Speaking outside Downing Street, Boris Johnson stated that the process of selecting the new Conservative Party leader should begin immediately, with a timetable to be announced next week.
He stated that he intends to stay in office until a new Tory leader is elected.
His decision to stay in office comes despite a clear lack of support from his own party and a growing call from across the political spectrum for him to resign immediately.
Johnson expressed regret at leaving “the best job in the world,” but admitted that “no one is remotely indispensable” in politics.
Shortly after Johnson’s announcement, sterling rose 0.4 percent to $1.1979.
It comes as the number of resignations from Johnson’s government and party has surpassed 60 since Tuesday evening, with one Conservative Party member after another publicly expressing their dissatisfaction with the prime minister.
Finance Minister Nadhim Zahawi was the most recent of Johnson’s allies to urge him to “go now,” claiming that the unprecedented political crisis over his future was unsustainable and would “only worsen.”
Surprisingly, Zahawi’s request for Johnson’s resignation came just two days after the prime minister appointed him finance minister.
Finance Minister Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid were instrumental in igniting the torrent of resignations. Following a disagreement over Johnson’s decision to appoint Chris Pincher as deputy chief whip earlier this year, the two high-profile ministers resigned within minutes of each other on Tuesday evening.
Following allegations that he drunkenly groped two men at a private members’ club, Pincher resigned and was suspended as a Conservative Party MP last week. It has since been revealed that Johnson appointed him to the position despite being aware of previous allegations of misconduct against him.
Johnson expressed regret for appointing Pincher as deputy chief whip. He has repeatedly rejected calls to resign, claiming he has a “colossal mandate” to continue in office. However, by Thursday, Johnson had succumbed to political pressure and announced his resignation.
Johnson’s demise puts an end to his image as the “Teflon” prime minister. The 58-year-old former London mayor was well-known for his ability to avoid political controversy.
Johnson survived a vote of confidence called by his own MPs last month, despite growing dissatisfaction with his leadership. 211 Tory MPs voted in favor of Johnson, while 148 voted against him in a secret ballot.
Who are the leading candidates to replace Boris Johnson?
Following Johnson’s resignation, a leadership election will be held to determine who will be the next Conservative leader and prime minister.
Individual candidates must gain the support of Tory MPs, with the final two competing in a ballot of Conservative Party members.
Former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, former Health Minister Sajid Javid, former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, former Leveling Up Secretary Michael Gove, International Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt, and Defense Minister Ben Wallace are among those expected to contest the leadership.
According to polling firm YouGov, Wallace was the clear favorite among Conservative Party members to be the next party leader when individual candidates were compared.