London: Shaken up by mass resignations across his government, including of top Cabinet ministers, in just three days, Boris Johnson on Thursday announced he is stepping down as leader of the Conservative Party, but will remain the UK Prime Minister, till his replacement is chosen.
Addressing the media outside 10, Downing Street, the 58-year-old embattled British leader, who has faced controversies galore in his 1,079 days in power, said: “It is clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party that there should be a new leader of the party and therefore a new Prime Minister.”
He said that the process of choosing the new leader should begin now and the timetable will be announced next week.
“I’ve agreed with Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of our backbench MPs, that the process of chosing that new leader should begin now – and the timetable will be announced next week and I’ve today appointed a cabinet to serve, as I will, until a new leader is in place.”
Stressing that in politics, no one is “remotely indispensable”, he said that “our brilliant and Darwinian system will produce another leader” and assured of as as much support as he can give.
In a parting shot, Johnson said he tried to persuade colleagues it would be “eccentric” to change governments when “we’re delivering so much and such vast mandates, when the economic scene is so difficult domestically and internationally”.
He said “at Westminster the herd instinct is powerful, when the herd moves, it moves”.
“I regret to not be successful in arguments and it’s painful not to see through so many ideas and projects.”
“I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world,” he said.
“But them’s the breaks,” he added.