He became the third consecutive British prime minister to resign before his term in recent years, following in the footsteps of Theresa May and David Cameron.
While Johnson was met with applause from his Downing Street colleagues, boos from a nearby crowd threatened to drown out his speech. Meanwhile, a megaphone released a modified version of the Bay City Rollers song “Bye Bye Baby” with the lyrics changed to “Bye bye Boris”.
Some in the crowd celebrated Johnson’s departure.
“He’s a natural liar and you can’t trust someone who tells so many lies,” said Diane Flynn, 40, who was visiting London from Glasgow, Scotland.
Months of discontent with Johnson’s rule and morals erupted within his ruling party, with resignations Treasurer Rishi Sunak Health Minister Sajid Javid separated them by minutes on Tuesday evening.
The final straw for them was the prime minister’s shifting interpretations of his handling of allegations of sexual misconduct within the Conservative Party.
Calls for Johnson’s resignation only intensified in the hours that followed, with more than 50 other members of the government resigning as well.
The embattled prime minister had so few allies in the final hours before his announcement that even the ministers he had appointed 36 hours before turned against him. Before his announcement, Johnson’s chancellor and education secretary had ditched Johnson in an effort to hang on to him. They were joined by a host of other ministers – leaving the government almost rudderless as it faces some of its most serious crises in decades.
The newly appointed advisor, Nadim Al-Zahawi, wrote in an open letter published on Twitter early Thursday.
“Travel specialist. Typical social media scholar. Friend of animals everywhere. Freelance zombie ninja. Twitter buff.”