Prime Minister Boris Johnson attempted to attribute his ouster from power to the “Westminster Herd Instinct” rather than his own shortcomings as a leader when he announced his resignation in a speech from Downing Street on Thursday.
Amidst his frantic attempts to hold onto his position, Mr Johnson was forced to step down after a record 59 government officials and cabinet ministers stepped down in the wake of the sexual impropriety scandal involving Christopher Pincher, the former deputy chief whip to the prime minister, whom Johnson had endorsed despite being aware of sex abuse allegations against the then-Tory MP. Nevertheless, Mr Johnson criticised London’s political system in a belligerent manner.
“As we have seen at Westminster, the herd instinct is powerful and when the herd moves, it moves. And my friends, in politics, no one is even remotely indispensable,” Johnson declared.
“I know that there will be many people who are relieved, and perhaps quite a few will 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.”
Striking a cheerful note, Mr Johnson praised the accomplishments of his administration, including steering the United Kingdom out of the European Union despite significant problems like Northern Ireland still existing and releasing the nation from the coronavirus lockdowns that he personally imposed on the nation. He also emphasised his position as one of the war efforts in Ukraine’s most ardent backers.
“I’m immensely proud of the achievements of this government, from getting Brexit done to settling our relationship 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, and the fastest exit from lockdown. And in the last few months, led the west in standing up to Putin’s aggression in Ukraine.
“Let me say now to the people of Ukraine, that I know we in the UK will continue to back your fight for freedom for as long as it takes,” Johnson said.
“At the same time in this country, we’ve been pushing through a vast programme of investment in infrastructure, skills, technology. The biggest in a century. Because if I have one insight into human beings, it is that genius, talent, enthusiasm, and imagination are evenly distributed throughout the population. But opportunity is not. And that is why we must keep levelling up, keep unleashing the potential of every part of the United Kingdom.”
Boris Johnson remained adamant that it was a mistake to have a leadership election in the midst of the cost-of-living crisis and the conflict in Ukraine. He continued by stating that it was sad for him personally to leave office without achieving all of his objectives and after winning a historic majority without having the chance to defend it at the polls. The “Darwinian” approach, he asserted, will be effective in locating a prime ministerial replacement.
“Being prime minister is an education in itself – I’ve travelled to every part of UK and I’ve found so many people possessed of such boundless British originality and so willing to tackle old problems in new ways,” the prime leader said in his concluding remarks.
Although Mr Johnson said he intended to act as caretaker prime minister while the Conservative Party chose its new leader, a process that could take months, it is unclear if he will be given that time given that the left-wing Labour Party has threatened to hold a vote of confidence if he does not step down immediately.
He closed, “Even if things can sometimes seem dark now, our future together is golden.”