(CMR) British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resigned as leader of the Conservative Party under pressure from lawmakers in his own party. His resignation comes as he faces public distrust and mounting discontent in his own party and government.
Johnson decided to quit after a crushing number of his lawmakers said he was no longer fit to govern just a month after he survived a vote of confidence.
Dozens of ministers in Johnson's government resigned over the past 24 hours as a cascade of scandals finally caught up to the prime minister. In remarks outside 10 Downing Street, Johnson said this was a “painful” moment.
“It is clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party that there should be a new leader … and therefore a new prime minister,” Johnson said.
Johnson's decision to step down as the leader of the ruling Conservative Party will trigger a leadership race, with the winner set to become the United Kingdom's fourth prime minister in the six years since the June 2016 Brexit referendum. Johnson said he planned to remain in office until a successor is chosen.
Months of fury over the scandal, known in the U.K. as “partygate,” sent poll ratings for Johnson and his party plummeting. He and his wife were booed as they arrived for a Platinum Jubilee event last month.
Johnson narrowly survived a vote of no confidence among his own lawmakers, leaving him damaged but still in power and his party bitterly divided. But within weeks, another scandal forced a lawmaker to step down from his senior role involving party discipline and welfare amid sexual misconduct allegations.
His decision to promote a lawmaker, Chris Pincher, to a position of power even though Johnson knew Pincher had been the subject of a sexual harassment complaint became the breaking point for several supporters.
“It's very sad, but I'm relieved that he has stood down. I just wish we hadn't been through these last few days. It must have been painful for his family and certainly painful for the country to watch,” John Baron, a lawmaker from eastern England, told NBC News on Thursday.