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Resignation speech of Boris Johnson

LONDON: Boris Johnson has announced he will stand down as Conservative leader, clearing the way for his departure as Britain’s prime minister once a successor is selected.

Here are some of the highlights from his six-minute resignation speech delivered outside No 10 Downing Street.

– On resigning –

“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… the process of choosing that new leader should begin now and the timetable will be announced next week.

“And I’ve today appointed a cabinet to serve, as I will, until a new leader is in place.”

– On this week’s events –

“The reason I have fought so hard in the last few days to continue to deliver that mandate in person was not just because I wanted to do so, but because I felt it was my job, my duty, my obligation, to you to continue to do what we promised in 2019.

“In the last few days, I’ve tried to persuade my colleagues that it would be eccentric to change governments when we are delivering so much and when we have such a vast mandate…
“And I regret not to have been successful in those arguments and, of course, it’s painful not to be able to see through so many ideas and projects myself.”

– On his legacy –

“I’m immensely proud of the achievements of this government – from getting Brexit done, to settling our relations with the continent for over half a century; reclaiming the power for this country to make its own laws in parliament;

“getting us all through the pandemic; delivering the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe, the fastest exit from lockdown; and in the last few months, leading the West in standing up to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s aggression in Ukraine.”

– On the next leader –

“In politics, no one is remotely indispensable, and our brilliant and Darwinian system will produce another leader, equally committed to taking this country forward through tough times, not just helping families to get through it, but changing and improving the way we do things…

“And to that new leader I say, wherever he or she may be, I will give you as much support as I can.”

– To 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!”

“I want to thank you, the British public, for the immense privilege that you have given me and I want you to know that, from now on until the new prime minister is in place, your interests will be served and the government of the country will be carried on.”

– To the people of Ukraine –

“I know that we in the UK will continue to back your fight for freedom for as long as it takes.”

– In conclusion –

“Being prime minister is an education in itself. I’ve traveled to every part of the United Kingdom and in addition to the beauty of our natural world, I found so many people possessed of such boundless British originality, and so willing to tackle old problems in new ways, that I know that even if things can sometimes seem dark now, our future together is golden.”

Boris Johnson’s resignation announcement Thursday sets the stage for a leadership battle in his Conservative party that will determine who becomes Britain’s next prime minister.

The election of a new Tory leader — the third in six years — is a contest traditionally filled with twists, turns, bandwagons and backstabbing.
Here is a guide to how the unusual process works:

– The process –

Johnson said he will step down as party leader on Thursday. He plans to remain in office as prime minister until a successor is chosen.

The timetable to nominate his replacement will be set out next week.

Party grandees hope to conclude the two-stage contest well before the Conservative party holds its annual conference in October.

The first stage will see the 358 Conservative members of parliament whittle the nominees down to two, via successive rounds of voting in which the bottom candidate is eliminated each time.

The second stage will involve tens of thousands of grassroots party members picking the winner in a secret ballot.

Last time, Johnson defeated Jeremy Hunt in the final ballot of members.

Whoever wins takes over what may be one of Europe’s hardest jobs.

Johnson delivered Brexit after winning a thumping election victory in December 2019.

But the fallout of the divisive EU divorce, on top of the cost of the coronavirus pandemic and global headwinds from the war in Ukraine, has given Britain near double-digit inflation.

Once formally appointed as prime minister by head of state Queen Elizabeth II, the new Conservative leader must address the cost-of-living crisis and rapidly repair the party’s fortunes before the next election, which is due in 2024 at the latest.

– The contest –

The jockeying for position is already underway after finance minister Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid quit Johnson’s scandal-tainted government on Tuesday.

Potential runners who are popular with Tory members include Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Defense Secretary Ben Wallace.

Other candidates may run in the hope of a good showing that would boost their chances of a prime post in the new cabinet.

In past contests, successive rounds of voting have taken place on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The new leader is chosen by Conservative party members of at least three months’ standing.

They mail in their ballots after listening to the two finalists debate each other across various venues over several weeks.

May skipped this stage in the July 2016 leadership contest because her last remaining rival, Andrea Leadsom, withdrew.

– The intrigue –

British politics are in tumult and few would dare predict how events will unfold.

Conservative lawmakers will be torn between backing contenders who best reflect their own views, particularly on Brexit, while also appealing to the wider electorate.

MPs can coalesce around certain candidates or try to block someone they dislike from making the final run-off, with conventional wisdom that the least hated contender often prevails.

Those twists and turns give the Conservative leadership contests their drama. Before 1965, the leader simply “emerged” from talks among party bigwigs.

Johnson – a divisive figure even within his own party in 2019 but seen as a likely general election vote-winner – was the clear favorite to succeed May.

Before then, however, the early favorite never won.

That included Johnson in 2016, when May won. Johnson was the front-runner before being “knifed in the front” by running mate Michael Gove and dropping out.

May’s predecessor David Cameron also overcame initial favorite David Davis in 2005. | YouTube Channel

Nimra Jamali

Nimra Jamali, presently studying in London, writes on international politics for