UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his resignation as Conservative Party leader Thursday, bringing his scandal-plagued tenure to an end after less than three years.
Johnson was left with little choice but to step down after several high-profile members of his cabinet resigned in protest this week over his handling of misconduct allegations related to government officials. Dozens more members of his government have also quit.
Johnson was ultimately undone by his response to fallout from the resignation last Thursday of deputy chief whip Chris Pincher, amid allegations Pincher had groped two guests at a private dinner the night before. While he did not admit the allegations directly, Pincher said in a letter to Johnson last week that “last night I drank far too much” and “embarrassed myself and other people.” Other historical allegations of misconduct by Pincher emerged in the ensuing days.
Johnson initially denied being aware of some of those allegations, but ultimately the Prime Minister was forced to admit he had been briefed years before and apologize for his decision-making.
It was the final straw for many political allies who had supported Johnson through crisis after crisis over the years. In recent months the Prime Minister had been facing a barrage of criticism from all sides over his conduct and that of his government, including illegal, lockdown-breaking parties thrown in his Downing Street offices, for which he and others were fined.
Johnson faced numerous other scandals that hit his standing in the polls — despite his 80-seat landslide general election victory just two and a half years ago.