Boris Johnson has resigned his position as Conservative Party leader saying: “No one in politics is remotely indispensable.”
In a speech outside 10 Downing Street this afternoon, he confirmed he plans to remain on as Prime Minister until a replacement is elected.
He said the process of choosing the new Conservative Party leader “should begin now” adding that a timetable will be announced next week.
"I want you to know how disappointed I am to be giving up the best job in the world. But thems the breaks" says Johnson
— Seán Defoe (@SeanDefoe) July 7, 2022
Moments before addressing the nation this morning, he appointed several new Cabinet ministers.
In his speech, he said he would serve alongside that Cabinet until a new leader is in place.
Vote of no confidence
Earlier, opposition parties in the UK warned that they would table a vote of no confidence if he tried to “cling on” as “caretaker” PM.
Labour leader Keir Starmer said: “he needs to go completely”, adding “none of this nonsense about clinging on for a few months”.
“He's inflicted lies, fraud and chaos in the country,” he said.
“And, you know, we're stuck with a government which isn't functioning in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.”
Lib Dem leader Ed Davey said his party would support the Labour motion should Mr Johnson refuse to leave immediately.
"Them's the breaks"
Addressing the British public, Mr Johnson 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.”
He thanked the people that voted Tory in the last election and claimed the reason he fought so long to remain in office was because “I thought it was my job, my duty and my obligation to you”.
He noted that he tried and failed to persuade his Cabinet it would be “eccentric” to change prime minister at the current time.
“At Westminster, the herd instinct is powerful and when the herd moves, it moves,” he said.
Here at home, the Irish Government won't be sorry to see Boris Johnson go.
One source said it's a chance for a major reset – and a Government that obeys international law and honours it’s word.
Meanwhile, attention has already turned to who will replace Johnson.
Ben Wallace is the favourite among a poll of Tory Party members, followed by Penny Mourdaunt, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss.
That last in that list is an appointment the Irish Government would be concerned about given her role to date in talks on the Northern Ireland Protocol.
It emerged this morning that Johnson had agreed to the step down.
It follows a wave of resignations over the past two days – starting with the exit of his Chancellor and Health Minister on Tuesday.
The mass rebellion began after Downing Street admitted Mr Johnson knew about allegations of inappropriate behaviour against former Tory MP Chris Pincher when he appointed him to the role of Conservative Party Deputy Chief Whip in February.
Mr Pincher resigned from the role last week after he was accused of groping two men in a private members club.
It then emerged on Monday that he had already been investigated for his conduct three years ago.
On Tuesday, it was confirmed that Mr Johnson was told about the investigation in 2019, despite Downing Street saying for days that he was unaware of specific allegations against him.
That evening, Mr Johnson gave an interview in which he apologised for making the appointment saying it “was a mistake” and “in hindsight, the wrong thing to do”.
The first ministerial resignations came just minutes after the interview aired.