Prime Minister Boris Johnson 'sad' to resign but 'them's the breaks'
Boris Johnson has resigned in an official statement outside the door of 10 Downing Street.
Boos and jeers were heard amongst some applause as Johnson ended his resignation statement, in which he told the public "there will be many people who are relieved" by his departure.
"I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world, but them's the breaks."
Johnson will remain in position as prime minister until the next leader of the Conservative party is selected in an internal party contest.
Accompanied by his wife Carrie Johnson, children, loyal ally Nadine Dorries and others, Johnson said: "It is clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative party that there should be a new leader and a new prime minister."
Johnson said his new cabinet will serve until his replacement is made, with the timetable for this to be set out next week.
And he hit out at the "herd instinct" in Westminster.
Thanking the public for his mandate to govern and vote share returned in 2019, he said: "The reason I have fought so hard in the last few days to continue to deliver that mandate in person is not just because I wanted to but because I felt it was my job, my duty, my obligation to continue to you to continue to do what we promised in 2019."
Johnson said he was "immensely proud" of his achievements, including Brexit and Covid vaccine rollout, as well as providing support for Ukraine.
"We in the UK will continue to back your fight for as long as it takes," he said in a message to "the people of Ukraine".
He said pursuing a levelling-up agenda would make the UK the "most prosperous in Europe".
And he went on: "In the last few days I tried to convince 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 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 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 and when the herd moves, it moves.
"And, my friends, in politics noone is remotely indispensible and our brilliant and Darwinian system will produce another leader equally committed to taking this country forward through tough times."
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack, who was present for the speech, said he was "sad to see" his "good friend" stand down because he has "achieved a huge amount in office".
"Most importantly, he has worked tirelessly to strengthen the Union," Jack said, adding. "I know that the next leader of the Conservative party will build on Boris Johnson's many achievements.
"I look forward to the party electing a leader who will unite us, and get on with the business of delivering for people throughout the United Kingdom."