LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced his resignation amid a mass revolt by top members of his government. His departure marks an end to three tumultuous years in power in which he brazenly bent and sometimes broke the rules of British politics.
Months of defiance ended almost with a shrug as Johnson stood outside No. 10 Downing St. and conceded that his party wanted him gone.
He said: “Them’s the breaks.”
The brash, 58-year-old politician who took Britain out of the European Union and steered it through COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine was brought down by one scandal too many — this one involving his appointment of a politician who had been accused of sexual misconduct.
What’s next for UK? Boris Johnson quits, but not gone yet
Johnson’s resignation Thursday sparks a party contest to replace him as leader.
All Conservative lawmakers are eligible to run and party officials could open the nominations within hours. Party lawmakers will vote in a series of elimination rounds until two candidates are left.
The winner will then be decided by all members of the Conservative Party nationwide. The winner will become both Conservative leader and prime minister. Johnson says he intends to stay in office until that happens. But many in the party say he must leave sooner because he no longer has the authority to govern.
Conservative contenders who could succeed Boris Johnson
The attorney general of England, Suella Braverman, is the only candidate so far to publicly announce she would seek the position.
Other prominent contenders include former Treasury chief Rishi Sunak and former Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who both resigned Tuesday.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, new Treasury chief Nadhim Zahawi and Defense Secretary Ben Wallace are also considered possible candidates.
Former health and foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt is said to still have ambitions to lead the U.K.