British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Thursday that he is stepping down, following a series of top ministers’ resignations from his government in recent days.
Johnson will resign as leader of the Conservative Party and stay on as prime minister until a replacement is chosen. Although many of his lawmakers have called for him to leave the top office now.
In his resignation address outside 10 Downing Street, Johnson said, “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 added that "the process of choosing that new leader should begin now and the timetable will be announced next week."
One alternative would be for Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab to step in as caretaker prime minister.
Johnson vowed to support whoever becomes his successor. "To that new leader, I say wherever he or she may be, I say I will give you as much support as I can,” he promised.
“And to you, the British public – I know that there will be many people who are relieved and perhaps quite a few will also be disappointed. And I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world. But them's the breaks," Johnson added.
Last month, Johnson survived a no-confidence vote in parliament over office violations of his own COVID lockdown restrictions. These revelations severely damaged his popularity and prompted the resignations of two of Johnson’s senior Cabinet officials, which then set off a wave of additional resignations from the government.
"The herd instinct is powerful and when the herd moves, it moves,” Johnson lamented during his speech.
“Being prime minister is an education in itself,” he concluded. “I’ve traveled to every part of the United Kingdom and, in addition to the beauty of our natural world, I found so many people possessed of such boundless British originality and so willing to tackle old problems in new ways that even though things sometimes seem dark now, our future together is golden.”
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the British premier for his support of the Jewish state.
“Thank you, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, for your friendship and for cementing the bonds between Britain and Israel. I value your firm stance in confronting anti-Semitism and your efforts to further enhance the ties in trade, technology and security between our two countries. Best wishes to you and your family,” said Netanyahu.
Throughout his tenure as prime minister and as a lawmaker, Boris Johnson has been very supportive of Israel and even defined himself as a “Zionist.” His connection to the Jewish state goes back to the 1980s, when he volunteered on a kibbutz in the Galilee.
As the mayor of London, he was vocally critical of anti-Israel BDS efforts. Under his leadership, the UK designated Hamas as a terror group and expressed its opposition to the International Criminal Court probe into alleged Israeli war crimes. Regarding Iran, Johnson held a strict approach which at times, according to Ynet, was even tougher than the American stance towards nuclear negotiations.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.