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Politics

Boris Johnson has finally resigned as prime minister

But he says he’s staying until there’s a replacement. Which could be a while.

Prime minister Boris Johnson has resigned, finally conceding in the face of immense pressure from his own party.

Delivering a speech outside Downing Street on Thursday afternoon, Johnson said: “It is clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative party that there should be a new leader of that party and therefore a new prime minister.”

He said he had appointed his new cabinet to serve with him until a new leader is in place.

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He added: “And to that new leader, I say, whoever he or she may be, I will give you as much support as I can. And to you, the British public, I know that there will be many people who are relieved and perhaps quite a few who will also be disappointed and I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world – but them’s the breaks.”

His departure makes him the fourth shortest-lived PM since the war, with his tenure just under a month shorter than Theresa May – who he replaced as leader.

Despite a defiant performance at Prime Minister’s Questions, an avalanche of resignations forced the issue.

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It is less than three years since, in his first speech as prime minister, he said: “The doubters, the doomsters, the gloomsters – they are going to get it wrong again.

“The people who bet against Britain are going to lose their shirts because we are going to restore trust in our democracy

Johnson seemed to have survived the Partygate scandal and a no-confidence vote from his MPs, but his handling of the Chris Pincher allegations proved to be the final straw.

Less than 48 hours ago Johnson had attempted to once again reset his government with the appointments of Nadhim Zahawi, Steve Barclay and Michelle Donelan to chancellor, health secretary and education secretary. Donelan quit on Thursday morning, and Zahawi made us of his new letterhead by writing to the PM urging him to step down – a move seen by many as the clincher.

Following his PMQs performance, the number of resignations became almost impossible to keep up with – with loyalists Kemi Badenoch and Liam Fox among those to tell Johnson to go. Ministers even signed letters jointly, such was the gold rush.

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