Boris Johnson has given a statement confirming his resignation as prime minister.
The 58-year-old has been forced to step down as the leader of the Conservative Party and the country following weeks of scandal and controversy.
The past two days alone have seen over 50 ministers, as well as a number of Johnson's cabinet, quit over issues to do with his leadership.
Officially announcing his decision to resign outside of No. 10 today (7 July), Johnson said: " it was "the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party that there should be a new leader of that party and therefore a new prime minister."
He went on: "And I’ve agreed with Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of our backbench MPs, that the process of choosing that new leader should begin now and the timetable will be announced next week.
"And I’ve today appointed a Cabinet to serve, as I will, until a new leader is in place.
"I want to say to the millions of people who voted for us in 2019, many of them voting Conservative for the first time, thank you for that incredible mandate, the biggest Conservative majority since 1987, the biggest share of the vote since 1979.
"And the reason I have fought so hard in the last few days to continue to deliver that mandate in person was not just because I wanted to do so, but because I felt it was my job, my duty, my obligation to you to continue to do what we promised in 2019.
"And of course, I’m immensely proud of the achievements of this Government.
"In the last few days, I tried to persuade my colleagues that it would be eccentric to change governments when we’re delivering so much and when we have such a vast mandate and when we’re actually only a handful of points behind in the polls, even in midterm after quite a few months of pretty relentless sledging and when the economic scene is so difficult domestically and internationally.
"I regret not to have been successful in those arguments and of course it’s painful not to be able to see through so many ideas and projects myself.
"But as we’ve seen, at Westminster the herd instinct is powerful, when the herd moves, it moves.
"And my friends in politics, no one is remotely indispensable and our brilliant and Darwinian system will produce another leader, equally committed to taking this country forward through tough times.
"Let me say now to the people of Ukraine, that I know that we in the UK will continue to back your fight for freedom for as long as it takes.
"And, at the same time, in this country we’ve been pushing forward a vast programme of investment in infrastructure and skills and technology, the biggest in a century.
"Because if I have one insight into human beings, it is that genius and talent and enthusiasm and imagination are evenly distributed throughout the population, but opportunity is not, and that’s why we must keep levelling up, keep unleashing the potential of every part of the United Kingdom.
"If we can do that in this country, we will be the most prosperous in Europe.
"I’m immensely proud of the achievements of this Government, from getting Brexit done to settling our relations with the continent for over half a century, reclaiming the power for this country to make its own laws in Parliament, getting us all through the pandemic, delivering the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe, the fastest exit from lockdown, and, in the last few months, leading the West in standing up to Putin’s aggression in Ukraine."
Johnson went on: "To that new leader, I say, whoever he or she may be, I say: 'I will give you as much support as I can'.
"To you, the British public, I know that there will be many people who are relieved and perhaps quite a few who will also be disappointed.
"I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world."
Concluding, he said: "I want to thank Carrie and our children, and all the members of our family who have had to put up with so much for so long.
"Above all, I want to thank you, the British public, for the immense privilege that you have given me and I want you to know that from now on until the new prime minister is in place, your interests will be served and the Government of the country will carry on.
"Being Prime Minister is an education in itself. I have travelled to every part of the United Kingdom and in addition to the beauty of our natural world I have found so many people possessed of such boundless British originality and so willing to tackle old problems in news ways that I know that even if things seem dark now, our future together is golden.
"Thank you all very much. Thank you."
His resignation comes after it was revealed that he was in fact aware of allegations of impropriety made against Conservative MP Chris Pincher back in 2019.
Pincher, who Johnson promoted to the role of deputy chief whip earlier this year, resigned last week after he was accused of groping two men at a club in London last week.
On Monday (4 July), it emerged that he had previously been investigated over similar conduct.
At first, Johnson denied knowing about the claims. However, a spokesperson later confirmed that Johnson had been briefed about the complaint three years ago.
Johnson later apologised for appointing Pincher, saying it 'was a mistake', and admitted that it was 'in hindsight the wrong thing to do'.
He said: "The complaint was cleared up, he apologised. It was raised with me, I was briefed on what had happened and if I had my time again I'd think back on it and I'd realise he wasn't going to learn a lesson and he wasn't going to change."
Pincher has since been suspended as a Tory MP over the allegations.
Following the revelations, chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak and health secretary Sajid Javid resigned from the government on Tuesday (5 July) evening.
This sparked a chain of events that developed rapidly over the past 24 hours, with over 50 ministers, as well as some cabinet members, also quitting over Johnson's leadership.
Earlier this morning, one of the latest to call for his head, Nadhim Zahawi, who Johnson had promoted to chancellor following Sunak's departure, said he had to leave for the good of the country.
In a letter to the prime minister, Zahawi said: "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."
Zahawi, who previously held the position of education secretary, did not resign himself, though, with rumours swirling that he may be planning on becoming leader himself in the coming weeks.
Any candidates hoping to become the next leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister will have to go through a selection process, with Tory MPs deciding on the two candidates. It will then go to a vote among party members.
Once chosen, there is the possibility that the new prime minister could call a snap general election in order to secure their own mandate - though this is not compulsory.
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