Boris Johnson has quit as leader of the Conservatives but will continue to serve as Prime Minister until the party chooses a successor.
In his resignation speech outside No.10 Downing Street on Thursday Johnson said the process of selecting the new leader would begin immediately.
More than 50 MPs resigned from the government or party roles in protest at Johnson’s leadership since Tuesday evening (5 July), with the mass exodus being triggered by the resignations of Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid from the Cabinet.
Johnson’s decision to step down has been universally welcomed by MPs on Merseyside, even if his decision to linger on as Prime Minister until the autumn has not.
The new Tory leader is expected to be in place by the time of the Conservative Party conference in October.
Merseyside MPs react to resignation
On hearing the long-awaited news that Johnson would be stepping down, Ian Byrne, Labour MP for West Derby, simple stated: “Thank the lord.”
The campaigning parliamentarian and MP of the Year added on twitter: “Boris Johnson has commanded a media circus at every stage of his political career and his end game will be no different.
“But whether this over privileged Bullingdon Boy clings on for an hour, day or months 11 million people can’t afford to eat because of Tory political choices.”
Mike Amesbury, the Labour MP for Weaver Vale, was happy to wave goodbye to ‘captain chaos’ but warned the nation would now witness an ugly fight for control of the Tory party and the premiership.
“Finally captain chaos has announced his intention to resign as even the most loyal cheerleaders scurried off the sinking ship,” he tweeted. “No remorse, no apology. We will now witness the ugly bun fight of a Tory leadership contest while Britain struggles along.”
Bill Esterton, Labour MP for Sefton Central, poked fun at Johnson’s decision to linger on as temporary Prime Minister. He retweeted a post from colleague Angela Rayner that featuring an article written by Johnson criticising Gordon Brown for doing the same thing.
In the article, Johnson likened the former Labour Prime Minister to David Brent ‘haunting The Office in that excruciating episode where he refuses to acknowledge he’s been sacked’.
Mick Whitley, Labour MP for Birkenhead, was happy to say ‘good riddance’ to a man who had plunged his government into crisis and divided the country.
“His legacy will be his spectacular mismanagement of the pandemic, an out of control cost of living crisis, and a country that’s immeasurably more divided,” he wrote.
“Yet again, our new Prime Minister is set to be decided by a small group of Conservative Party members - without the public having their say. And new management won’t deliver the fundamental change that this country so badly needs. We need a general election.”
Even Merseyside’s only Conservative MP, Southport’s Damien Moore, was eager to distance himself from the outgoing Prime Minister.
He wrote on Facebook on Wednesday: “Last month, I voted no confidence in the leadership of the Prime Minister …. The Prime Minister must resign.”