Boris Johnson to quit as Conservative leader, but will remain PM

by IANS |

London, July 7 (IANS) Following a series of mass resignations by Cabinet members, Boris Johnson will resign as leader of the UK's Conservative Party on Thursday, but will continue as Prime Minister until later this year.

Regarding the resignation, "the Prime Minister will make a statement to the country today", the BBC quoted a Downing Street spokesperson as saying.

He had vowed to "keep going" following a wave of resignations from the government over his leadership but has now decided to step down.

A Conservative leadership race will take place soon and a new Prime Minister will be in place in time for the Conservative Party conference in October.

Earlier on Thursday, Caroline Johnson resigned as vice chair of the Conservative Party, as well as Nadhim Zahawi and Michelle Donelan, who were only appointed as the Chancellor and Education Secretary respectively on Tuesday, have also quit.

In his resignation letter, Zahawi, who was given the job less than 48 hours ago, said he had "made clear to the Prime Minister" that he should "leave with dignity", the BBC reported.

In her resignation letter, Donelan said that "I see no way that you (Johnson) continue in post, but without a formal mechanism to remove you it seems that the only way this is only possible, is for those of us who remain in cabinet to force your hand".

Ministers Helen Whately, Damian Hinds, George Freeman, Guy Opperman, Chris Philp, and James Cartlidge have also stepped down.

Two of the biggest resignations on Tuesday were that of Indian-origin Rishi Sunak from the post of Chancellor and Pakistani-origin Sajid Javid as the Secretary of State for Health.

Sunak did not directly accuse the Prime Minister of impropriety in his letter of resignation but instead highlighted ideological and policy differences, which sounded like him advocating fiscal prudence versus Johnson wanting to borrow and spend.

Javid said he can no longer serve in Johnson's government in "good conscience" as he has "lost confidence" in the Prime Minister.

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