Johnson bids farewell, Truss prepares to step up as UK’s PM
London, Sep 6 (EFE).- Boris Johnson gave a farewell speech outside Downing Street on Tuesday ahead of his resignation as the United Kingdom’s prime minister and handover of power to Liz Truss, the new leader of the ruling Conservative Party.
“This is it folks,” Johnson told his supporters, colleagues and reporters hours before a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II at her Scottish residence Balmoral Castle to make his resignation official, after announcing it in July.
The divisive politician launched into a review of his tenure, outlining his handling of Brexit, the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines and the UK’s support for Ukraine following the Russian invasion.
Johnson, 58, said he would offer his “most fervent support” to the incoming government, which is to be led by Liz Truss following her victory in the Conservative Party leadership election on Monday.
“The torch will finally be passed to a new Conservative leader, the baton will be handed over in what has unexpectedly turned out to be a relay race – they changed the rules halfway through, but never mind that now,” Johnson, the third Tory PM in six years whose tenure has been cut short, added.
“I am now like one of those booster rockets that had fulfilled its function and I will now be gently reentering the atmosphere and splashing down invisibly in some remote and obscure corner of the Pacific.”
Johnson said that thanks to his government the UK had the “economic strength” to “give people the cash they need” to weather the energy crisis, which he added had been caused by “Putin’s vicious war.”
Truss is expected to outline her plans to tackle the UK’s cost of living crisis once she takes to the helm of a new cabinet of ministers.
Following his speech, Johnson greeted his colleagues and left for the airport to fly to Scotland.
Due to mobility issues, the queen has broken from decades of tradition this year by meeting the outgoing prime minister in Scotland, where she spends the summer, rather than Buckingham Palace, in London.
Johnson’s resignation was precipitated by mass resignations in his government in response to a string of controversies in his leadership, including the illegal parties held at Downing Street while the UK was in the teeth of a strict Covid-19 lockdown.
Truss, Johnson’s foreign secretary, will also travel to Scotland to meet with the queen on Tuesday.
Once the handover is complete, she will return to London to draw up her new cabinet.
The next UK general election is slated for 2024. EFE