Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced his resignation as an MP for defrauding Parliament. He resigned with a scathing speech against his political opponents – and against his successor, Rishi Sunak – that could open up tensions within the Conservative Party.
Johnson resigned after receiving the results of an inquiry by lawmakers into false statements he made in parliament about “Particate,” a series of government parties that broke rules during the pandemic.
In a lengthy resignation statement, Johnson accused opponents of trying to oust him — and hinted that he might try to return.
“It’s very sad to leave Parliament – at least for now,” he said.
“Their goal from the beginning was to find me guilty regardless of the facts,” Johnson said.
A new election
The resignation will trigger a special election to replace Johnson as an MP for the London suburb.
Johnson, whose career has been a roller coaster of scandals and upheavals, led the Conservatives to a landslide victory in 2019 but was forced out by his own party within three years.
He was awaiting the outcome of a House of Commons committee inquiry into false reports he made in Parliament about a series of meetings in government buildings in 2020 and 2021 that breached pandemic lockdown rules.
Assuring lawmakers that no rules had been broken, Johnson admitted to misleading parliament but said he did not do so on purpose.
He told the group that he “honestly believed” that the five events he attended, including a staff farewell and his own surprise birthday party, were “good work meetings” designed to boost morale among overworked employees who had to deal with a pandemic.
Johnson avoided suspension by resigning
The committee was expected to issue its report in the coming weeks, and Johnson could be suspended from the House of Commons if found to have deliberately lied.
By resigning, he avoided suspension by his constituents that could have stripped him of his seat in the House of Commons, leaving him free to run for parliament again. His resignation letter suggested he was considering that option.
“A few years after winning the largest majority in nearly half a century, that majority is now clearly at risk,” Johnson said. “Our party urgently needs to regain its sense of momentum and its belief in what this country can do.”
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