'Them's The Breaks' - Boris Blames 'Westminster Herd Instinct' for Ouster
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Announcing his resignation in a speech from Downing Street on Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson attempted to blame his removal from office on the “Westminster Herd Instinct” rather than his own failings as a leader.

Despite desperate attempts to cling onto power, Mr Johnson was forced to resign after a record 59 government aids and cabinet ministers resigned following the sexual impropriety scandal involving the PM’s former deputy chief whip Christopher Pincher, whom Johnson had promoted to the role despite previously being informed of sex pest allegations made against the then-Tory MP. Yet in defiant fashion, Mr Johnson cast blame to the political system in London.

“As we have seen at Westminster, the herd instinct is powerful and when the herd moves, it moves. And my friends, in politics, no one is even remotely indispensable,” Johnson declared.

“I know that there will be many people who are relieved, and perhaps quite a few will be disappointed. And I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world. But them’s the breaks.”

Trying to strike a positive tone, Mr Johnson hailed the achievements of his government, including stewarding the United Kingdom out of the European Union — despite significant issues such as Northern Ireland remaining — and bringing the country out of the coronavirus lockdowns that he himself imposed on the country. He also highlighted his role as one of the most vociferous supporters of the Ukrainian war effort.

“I’m immensely proud of the achievements of this government, from getting Brexit done, to settling our relationship 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.”

“Let me say now to the people of Ukraine, that I know we in the UK will continue to back your fight for freedom for as long as it takes,” Johnson said.

“At the same time in this country, we’ve been pushing through a vast programme of investment in infrastructure, skills, technology. The biggest in a century. Because if I have one insight into human beings, it is that genius, talent, enthusiasm, imagination are evenly distributed throughout the population. But opportunity is not. And that is why we must keep levelling up, keep unleashing the potential of every part of the United Kingdom.”

The Prime Minister maintained his stance that it was a bad decision to launch a leadership contest amid the cost of living crisis and the war in Ukraine. Johnson went on to say that it was personally painful to leave without accomplishing all of his goals and after securing a historic majority without the opportunity to defend it at the ballot box.

However, he said that the “Darwinian” system will be successful in finding a suitable replacement as prime minister.

“I want to thank you, the British public for the immense privilege you have given me. “And I want you to know from now on until the new Prime Minister is in place, your interests will be served and the government of the country will be carrying on.”

While Mr Johnson stated that he intends on serving as a caretaker Prime Minister while the Conservative Party selects its new leader, a process which could take months, it remains to be seen if he will be afforded such a period, with the left-wing Labour Party threatening to launch a vote of confidence should he not leave office immediately.

The prime minister concluded with an optimistic vision of the future of the country, saying: “Being prime minister is an education in itself – I’ve travelled to every part of UK and I’ve found so many people possessed of such boundless British originality and so willing to tackle old problems in new ways.

“Even if things can sometimes seem dark now, our future together is golden.”

Read in full, Boris Johnson’s resignation statement:

Good afternoon, everybody. It is clearly now the will of the Parliamentary Conservative Party that there should be a new leader of that party and therefore a new Prime Minister. I agreed with Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of our backbench MPs, that this process of choosing that new leader should begin now. The timetable shall be announced next week.

I have today appointed a cabinet to serve, as I will, until that new leader is in place.

I would like 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 for the past 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 to do in 2019.

And of course, I’m immensely proud of the achievements of this government, from getting Brexit done, to settling our relationship 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.

Let me say now to the people of Ukraine, that I know we in the UK will continue to back your fight for freedom for as long as it takes.

At the same time in this country, we’ve been pushing through a vast programme of investment in infrastructure, skills, technology. The biggest in a century. Because if I have one insight into human beings, it is that genius, talent, enthusiasm, imagination are evenly distributed throughout the population. But opportunity is not. And that is 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. In the last few days, I have tried to persuade my colleagues that it would be eccentric to change government when we’re delivering so much, and when we have such a vast mandate, and we’re actually only a handful of points behind in the polls. Even in mid-term after quite a few months of pretty relentless sledging and when the economic scene is so difficult domestically and internationally.

I regret not having been successful in those arguments and of course, it is painful to have been unable to see through so many ideas and projects myself. But as we have seen at Westminster the herd instinct is powerful and when the herd moves, it moves. And my friends, in politics, no one is even remotely indispensable.

Our brilliant and Darwinian system will produce another leader equally committed to taking this country forward through tough times. Not just helping families to get through it, but changing and improving the ways we do things. Cutting burdens on businesses and families and yes, cutting taxes. That is the way to generate the growth and income we need to pay for great public services.

To that new leader, whoever he or she may be, I say I will give you as much support as I can. And to you, the British public, I know that there will be many people who are relieved, and perhaps quite a few will be disappointed. And I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world. But them’s the breaks.

I want to thank Carrie, our children, all the members of our family who have had to put up with so much for so long. I want to thank the peerless British Civil Service for all the help and support that you have given our police, our emergency services. And of course, our fantastic NHS who at a critical moment helped to extend my own period in office. As well as our armed services and our agencies that are so admired around the world.

And our indefatigable Conservative party members and supporters, whose selfless campaigning makes our democracy possible. I want to thank the wonderful staff here at Chequers and Number Ten, and our fantastic [unclear] detectives, the one group, by the way, who never leak.

Above all, I want to thank you, the British public. For the immense privilege you have given me., And I want you to know from now on until the new Prime Minister is in place, your interests will be served and the government of the country will be carrying 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 found so many people possessed with such boundless British originality, and so willing to tackle old problems in new ways.

I know even if things can sometimes seem dark now, our future together is golden. Thank you all very much.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka 



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