Boris Johnson to resign as UK prime minister: Reports

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to resign on Thursday, ending an administration that has been rocked by scandal.

British media reports that the embattled prime minister will make a statement to the country Thursday announcing his resignation. Johnson is expected to remain as prime minister until October.

Nadhim Zahawi, appointed U.K. Chancellor on Tuesday, had called for Johnson’s resignation on Thursday, following the departure of Education Secretary Michelle Donelan, who was also appointed on Tuesday following the resignation of her predecessor.

“Prime Minister, you know in your heart what the right thing to do is, and go now,” Zahawi wrote in a letter posted on social media.

Johnson’s departure follows a dramatic reshuffle of leadership this week as scores of high-ranking officials said they were resigning, including Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, and Health Secretary Sajid Javid. The exodus from Johnson’s Cabinet continued on Wednesday when Donelan and Stuart Andrew, Britain’s housing minister, submitted resignations.

TWO TOP MINISTERS RESIGN FROM JOHNSON ADMINISTRATION

Johnson faced a rising tide of calls for his resignation after No. 10 Downing Street admitted to knowing that a top Conservative member of Parliament, Chris Pincher, had a history of alleged sexual misconduct but still elevated him to the position of deputy chief whip. Pincher tendered his resignation from the role last week after allegations surfaced that he groped two men during a boozy night out at a club.

Johnson told reporters on Tuesday that it was a “mistake” to promote Pincher and had insisted on Wednesday he will continue to serve as prime minister despite the “difficult circumstances” of the job.

Britain Politics
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, center, looks at his notes at the start of a Cabinet meeting.

(Justin Tallis/Pool Photo via AP)

Earlier this year, Johnson refused to resign amid the so-called Partygate scandal, during which investigations were opened to look into whether Downing Street staff broke COVID-19 protocols by throwing parties during the pandemic when the country was in lockdown and whether Johnson lied to Parliament about them. Johnson and Sunak were among those fined by London’s Metropolitan Police.

Johnson faced increasing pressure to step down from members of his own Conservative Party, including from Bim Afolami, a vice chairman for the party who resigned Tuesday. Other members of the Conservative Party called for another vote of “no confidence” against Johnson, even going so far as to call for a change to existing laws that state a prime minister who survived a vote of “no confidence” is safe from a repeat vote for 12 months.

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Johnson, a former mayor of London, became prime minister in 2019 and led the United Kingdom through Brexit after a 2016 referendum resulted in the country leaving the European Union.

Allies of Johnson praised his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and the country’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine but said the time had come for his resignation.