In his speech, he praised his government’s achievements, including supporting Ukraine after the Russian invasion and weathering the Covid pandemic.
Following in the footsteps of Theresa May and David Cameron, he will become the third consecutive British Prime Minister to step down before their terms in recent years.
As Johnson received applause from colleagues in Downing Street, the booing of a crowd nearby threatened to drown out his speech. Meanwhile, a speaker blared a reworked version of the Bay City Rollers song “Bye Bye Baby” with the lyrics changed to “bye bye Boris.”
Some in the crowd celebrated Johnson’s departure.
“He’s a born liar and you can’t trust someone who tells so many lies,” said Diane Flynn, 40, who visited London from Glasgow in Scotland.
Months of discontent with Johnson’s judgment and ethics within his ruling party erupted with the resignation of Finance Minister Rishi Sunak and Health Minister Sajid Javid within minutes of each other Tuesday night.
The final straw for them was the Prime Minister’s mixed statements about his handling of allegations of sexual misconduct within the ranks of the Conservative Party.
Calls for Johnson’s resignation had only grown in the hours that followed, with more than 50 other members of the government also resigning.
The embattled prime minister had few allies in the final hours before his announcement, and even ministers he had appointed 36 hours ago turned against him. Before his announcement, Johnson was let down by the Treasury Secretary and Education Secretary he had been promoted in a bid to hold. They were joined by a succession of other ministers – leaving the government virtually rudderless as it faced some of the worst crises in decades.
“Yesterday I made it clear to the Prime Minister along with my colleagues in No. 10 that there was only one direction this was going, and that he should leave with dignity,” the newly appointed Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi wrote in an open letter published on Twitter early Thursday.