In his resignation speech, Boris Johnson regretted “having to leave the best job in the world” and said he was proud of how he led the United Kingdom, citing the campaign against the coronavirus, the rapid distribution of the vaccine and the post-Brexit deal. The announcement was made in London, at h (9 am, Brasília time).
“This is the will of the Conservative Party,” Johnson declared, saying that party colleagues forced him to withdraw. The former prime minister agreed to resign from the presidency of the party this Thursday (07), after 50 officials have left the government in the last few days, three of them in the last 24 hours. The politician stressed that he tried to argue against his own resignation in recent days, but he did not get support from lawmakers.
One of his closest allies, the head of the Treasury, Nadhim Zahawi, asked the first -minister to resign “for the good of the country”. “Prime Minister: this is not sustainable and it will only get worse: for you, for the Conservative Party and most importantly: for the whole country,” Zahawi said in a letter to Johnson.
Foreign Secretary Lizz Truss, one of the top names polled as possible replacements for Johnson, announced that the resignation was the best choice for the UK.
During the speech, Johnson stated that he intends to remain in charge of the United Kingdom until October, if the party allows, until the next leadership takes over. Chris Loder, an MP for the Conservative Party, opposes the proposal. “The government cannot function without ministers and I hope the deputy prime minister takes office soon until the next elections,” Loder posted on Twitter.
Almost three years in power
Boris Johnson, 58 years old, remained in power for almost three years, despite criticism that surrounded him. But recent revelations that Johnson knew about sexual harassment allegations against lawmaker Chris Pincher, before promoting him, were the final straw.
Johnson took over as British prime minister at the end of July 2019, at the request of Queen Elizabeth II, who invited him to form a cabinet, after he had assumed the leadership of the Conservative Party.
“I want to say to the millions of people who voted for 2019, many voting Conservative for the first time, thank you for this incredible tenure, the most extensive Conservative majority since 1987, the largest share of votes since 1979”, Johnson declared in the farewell.
Before announcing his resignation, the politician, who became one of the most controversial figures in the United Kingdom, experienced important moments as a British executive.
One of Johnson’s main promises in 2019 was to complete the United Kingdom’s exit from the Eur Union. opeia, which had been approved in a referendum in 2016 and was undergoing transition. At the end of 2020, the new agreement with the block was signed.
However, a year and a half after the new agreement with the European Union, the scenario became unfavorable for the British economy: exports to the bloc plummeted, there was a crisis in the supply chain and long lines at gas stations.
The new rules in the relationship between UK and EU came into force in January 2021, requiring four-page customs forms for all goods and health certificates for meat and dairy products. As a result, British food exports to the bloc fell by 50% by 2021, according to the agency. of EU statistics, Eurostat.
Partygate vs Lockdown
The UK was embroiled in a political scandal amid the peak of the coronavirus pandemic. Johnson’s government and party officials threw 24 parties in 2020 and 2021, when public health restrictions prohibited most meetings.
In May of this year, civil servant Sue Gray submitted a document of 60 pages describing these encounters. Despite not being named as the organizer of the meetings, Johnson was filmed at one of the parties and the report points out that public leaders encouraged disregard for the rules.
“Many of these events should not have happened ”, says the report. “Who exercises senior leadership? must take responsibility”. Gray detailed that at one of the parties, held in June 2020, there was “excessive alcohol consumption” and fights among the participants.
At another party, held the night before Prince Phillip’s funeral in April 2021, participants stayed until dawn and broke a swing at the government headquarters, according to the document. “The public is entitled to expect the highest standards of behavior in such places and clearly what happened fell far short of that,” the report concludes.
Scandals have become more serious because the parties took place during the three major movements of lockdown in London, discrediting the strict measures to contain the disease imposed by the British executive.
Chris Pincher and sexual harassment
But the trigger for the movement for Johnson’s departure from power took place after the scandals related to congressman Chris Pincher. Since then, the number of government employees who have resigned has reached 50.
Pincher, until then responsible for the parliamentary discipline of Conservative deputies, resigned after allegations that he had sexually harassed two men, in addition to other allegations of sexual crimes. The pressure to be expelled from the parliamentary group, since he remained a deputy, was great and Boris Johnson began to be even more pressured by the party earlier this week.
Relationship with Russian oligarchs and KGB
One of the most recent scandals involving Boris Johnson was his close relationship with a Russian oligarch, a former KGB officer. According to British lawmakers, Johnson claimed he met Alexander Lebedev without the presence of authorities. The former British prime minister made Lebedev’s son, Evgeny, a member of the House of Lords.
The appointment was made even after warnings from the security services that Evgeny Lebedev posed a risk to National security. The Soviet KGB was the main rival of the Western security services in the Cold War, and President Vladimir Putin was also a KGB officer.
Resignation resonates around the world
“Thank you Boris Johnson for understanding the threat of the Russian monster and always putting yourself at the forefront of support for Ukraine and being responsible in the most difficult times”, tweeted the adviser to the Ukrainian presidency, Mykhailo Podoliak. During his resignation speech, Johnson said: “I would love to be able to tell the people of Ukraine that we will stand by their side.”
Ukrainian diplomacy announced that the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, called Johnson saying that he received the news “with great sadness” and that “the whole of Ukrainian society sympathizes” with the British politician.
The Irish Prime Minister, Michael Martin, considers the resignation Johnson’s “an opportunity to return to the spirit of partnership and mutual respect”, as he posted on Twitter.
Michel Barnier, EU-side Brexit negotiator, believes that Johnson’s resignation ” opens a new page” between the European bloc and the United Kingdom, emphasizing that relations should now be “more constructive and respectful”.