Boris Johnson, the U.K.'s embattled prime minister, announced he's resigning Boris Johnson finally succumbed to political reality Thursday and resigned after the latest ethics scandal around his leadership led some 50 senior lawmakers to quit the government.

Boris Johnson, the U.K.'s embattled prime minister, announced he's resigning

Boris Johnson, the U.K.'s embattled prime minister, announced he's resigning

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Boris Johnson finally succumbed to political reality Thursday and resigned after the latest ethics scandal around his leadership led some 50 senior lawmakers to quit the government.

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he will resign.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON: 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.

MARTINEZ: That's Johnson speaking in front of his residence, 10 Downing Street, earlier today.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Over the last two days, more than 50 lawmakers stepped down, sometimes one an hour. A steady stream of members of his own party visited him one by one yesterday, asking him to go.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHNSON: The reason I have fought so hard in the last 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 in 2019.

MARTINEZ: Johnson's party did, indeed, win a resounding victory in parliamentary elections three years ago. He said that mandate from voters empowered him to stay on.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHNSON: In the last few days, I've tried to persuade 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.

FADEL: But it wasn't just a matter of polls that led Johnson's fellow Tories to call for his resignation.

MARTINEZ: No, scandal after scandal over the last few months - from flagrant violations of the U.K.'s lockdown rules to elevating an MP Johnson knew had a history of alleged sexual misconduct - all that lost him the faith of many members of his own party. Speaking directly to both his supporters and detractors, Johnson said...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHNSON: I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world, but them's the breaks.

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