Boris Johnson to resign as prime minister

Boris Johnson is reportedly set to resign as prime minister this morning.

According to BBC News, Boris Johnson hopes to remain on as caretaker leader until the autumn while the Conservatives elect a new leader.

Johnson reportedly came to the decision Thursday morning (6 July) after a final tranche of resignations, including those of newly-appointed education minister Michelle Donelan, and security minister Damian Hinds. Newly-appointed chancellor Nadim Zahawi, while not quitting, also released a letter calling for Johnson to go.

On Wednesday, Johnson had been insistent that he would continue on despite more than 40 payroll resignations.

Boris Johnson survived Partygate and multiple other scandals, but in the end, it was his support for Chris Pincher that was the final nail in his coffin.

Pincher resigned as the party’s deputy chief whip after he was accused of groping two men. Other allegations have since surfaced against him, including incidents reported before Johnson appointed him as a whip.

Downing Street initially denied Johnson had any knowledge of the previous accusations of sexual misconduct against Pincher – until Johnson’s office admitted he did, but promoted him regardless.

For many, including chancellor Rishi Sunak and health secretary Sajid Javid, this was the final straw. Their registrations, within minutes of one another set the stage for a final reckoning.

The Conservative Party leader was once thought invincible. He survived disgraces seemingly no other leader would – the alcohol-soaked, lawbreaking lockdown parties in Downing Street, a fine from police, a failed no-confidence vote and his handling of a pandemic that resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Boris Johnson’s time as prime minister came to an end following a wave of bitter resignations from his once-loyal ministers. (JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

But after more than two dozen disaffected government officials – including top Cabinet ministers – resigned, the knife was twisted.

Johnson knows well how such high-level resignations can be catalysts for the beginning of the end. He stepped down as foreign secretary in 2018, getting the ball rolling for then-prime minister Theresa May to face a no-confidence vote.

She survived by a larger margin than Johnson did, but resigned shortly after.

Johnson’s government collapsing around him, he pushed through. He vowed to stay on as prime minister, as he told parliament on Wednesday: “The job of a prime minister in difficult circumstances when he’s been handed a colossal mandate, is to keep going.”

Hours later, a group of own cabinet ministers, including Nadhim Zahawi, who who marched into Downing Street to tell Johnson to resign. He resisted, but on Thursday morning has apparently realised that resistance is futile, his government left unable to function and his support base almost entirely evaporated.

Johnson’s party promised a lot to the LGBTQ+ community. A reformed Gender Recognition Act, a trans-inclusive conversion therapy bill and a conference to celebrate the global LGBTQ+ community.

None of this happened. The government scrapped the GRA reforms, refused to protect trans people from its already-delayed conversion therapy and cancelled the Safe to Be Me conference after more than 100 LGBTQ+ groups pulled out in opposition to Johnson.

The Tories have increasingly taken aim at trans rights in a way some LGBTQ+ community leaders see as Trumpian at best, with claims that trans women shouldn’t compete in sports and that gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth “borders on ideological“.

Britain was, after all, top of ILGA-Europe’s ranking of the most LGBTQ+ friendly nations in Europe in 2014.

Now it stands at 14.

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