By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Boris Johnson stepped down as leader of the Conservative Party on Thursday, making way for a new prime minister, following an avalanche of resignations by members of his party that eroded his authority and paralyzed the British government.
Johnson did not become emotional, nor did he apologize for the behavior that brought the 58-year-old politician to this low point.
Instead, he blamed his party for his downfall, comparing his fellow lawmakers to stampeding animals. “As we have seen at Westminster … when the herd moves, it moves. And my friends, in politics, no one is remotely indispensable,” Johnson said.
There will be no general election. Instead, the next leader of Britain will be chosen in a vote by dues paying members of the Conservative Party, which will remain in power. Johnson said he would serve until a new leader is in place, which could take six weeks or longer. He appointed a new Cabinet of officials to replace all the ministers who had abandoned him.
Johnson paid tribute to his wife, Carrie, who was watching his speech with their young daughter in her arms. Johnson said they had been through “so much,” but he did not signal any of it was his fault.
“I know there are many people who are relieved, and perhaps quite a few who will also be disappointed. I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world. But them’s the breaks,” Johnson said.
In the end, it wasn’t a policy failure that ended his premiership. It wasn’t a money scandal involving dodgy deals or crony contracts. It wasn’t really a lack of vision. What did in Johnson was his constant bobbing, weaving and ducking. His dissembling. His prevarications over a series of scandals — coronavirus lockdown parties, the refurbishment of his official apartment and the appointment of an ally accused of sexual misconduct.
Johnson is hardly the first Conservative leader to have been shoved aside by his party, which is famous for ditching its leaders quickly when they are no longer assets. Even Winston Churchill resigned — after being given a gentle push — as his health declined in his later years.
Johnson’s predecessor, May, was forced out after she was unable to get her Brexit deal through Parliament following opposition within her party, including from Johnson. May managed just over three years in office — Johnson has ruled for just under three years.