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Boris Johnson to Quit as Pressure From Ministerial Resignations Mounts

·2-min read
Dan Kitwood

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Thursday he will resign after a series of ministers left his government amid a scandal over the appointment of Deputy Chief Whip Chris Pincher.

Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Health Minister Sajid Javid were the first and most senior officials to resign on Tuesday, saying the public deserved a “government to be conducted properly,” and with “integrity.” About 60 members of government had quit by Thursday morning, Sky News reported.

On Wednesday, City Minister John Glen, who in April declared the U.K. "open for crypto business," also quit. He pointed more explicitly to the handling of the Pincher’s appointment and Johnson’s "poor judgment.” The government was also accused of throwing illegal parties during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

"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," Johnson said in a broadcast from outside his Downing Street home. "As we've seen at Westminster, the herd instinct is powerful. When the herd moves, it moves. And, my friends, in politics no one is remotely indispensable."

Johnson said he intends to stay as prime minister until a replacement is chosen. The timetable will be announced next week, he said.

The resignations are likely to lead to delays in crypto legislation. Bank of England Deputy Governor Jon Cunliffe said on Wednesday that regulators’ plans for stablecoin legislation had already been delayed by the government disarray. In April, Glen and Sunak announced plans for crypto legislation packages, and the Treasury has since released a consultation on regulating systemic stablecoins.

Johnson became prime minister in 2019.

UPDATE (July 7, 11:47 UTC): Adds quote from Johnson.

UPDATE (July 7, 11:59 UTC): Adds dropped words to quotes, Johnson intends to stay in post for the time being.