The decision comes at a time when his newly-elected Finance Minister Nadhim Zahawi said ‘he must go’
New Delhi: Boris Johnson on Thursday agreed to resign as Conservative leader after losing the support of his ministers.
A report by BBC said that a Conservative leadership contest will be held this summer and a new prime minister will be in place in time for the party conference in October.
A new Tory leader is expected to be in place by the time of the Conservative Party conference in October, it added.
The reports come after a slew of resignations in the UK government over the last few days. More than 50 Tory MPs quit the UK government in a period of less than 48 hours.
The Telegraph quoted its sources saying that Johnson spoke with Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs, and agreed to stand down.
Initially, Johnson had vowed to fight on, despite clamoring pressure on him to quit and an ongoing wave of resignations.
As many as eight ministers, including two secretaries of state, resigned in the last two hours.
Johnson ‘go now’ says UK Finance Minister Nadhim Zahawi
Iraqi-born Nadhim Zahawi, who was promoted to the post of Britain’s finance minister late on Tuesday, today told Johnson to resign, saying the crisis engulfing the government would only get worse.
“This is not sustainable and it will only get worse, for you, for the Conservative Party and most importantly of all the country,” Zahawi said on Twitter after a slew of ministers and aides resigned from the government.
“You must do the right thing and go now,” he added.
The UK’s finance minister did not say he had resigned, but said that on Wednesday evening he accompanied his cabinet colleagues to the prime minister’s office in 10 Downing Street to tell Johnson to “leave with dignity”.
“I am heartbroken that he hasn’t listened and that he is now undermining the incredible achievements of this government,” Zahawi said.
He further said, “The country deserves a government that is not only stable, but which acts with integrity. Prime Minister you know in your heart what the right thing to do is, and go now.”
Why ministers in UK are resigning?
Johnson rose to power on a promise to “get Brexit done”. In July 2019, Johnson became UK’s prime minister after winning a Tory leadership contest. Five months from then, he went on to win a historic landslide general election victory.
Johnson’s popularity waned after a series of scandals following police fines over coronavirus lock down parties, the cost of decorating his official home among others.
The fresh revolt started this week after revelations about the prime minister’s handling of sexual misconduct accusations against former Deputy Chief Whip Chris Pincher.
On Tuesday (5 July), senior ministers from the UK cabinet – Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid – stepped down, expressing a lack of confidence in Johnson’s leadership.
The Chris Pincher scandal
In February this year, Pincher, a Conservative lawmaker, was promoted by Johnson to the position of deputy chief whip in the House of Commons. The leadership role includes keeping Conservative Party members voting in line with the government’s legislative agenda.
However, Pincher resigned from the post last week amid a scandal, as the British media reported that he had allegedly tried to grope number of men while intoxicated at a bar.
In a letter to Johnson, Pincher wrote that he “drank far too much” and “embarrassed myself and other people” at a gathering.
Notably, Pincher had at least twice before had been accused of inappropriate behavior. He resigned from his post as government whip in 2017 after a Conservative Party activist accused him of making unwanted advances toward him. In 2019, after Johnson brought Pincher back into government, he was again accused of similar misbehavior.
With inputs from agencies.
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