Boris Johnson leaves complicated legacy after resigning

It was called “the long goodbye”.

Boris Johnson, the wrinkled, brash Prime Minister whose naysayer career led the Conservatives to an historic victory, ushered in a new style of British politics and pulled his nation out of the European Union, finally collapsed this week under the weight of insurmountable scandals and Dozens of resignations by his ministers.

But Johnson, who has refused for days to step down on Thursday, will remain in office while the ruling Conservative Party selects his successor, a process that could take weeks or even months. It will be a painfully slow exit for a man whose already shaky reputation has suffered further this year after revelations about boisterous partying at his official residence during the COVID lockdowns and, more recently, his botched responses to allegations of sexual misconduct against one Lawmakers had emerged Wen He was promoted to a senior government post.

Johnson promised to be a lame duck. His office said he would “not seek to implement new policies or make any major changes in direction” in the UK as he awaits his replacement at 10 Downing St.

That leaves his nation largely in stagnation as it confronts a cost-of-living crisis, a wave of strikes this summer, bleak predictions of a recession and the ongoing war in Ukraine.

But many Britons are equally jaded by Johnson’s premiership, a non-stop trail of drama and chaos since he essentially ousted then-Prime Minister Theresa May in 2019 with a similar party revolt vowing to “get Brexit done.” While voters then hungered for Johnson’s undoubted communication skills, bubbly optimism and prominent persona – a combination not often found in British politicians – many are now eager for someone who demonstrates the seriousness, integrity and political understanding who they sometimes expect from their leader in such experiments.

“Boris was an unconventional politician who came into British politics at an unconventional moment,” said Matthew Flinders, professor of politics at the University of Sheffield. “A window opened and Boris was able to slip through.

“But we’re in a different time now,” Flinders added, citing a “longing for a more sane, calmer, more meritocratic” leader.

One of Johnson’s Conservative Party colleagues was outspoken about the need for change.

“We need a leader who is unsullied – if you will – unsullied by the mistakes, particularly in the government’s tone and in some of its actions,” said Andrew Mitchell, who served in former Prime Minister David Cameron’s cabinet. said the BBC. “It has to be someone who clearly has experience. …

“I think it has to be someone who is patently moral and decent and can win back the large number of Conservatives that we know have left the party from the last and most recent polls [special] Choose.”

The field of candidates is wide open. It contains Atty. General Suella Braverman, Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace, Secretary of State Liz Truss and Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi, Chief of the Treasury Department. Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and former Health Secretary Sajid Javid – whose near-simultaneous resignations from cabinet on Tuesday night started the ball rolling that led to Johnson’s ouster – also have their supporters.

Although he has promised to be only an acting prime minister, analysts say Johnson is likely to use the time before his successor is chosen to try to do damage control and salvage his reputation.

“I don’t think Boris knows how to do something quietly,” Flinders said. “I’m not sure if this saga is quite over yet. He’s not someone I believe could exist beyond the limelight. He doesn’t just want to be a celebrity. He has always craved attention, status and respect.”

Johnson survived a no-confidence vote last month but emerged badly injured after just 211 of 369 Conservative MPs said they wanted to keep him as party leader. The vote protected him from a formal internal challenge to his leadership for at least a year, but was not enough to deter his own ministers from turning against him in recent days.

“He was always on loan after that vote,” said John Curtice, a politics professor at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. “He was the most charismatic and pro-Brexit person in 2016 and his legacy is that he was the one who made it happen. In addition, he leaves behind personal failures.”

Anand Menon, a professor of politics at King’s College London, warned that it is “too early to write the history of Johnson’s legacy”.

“He’s not perfect. But you can’t write Donald’s Trump legacy based on events ending January 6,” Menon said, nodding to a frequent comparison between two personality-driven world leaders noted for their bombastic and fuzzy relationships with truth, but also for their Campaign known skills and celebrity status.

“There’s more time where a lot could happen that could revitalize him, like if there’s – God forbid – a terrorist attack, or something more horrific happens in Ukraine, or a series of events,” Menon said .

Unlike Trump, who has refused to concede a lost election and teased that he could run for another term, Johnson appears to have conceded that his time at the helm will soon be up.

“I want to tell you how sorry I am to be giving up the best job in the world,” said the Prime Minister from 10 Downing Street as he announced his departure amid boos and jeers from protesters outside. “These are the breaks.”

Kaleem is a staff writer and Boyle is a special correspondent. Boris Johnson leaves complicated legacy after resigning

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