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Johnson resigns, remains UK prime minister for now

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By DANICA KIRKA, JILL LAWLESS and SYLVIA HUI

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned Thursday, acknowledging that it was “clearly the will” of his party that he should go.

He stepped down immediately as leader of his Conservative Party but plans to remain as prime minister while the leadership contest is held. He said he has appointed a new Cabinet following a multitude of resignations, but many are calling for him to go now.

It is a humiliating defeat for Johnson, who succeeded in leading Britain out of the European Union and was credited with rolling out one of the world’s most successful mass vaccination campaigns to combat COVID-19.

The announcement came after the latest ethics scandal around Johnson’s leadership led some 50 senior lawmakers to quit the government and left him unable to govern.

Speaking outside No. 10 Downing St., Johnson said he was “immensely proud of the achievements of this government,” from Brexit to steering the country through the pandemic, and leading the West in standing up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But he acknowledged that “in politics, no one is remotely indispensable.”

Johnson had clung to power for two days, defiantly telling lawmakers on Wednesday that he had a “colossal mandate” from voters and intended to get on with the business of government.

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