After downfall, Boris Johnson receives Churchill books as parting gift

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LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held his last scheduled cabinet meeting on Tuesday, receiving first editions of books by wartime leader Winston Churchill on World War Two as a parting gift.

The meeting was held on the hottest day in British history, after Johnson was criticised by the opposition for failing to attend emergency meetings set up to discuss the heatwave response.

Johnson is remaining in office until his successor is named, after saying he would step down having lost support of his party's members of parliament. His downfall followed a series of scandals over lockdown parties at Downing Street and the handling of allegations against lawmakers.

It marks a remarkable collapse for a prime minister who in 2019 won the biggest Conservative vote share since 1979.

Johnson's spokesman said the prime minister used his final cabinet meeting to emphasise his success in lifting COVID lockdowns. Asked if Johnson had reflected on the mistakes that had brought him down, the spokesman said: "I don't have any more to add on that".

"At the conclusion of cabinet, the prime minister was presented with gifts to thank him for his service to the country, including first editions of Winston Churchill's books on the Second World War," the spokesman told reporters.

Churchill is a hero of Johnson's, and the prime minister has written a biography of him.

Johnson's successor is set to be announced on Sept. 5, and there are no cabinet meetings scheduled until then, while parliament is in summer recess.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Peter Graff)

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