to back your fight for freedom for as long as it takes,’ he declared.

‘And, at the same time, in this country we’ve been pushing forward a vast programme of investment in infrastructure and skills and technology, the biggest in a century.

‘Because if I have one insight into human beings, it is that genius and talent and enthusiasm and imagination are evenly distributed throughout the population, but opportunity is not, and that’s why we must keep levelling up, keep unleashing the potential of every part of the United Kingdom.

‘If we can do that in this country, we will be the most prosperous in Europe.’

Prime minister Boris Johnson reads a statement outside 10 Downing Street

Mr Johnson added he had tried to persuade his cabinet it would be ‘eccentric’ to change PM now but ‘I regret not to have been successful in those arguments’.

But he acknowledged that ‘in politics, no one is remotely indispensable’ as he announced his resignation as Tory leader.

His appearance in Downing Street followed a turbulent morning in Westminster.

Mr Johnson was still reshuffling his cabinet in the moments before he took to the lectern outside Number 10.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks into 10 Downing Street, London, after reading a statement formally resigning as Conservative Party leader after ministers and MPs made clear his position was untenable.

Meanwhile, outside Downing Street, huge crowds of people had gathered with some singing ‘bye bye Boris’ to the tune of the Bay City Rollers 1975 hit ‘Bye Bye Baby’.

It came as calls grew for him to bow out now rather than remain in a caretaker role.

The PM will quit as Tory leader after ministers and MPs made clear his position was untenable, with support crumbing around him in recent days.

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Mr Johnson said he sought to stay as PM because he felt it was his ‘obligation’ to continue to do what the Tories promised in 2019.

‘I want to say to the millions of people who voted for us in 2019, many of them voting Conservative for the first time, thank you for that incredible mandate, the biggest Conservative majority since 1987, the biggest share of the vote since 1979,’ he said.

Carrie Johnson, holding daughter Romy, watches Boris Johnson as he reads a statement outside 10 Downing Street

‘And the reason I have fought so hard in 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 to continue to do what we promised in 2019.

‘And of course, I’m immensely proud of the achievements of this government.’