Following a series of scandals, and a mass resignation of ministers, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will resign on Thursday, state broadcaster BBC has reported.
Boris Johnson will step down as the leader of the UK’s Conservative Party later today, the BBC claims. However, he will reportedly continue as prime minister until autumn.
According to BBC political editor Chris Mason, a Conservative leadership race will take place this summer and a new PM will be in place in time for the Tory party conference in October.
The announcement comes after more than 50 members of Johnson’s government resigned in the last couple of days, including key figures such as the ministers of finance and education.
On Wednesday Johnson aide James Duddridge told Sky News that the prime minister “will fight on,” refusing to resign despite the mounting pressure to do so. “He has a 14-million mandate and so much to do for the country,” Duddridge said.
Despite surviving a no-confidence vote in Parliament last month, Johnson and his cabinet have been increasingly embroiled in a number of controversies. In May, an internal inquiry confirmed that government officials had routinely flouted Covid-19 social distancing rules, and several of them, including Johnson himself, were fined.
On Wednesday, Johnson admitted that he made a “bad mistake” by appointing Chris Pincher as deputy chief whip, an official tasked with marshaling government procedures. Pincher resigned from his post late last week following allegations of sexual misconduct.
Following the fiasco with Pincher, a number of MPs began resigning from their posts and wrote brutal assessments of Johnson’s performance as prime minister, demanding he should go. By Thursday morning, there were at least 53 resignations, including four cabinet ministers.
Nadhim Zahawi, who was appointed chancellor on Tuesday, turned on Johnson on Thursday and told him to step down. He tweeted: “Prime Minister: this is not sustainable and it will only get worse: for you, for the Conservative Party and most importantly of all the country. You must do the right thing and go now.”
While Johnson is reportedly expected to remain in his role as PM until the autumn, a number of ex-ministers say they think it is not possible for him to do so.
“He needs to be gone by tonight, [Dominic] Raab should take over,” one former official reportedly told The Guardian. Another said that Johnson “needs to hand in the seals of office today and go. So we can have a caretaker PM.”
Scotland’s prime minister also stated on Twitter that she does not believe Johnson staying on as PM until autumn is “sustainable,” noting that he was never fit for the role and never should have been elected by the Conservative Party as their leader.