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LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson should be replaced immediately rather than be allowed to remain as a caretaker leader until his successor is found, several Conservative lawmakers said on Thursday (Jul 7).

Johnson announced his resignation as prime minister on Thursday after he was ditched by cabinet ministers and many Conservative Party’s lawmakers who said he was no longer fit to govern.

Speaking outside his Downing Street office, Johnson announced his “painful” resignation but defied pressure to step down now, insisting he planned to stay on as prime minister while his party picks his successor.

But seven Conservative members of parliament demanded Johnson leave office immediately because he has lost his authority and said an interim prime minister should take over during a leadership contest, a process that could take weeks.

Dominic Raab, the deputy prime minister, would be a suitable replacement, two senior Conservative lawmakers said.

“We need to be rid of Boris as soon as possible. He’s too toxic. Raab as interim prime minister would be acceptable,” one Conservative lawmaker said.

The prime minister’s decision to quit marks the end of a rollercoaster political career in which he led Britain out of the European Union and took his Conservative Party to the largest election victory in three decades.

It follows three years of scandals, including anger over parties held at his Downing Street office during the coronavirus lockdowns, accusations of breaking international law over his threat to override parts of the treaty governing Britain’s exit from the European Union and, most recently, his handling of sexual harassment allegations against a lawmaker.


Simon Hoare, another Conservative member of parliament, said Johnson’s behaviour meant he had forfeited the right to remain as a caretaker leader.

“Ministers resigned because of the PM. The party lost confidence because of the PM. It is beyond credulity that Mr Johnson can stay in office … He has to go and go means go.”

Business minister Kwasi Kwarteng said the Conservative Party needed a new leader as soon as feasible, and insisted the government must continue to operate.

“We now need a new leader as soon as practicable. Someone who can rebuild trust, heal the country, and set out a new, sensible and consistent economic approach to help families,” he said. “The wheels of government must continue in the meantime.

Another Conservative lawmaker said if Johnson tried to stay on as caretaker premier, he would ask the executive of the 1922 Committee, an influential group of Conservative lawmakers, to tell the prime minister he should go now.

“I think his behaviour over the last few days has shown we would be better off with a clean break,” the lawmaker said.

Chris Bryant, a member of parliament for the opposition Labour Party, said Britain needed an established government to deal with the twin challenges of a cost-of-living crisis and the war in Ukraine.

Bryant said, for example, that a caretaker government would be unable to deploy troops. “A caretaker government can’t do that. It simply can’t, the rules forbid them from doing that. So can we please, please have a proper government soon.”