Boris Johnson ‘regretfully’ announces resignation, will remain PM until successor is chosen

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson takes part in a Cabinet Meeting at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office on September 15, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Jonathan Buckmaster - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Boris Johnson announced his resignation on Thursday, saying he regretted not being able to stay on as Britain’s prime minister.

“Of course, it is painful to not to be able to see through so many ideas and projects,” Johnson said at the door of Number 10 Downing Street. “It is sad to be giving up the best job in the world, but no one is remotely indispensable in politics.”

Johnson says he intends to remain in place until a new Conservative leader is elected.

His decision to remain in office comes despite a clear lack of support from within his own party and a growing push across the political spectrum for him to step down immediately.

Johnson on Wednesday rejected calls to resign, arguing that he had a mandate from the voters to remain in office. But on Thursday morning following the resignations of two more members of his Cabinet, one of his closest allies, Treasury Chief Nadhim Zahawi, publicly told him to resign for the good of the country.

Bernard Jenkin, another senior Conservative Party lawmaker, said he met with Johnson on Wednesday and advised him to stand down.

“I just said to him, ‘Look, it’s just when you go now, and it’s how you go. You can go with some dignity or you can be forced out like Donald Trump, clinging to power and pretending he’s won the election when he’s lost,” Jenkin told the BBC before Johnson agreed to resign.

The election to pick a new leader of the Conservative Party, who will also be the next prime minister, is likely to take place over the summer.

Below is how a process to find Johnson’s successor will work:

– Candidates putting themselves forward for the leadership, and there could be many, must be nominated by two other Conservative lawmakers.

– Conservative lawmakers then hold several rounds of votes to whittle down the field. Each time they are asked to vote for their favoured candidate in a secret ballot, and the person with the fewest votes is eliminated.

– This process is repeated until there are two candidates remaining. Votes previously have been held every Tuesday and Thursday but parliament is due to break for its six-week summer recess on July 21 so the process may have to be accelerated.

– The final two candidates are then put to a postal ballot of the wider Conservative Party membership, with the winner named the new leader.

– The leader of the party with a majority in the House of Commons is the de facto prime minister. He or she does not have to call a snap election, but has the power to do so.

The duration of the process is dependent on how many people decide to seek the office.

Story compiled with assistance from wire reports