Boris Johnson steps down as UK PM: Details here
United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson on Thursday resigned from the post, saying that "he's sad to give up the best job in the world." This calls for a leadership election for a new Tory leader who will go on to become the new UK PM. Notably, this comes exactly a month after he won a no-confidence vote against his government.
Why does this story matter?
Johnson won the Conservative Party leadership election and was appointed as the UK PM in 2019, following Theresa May's resignation. Johnson—once seen as unassailable—apparently looked isolated and powerless when he announced his resignation. His move followed a wave of other resignations of his party members who went against him. This will see a fierce battle for the leadership post among the Tory party members.
Johnson to remain caretaker PM till new leader is elected
"And today I have appointed a cabinet to serve, as I will, until a new leader is in place," 58-year-old Johnson said. The 1922 Committee is responsible for setting the timetable for a Tory leadership contest that is expected to see a fierce leadership battle. The election must be completed by the time of the Conservative Party Conference scheduled for October.
String of resignations in last 2 days
On Thursday, Caroline Johnson resigned as the party's vice-chair. Nadhim Zahawi and Michelle Donelan, who were only appointed as the Chancellor and Education Secretary, respectively, on Tuesday, also quit. Ministers Helen Whately, Damian Hinds, George Freeman, Guy Opperman, Chris Philp, and James Cartlidge also resigned, along with Rishi Sunak from the post of Chancellor and Sajid Javid as the Secretary of State for Health.
What is the 'partygate' scandal?
Johnson has been in the middle of the "partygate" scandal ever since reports of "bring-your-own-booze" (BYOB) parties in and around Downing Street during the COVID-19-induced lockdowns were published. The 2020-21 parties breached the strict COVID-19 restrictions and were illegal. In his defense, Johnson had said that it "did not occur to me" that the "birthday gathering, complete with a cake, was a party."
Rishi Sunak a contender for the UK PM post: Reports
Speculations are rife that Indian-origin Sunak, who was appointed the Chancellor of the Exchequer in February 2020, is a contender for the PM's post. He gained popularity during the pandemic for devising packages to help businesses. Interestingly, he was fined for not following the COVID-19 guidelines and participating in a Downing Street party too. Sunak is the son-in-law of Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy.