Instability and an unedifying leadership race ahead as Boris Johnson finally stands down

Editorial: A new leader will redress the moral deficit, but it is difficult to see them revitalising a very tired and now traumatised government

Thursday 07 July 2022 21:30 BST
Johnson announces his resignation outside on No 10 on Thursday
Johnson announces his resignation outside on No 10 on Thursday (EPA)

The not-quite former prime minister Boris Johnson used to argue that changing prime minister at a time such as this would be a grave error. Of course, as ever, that was a guileful inversion of the truth, because it is precisely at times of crisis that a nation needs strong leadership, rather than dither, delay and sleaze.

The alternative, and the path not taken, would have been a clean-break exit for the prime minister, given that half his ministers had resigned and an acting prime minister, Dominic Raab, was ready to serve for a short time. With the shortest possible time wasted, the new prime minister could quickly “get on with the job” and set a new course for the government.

Instead, cakeist to the very end, Mr Johnson agreed to stand down as prime minister, but only on the condition he could carry on being prime minister while his successor is being selected. Perhaps Mr Johnson wishes to enjoy the perks of office, gild his legacy or dreams of a comeback.

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