The prime minister (PM) of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, will resign on July 7 , the BBC and other UK media reported.
Plagued by scandal in brief premiership
Johnson, who has been PM since July 24, 2019, has endured a brief but tumultuous reign as leader.
According to the BBC, Johnson will resign as leader of the Conservative party later on July 7, but will remain PM until his party elects a new leader in autumn, likely by the Conservative party conference in October.
This will make his premiership one of the shortest over the past fifty years.
Support for Johnson was initially strong when he took office from Theresa May, he managed to secure an outright majority of over 80 seats in parliament in December 2019 on the promise that he would “get Brexit done”.
This was the strongest majority enjoyed by a British PM in a decade.
But scandal after scandal has plagued his term in office.
The ongoing fallout of "Partygate" centres around Johnson and other government officials who held parties while the country was going through harsh lockdowns, and then lied about whether he knew and attended the parties.
This led to him being fined, an offence that many considered serious enough for him to resign.
Johnson faced a vote of no confidence in June over Partygate, which he survived by a margin of 60 per cent to 40 per cent.
May faced a similar vote and received the backing of 70 per cent of her party, but her government still fell six months later.
Johnson has suffered a similar fate, but in a far shorter timeframe.
The latest scandal relates to the Conservative Party’s deputy chief whip, Chris Pincher, who is accused of drunkenly groping two people.
Johnson was briefed by government officials of a previous incident of Pincher’s misconduct, but Johnson chose to ignore them.
When Pincher’s recent breach was revealed, Johnson then lied about what he knew and when he knew it, prompting a former senior civil servant to take the highly unprecedented move of refuting him publicly.
In both the Pincher affair and Partygate, Johnson’s government would send cabinet ministers to defend the prime minister, only for them to be refuted when Johnson was forced to eventually recant when the truth was discovered.
Poor will quince, he’ll learn not to listen to Downing Street— kerry ✊💙🇺🇦 (@hewitson10) July 5, 2022
Dominic Raab making excuse after excuse from the pathetic lying from the government yesterday is an absolute embarrassment
Someone needs to tell them that we aren’t thick#bbcbreakfast #kayburley #EnoughIsEnough pic.twitter.com/rkS0CmFtcf
This latest sequence appears to have been too much for his colleagues to endure.
Will Quince, Minister for Children and Families bore the brunt of the questioning in the day before Johnson would eventually admit that he knew more about the Pincher affair than he let on.
Quince has now resigned.
With great sadness and regret, I have this morning tendered my resignation to the Prime Minister after I accepted and repeated assurances on Monday to the media which have now been found to be inaccurate.— Will Quince MP 🇬🇧 (@willquince) July 6, 2022
I wish my successor well - it is the best job in government. pic.twitter.com/65EOmHd47p
The deluge - at least 27 ministerial resignations
At around 2am on July 6 (Singapore time), just after 7pm on July 5, UK time, the second most senior member of Johnson’s government, Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, resigned.
He was followed mere minutes later by his predecessor in the role, and Secretary of State for Health, Sajid Javid.
Within six hours, four parliamentary private secretaries followed them.
Johnson appeared to have stemmed the bleeding overnight, hastily finding replacements for the two men.
But as the sun rose on July 6 in the UK, the deluge began.
According to the BBC, by the time Johnson signaled his intention to resign, 22 ministers had quit. Of the more senior Secretaries of State, 3 more joined Sunak and Javid; Welsh Secretary Simon Heart, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis, and Education Secretary Michelle Donelan.
18 more parliamentary private secretaries have followed them, for a total of 22, as well as five other MPs linked to the government, such as the Conservative Youth Vice Chair Bim Afolami.
Meanwhile, at the same time, several British journalists were reporting that the senior members of government, including the newly appointed Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, have been gathering at 10 Downing Street, calling on Johnson to resign.
Zahawi would later issue issue a letter calling on Johnson to resign on the morning of July 7. Zahawi has been in his post for less than 2 days.
Prime Minister: this is not sustainable and it will only get worse: for you, for the Conservative Party and most importantly of all the country. You must do the right thing and go now. pic.twitter.com/F2iKT1PhvC— Nadhim Zahawi (@nadhimzahawi) July 7, 2022
According to a report by The Daily Mail, the Levelling Up and Housing Secretary Michael Gove began the less formal process of ousting the prime minister.
He appears to have been the first minister to pressure Johnson to resign without himself leaving government.
For this he was sacked on the evening of July 6. Fellow MP Tim Loughton described the incident as Gove going to Johnson with a metaphorical "bottle of whiskey and revolver", to which Johnson "downed the whiskey and turned the revolver on Gove".
'When Michael Gove came to see Boris Johnson with a whiskey and revolver, Johnson has downed the whiskey and turned the revolver on Gove.'@timloughton reacts to Michael Gove's sacking by the prime minister.#TheTake: https://t.co/ZoMhCmTrtv— Sophy Ridge on Sunday & The Take (@RidgeOnSunday) July 6, 2022
📺 Sky 501 and YouTube pic.twitter.com/SmlrurJOZ5
The sinking ships fleeing the rat
Johnson for his part had doggedly declared that he would continue on.
He faced a House of Commons Liaison Committee, made up of the Chairs of the Commons Select Committees, who questioned the prime minister about policy.
But much time was spent questioning if Johnson would survive the day, let alone the week.
Johnson said he was having a "terrific" week, while a committee member inquired as to whether he had been told to quit by Gove.
When asked how his week is going, Boris Johnson claims it is "terrific."— The New Statesman (@NewStatesman) July 6, 2022
The PM then avoided a question in the Liaison Committee, on whether Michael Gove had told him to resign.
Read more here: https://t.co/tmP2VdXxUq pic.twitter.com/0GUJyM2kOZ
He had earlier faced Prime Minister’s Questions on July 6, with the leader of the opposition, Labour's Sir Keir Starmer saying that Johnson was backed only by a "z list cast of nodding dogs" who did not have a "shred of integrity".
Starmer said the situation was the first time in recorded history of "the sinking ships fleeing the rat".
'What a pathetic spectacle... have some self respect'@Keir_Starmer mocks @BorisJohnson and his frontbench after the PM suffered 17 government resignations https://t.co/Ajwo5MNgVj pic.twitter.com/a07J3JRLnT— ITV News (@itvnews) July 6, 2022
As Javid finished reading out his personal statement, in which he said he has "concluded that the problem starts at the top and that is not going to change", he also said he feared for how the next generation would see the Conservative Party and that they had lost the public's trust.
"Not doing something is an active decision"— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) July 6, 2022
Former Health Secretary Sajid Javid says he is "deeply concerned about how the next generation will see the Conservative Party" as he tells colleagues why he quithttps://t.co/ifteiPp1h1 pic.twitter.com/modLT79Qnm
But as he finished, Johnson tried to leave the chamber as quickly as he could. But it wasn't fast enough, as members of parliament yelled out "Bye Bye Boris" as he fled the room.
'Bye Boris!'— ITV News Politics (@ITVNewsPolitics) July 6, 2022
As pressure on Boris Johnson to resign continues to grow, the prime minister left the House of Commons to a chorus of 'bye' from a group of MPshttps://t.co/L97B7mnoPV pic.twitter.com/iswXjgWNBW
The Conservative party will now hold a contest for a new leader that will last months, and will have to try to repair public trust while doing so. Previous leadership contests were hotly contested, but if the party can unite behind anything, it appears to be that Boris Johnson's time is over.
Top image by Peter Summers/Getty Images