OPINION - Talking Point: Should Boris Johnson resign as PM immediately or in the autumn?

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Boris Johnson says he will continue until a new leader is in place (Adrian Dennis/PA) (PA Wire)
Boris Johnson says he will continue until a new leader is in place (Adrian Dennis/PA) (PA Wire)

Boris Johnson delivered his announcement on Thursday to say he would be resigning. However, instead of handing over the reins temporarily to Deputy PM Dominic Raab, he said he intends to stick around a little while longer.

“I’ve today appointed a Cabinet to serve, as I will, until a new leader is in place,” he said in his speech outside No 10.

Keir Starmer came out in opposition to the PM’s plan, saying he should walk away immediately: “If they don’t get rid of him, Labour will step up in the national interest and bring a vote of no confidence because we can’t go on with this prime minister clinging on for months and months to come.”

The Labour leader may feel more empowered to follow through with the threat having subsequently been cleared of any penalty from Durham police. Had a fine been issued, Starmer said he would leave his position – in contrast to Boris Johnson, who didn’t consider his own lockdown breach a resigning matter. And indeed, initially seeming to resist new pressure this week to quit, and now going ahead as a ‘lame duck’ Prime Minister until his party chooses a new leader.

Some within the Tory ranks appear unsure that’s the right thing to do, potentially for another three months. Sources say Johnson plans to go ahead of the Conservative party conference, which starts on October 2nd.

In the meantime, a speech on the economy is still due in the coming weeks from the PM. This is of course in the context of Johnson appointing Nadhim Zahawi as Chancellor on Wednesday following the resignation of Rishi Sunak – and Zahawi just a day later telling the PM: “You must do the right thing and go now.”

This message effectively did lead to Boris Johnson accepting he should indeed go, but perhaps not necessarily ‘now’.

Should Boris resign as PM immediately or in the autumn? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below for the chance to be featured on the ES website.

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