Boris Johnson resigns, avoiding career-ending suspension and by-election

In a surprising turn of events, Boris Johnson announced his resignation on Friday, effectively putting an end to his political career. Despite hints of a possible comeback in his resignation statement, it seems unlikely that Johnson will return to the political stage. Some MPs may call for his return if the Conservatives underperform in the next general election, but the former Prime Minister has made his decision.

Johnson faced a difficult choice this week, as he could have opted to stay and fight the verdict of the Privileges Committee. However, this would have meant enduring the criticism he believes is unjustly directed at him. If he had lost the vote and faced a suspension of 10 or more days, a by-election in his Uxbridge constituency would have been imminent. With a majority of only 7,210, the risk of losing his seat and suffering a humiliating end to his political career was too great.

Even if Johnson had won the vote, there was no clear path for him to regain the leadership position. Since being ousted as PM, Johnson has been a lingering presence in the Conservative Party, with the media and a segment of the party still paying close attention to his every word. This would not have been conducive to the success of current or future leadership contests.

By choosing to resign, Johnson has seized the opportunity to depart on his own terms, targeting his opponents within and outside the Conservative Party and crafting his own narrative. This decision also allows him to continue earning substantial income outside of Westminster without the obligation to disclose it in the Register of Members Interests.

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Although Johnson will likely remain involved in politics through commentary or even a potential return to writing for The Daily Telegraph, his resignation has not sparked a Tory civil war. Allies such as Priti Patel and Simon Clarke have remained cautious and restrained, with no indication of further by-elections beyond the two already known.

Johnson’s legacy will undoubtedly include the 2019 election, Brexit, the vaccine rollout, and his leadership on the Ukraine crisis. However, his impact on British politics extends beyond these accomplishments, as he has fundamentally changed the way politics operates in the country. While his decision to resign may have been motivated by a desire to protect his image and legacy, it is clear that Boris Johnson’s influence on the UK political landscape will not be forgotten.

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Jamie Cartwright

Jamie is a keen traveler, writer, and (English) teacher. A few years after finishing school in the East Mids, UK, he went traveling around South America and Asia. Several teaching and writing jobs, he found himself at The Thaiger where he mostly covers international news and events.

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