Boris Johnson Resigns From Parliament

“It is very sad to be leaving Parliament — at least for now.”
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 27: Former London Mayor Boris Johnson leaves his home on June 27, 2016 in London, England. Mr Johnson is thought to be the frontrunner to succeed Prime Minister David Cameron after he resigned following the European Union referendum result to leave. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Former British prime minister Boris Johnson abruptly resigned from Parliament on Friday after receiving the results of an investigation he claimed was meant to “drive me out.”

Johnson is under investigation by a committee of the House of Commons, which is looking into whether Johnson lied to Parliament about parties in Downing Street that flouted COVID lockdowns, known as “Partygate.”

The former prime minister said he was “bewildered and appalled” to receive a letter from the investigating committee, which he said made “it clear, much to my amazement, that they are determined to use the proceedings against me to drive me out of Parliament.”

Johnson said the investigation’s “Partygate” report “is riddled with inaccuracies and reeks of prejudice but under their absurd and unjust process I have no formal ability to challenge anything they say.”

The “Partygate” report has not been released publicly yet, but Johnson received a confidential copy.

“I have today written to my association in Uxbridge and South Ruislip to say that I am stepping down forthwith and triggering an immediate by-election,” Johnson said.

He hinted, however, that his political career may not be completely over.

“It is very sad to be leaving Parliament — at least for now,” he said.


His resignation allows him to avoid being disciplined or ousted from his Commons seat, and it will also keep him able to run again for Parliament in the future if he decides to do so.

Last year, Johnson became the first sitting prime minister to be found guilty of breaking the law when the Metropolitan Police issued him a fine for attending a gathering in Downing Street during the COVID lockdown.

The police ended up issuing 126 fines over the late-night parties, which featured alcohol.

In March, Johnson told the committee he did mislead Parliament about gatherings during lockdown, but only accidentally.

Johnson told the committee that he “honestly believed” the five events he attended were “lawful work gatherings” that would boost morale among staffers who were overworked during the pandemic. One event was a send-off for a staffer, and one was Johnson’s own surprise birthday party.

“They have still not produced a shred of evidence that I knowingly or recklessly misled the Commons,” Johnson said Friday.

He slammed the investigation as “a witch hunt” and simply revenge “for Brexit and ultimately to reverse the 2016 referendum result.”

“Their purpose from the beginning has been to find me guilty, regardless of the facts,” Johnson said.

Johnson, 58, was prime minister and leader of the Conservative Party from July 2019 to September 2022. Previously, he was mayor of London from 2008 to 2016.

The flamboyant Conservative leader became known as a populist leader with broad appeal, although he faced harsh political critics, who accused him of bending rules to suit his style, and racism.

As prime minister, Johnson fought to “get Brexit done,” even if it meant moving forward with a “no-deal” Brexit, meaning the United Kingdom would withdraw from the European Union without a withdrawal agreement.

Johnson’s resignation will trigger a special election to replace him as representative from west London in the House of Commons.

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