In the end, things went faster than expected: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will resign from office. The reactions from politics were not long in coming.
In the end, the house of cards surrounding Britain’s prime minister collapsed faster than expected. After the open revolt against him, according to media reports, Johnson resigned as party leader of the Conservatives on Thursday. A government spokesman announced that the prime minister would address the nation on Thursday. According to reports from the BBC, the change of government will not be finalized until autumn, and Johnson wants to remain in office until then.
After a whole series of scandals, more than 50 ministers and other government officials had resigned in protest against Johnson since Tuesday evening. On Thursday morning, the new Minister of Education, Michelle Donelan, who was appointed only two days ago after the resignation of her predecessor, resigned. A few minutes earlier, Finance Minister Nadhim Zahawi, who was also appointed by Johnson just two days ago, had asked him via Twitter to “do the right thing and leave now”.
The reactions from politics were not long in coming.
Labor leader Keir Starmer: ‘We need real change of government’
Opposition leader Keir Starmer of the Social Democrat Labor Party was one of the first senior politicians to speak out.
“The Conservatives have delivered 12 years of economic stagnation, declining public services and empty promises. We don’t need to replace the Tories at the top – we need a real change of government. We need a fresh start for Britain,” the 59-year-old tweeted. In a letter attached to the tweet, the Labor leader wrote that Johnson’s resignation was “good news for the country” but came far too late. The prime minister was unfit for the office from the start and responsible for lies, scandals and fraud. “Enough is enough,” concludes Starmer.
George Freeman, who only announced his resignation as Science Secretary this morning, goes one step further. He urged Johnson to apologize to Queen Elizabeth and appoint an Acting Prime Minister immediately. “We need ministers back to their desks,” Freeman tweeted.
Scottish Prime Minister Sturgeon: The Tories should never have elected Boris Johnson as leader
Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks of a “widespread feeling of relief” that the “chaos of the past few days” will now come to an end.
However, she doubts that Johnson will be able to remain in office until the fall. Like Starmer, she attests that Johnson was the wrong person to be prime minister from the start. The Tories should never have made him leader.
Simon Hoare, conservative chairman of the committee for Northern Ireland, also finds it implausible that Johnson will hold out until the autumn. Although the situation is “unconstitutional territory”, “but he has to go and to go means to go,” Hoare tweeted.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow belatedly announces her resignation
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow is a little late in joining the row of mutinous ministers. The 61-year-old announced in the morning that she was resigning from her post. In a letter to Johnson published on Twitter, which she apparently wrote before his resignation, she writes that the prime minister’s position is “no longer tenable”.
“Westminster is a mess,” attests Economics Minister Kwasi Kwarteng.
He, too, calls for a new head of government “as soon as possible”. The wheels of government must keep turning.
Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s former right-hand man, hits the outgoing prime minister particularly hard. Cummings, now seen as Johnson’s nemesis, is urging Conservatives to impeach the prime minister today. “Put him out TODAY or he will cause carnage,” Cummings tweeted.
Editor’s Note: This article will be continuously updated.
Sources: BBC; “The Guardians”; AFP