Johnson resigns but refuses to step down immediately, as party warns of harm if he stays

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his resignation Thursday amid a mass revolt by top members of his government, but said he intends to stay in office for another three months, setting up a political crisis and possibly a constitutional crisis.

His agreement to leave the leadership of the Conservative Party ends 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 in 10 Downing Street and conceded that his party wanted him gone.

“Them’s the breaks,” he said.

But the refusal to step down has drawn sharp attacks from other leaders of his party, who say a lingering lame-duck premiership would fatally weaken the Conservatives and lose them the next election. BBC political report Rob Watson said it is unlikely the opposition Labour Party would win a new election outright right now, but could be forced into coalition with the centrist Liberal Democrats.

Johnson, a 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.

 

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