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British PM, Boris Johnson under pressure to resign as cabinet collapses



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The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is set to step down as the leader of the Conservative party after the collapse of his cabinet.

This follows the unprecedented mass resignations involving a number of his ministers and aides over the past 2 days after losing their support and even that of members of parliament.

Johnson, who has lost the trust of many of his allies, has seen his government engulfed in a couple of scandals, the latest of which is his handling of the concerns raised over Chris Pincher, deputy chief whip, over allegations of sexual misconduct.

A close ally said Johnson had shown in the last 48 hours he would go down fighting but however, conceded he must resign. He had vowed to continue in office after a wave of resignations from the government over his leadership but has now decided to step down.

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In the meantime, he will continue as caretaker prime minister until October, with a new Conservative leader set to be installed in time for the party’s annual conference.

Prime Minister Johnson is expected to make his resignation statement to the country outside 10 Downing Street, later on Thursday afternoon.

Johnson is bowing to the inevitable after dozens of ministers and aides, including the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak and Secretary of State for health and social care, Sajid Javid, resigned from office.

In addition, dozens of ministers and junior aides, and members of his cabinet — including newly-appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi, visited him and told him to his face that he should step down, although he was reported to have been initially defiant.

Others in the delegation included Grant Shapps, transport secretary; Simon Hart, Welsh secretary; Brandon Lewis, Northern Ireland secretary; and Chris Heaton-Harris, chief whip.

On Wednesday, Johnson had remained defiant with his team saying he intended to fill the vacant roles. But the exodus continued on Thursday morning, with 2 cabinet ministers quitting, alongside a number of junior ministers, and Zahawi tweeting that the situation was “not sustainable.”

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Recall that Boris Johnson became prime minister in July 2019 after winning a Tory leadership contest, and went on to win a historic landslide general election victory five months after that.

He won the election vowing to “get Brexit done” but his government has been dogged by a series of controversies and scandals in recent months, not least a police investigation into parties in Downing Street during lockdown.

The recent revolt this week was triggered by revelations about the prime minister’s handling of sexual misconduct allegations against former Deputy Chief Whip Chris Pincher.

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