LONDON, July 7 (Reuters) – Boris Johnson announced he was resigning as Britain’s prime minister, bowing to calls from ministerial colleagues and lawmakers in his Conservative Party.
Below are some reactions:
KEIR STARMER, LEADER OF OPPOSITION LABOUR PARTY
“It is good news for the country that Boris Johnson has resigned as Prime Minister.
“But it should have happened long ago. He was always unfit for office. He has been responsible for lies, scandal and fraud on an industrial scale.”
JUSTIN TOMLINSON, DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF CONSERVATIVE PARTY
“I was Team Boris, as the GE (general election) showed he was our star player who connected across traditional political divides. Yes there were ups and downs, but he turbo-charged social mobility and opportunity.
“His resignation was inevitable. As a Party we must quickly unite and focus on what matters. These are serious times on many fronts.”
KWASI KWARTENG, BUSINESS MINISTER
“What a depressing state of affairs. So much needless damage caused.
“We now need a new Leader as soon as practicable. Someone who can rebuild trust, heal the country, and set out a new, sensible and consistent economic approach to help families.
“The wheels of Government must continue in the meantime.”
NICK GIBB, CONSERVATIVE LAWMAKER AND FORMER MINISTER
“As well as resigning as Party leader the PM must resign his office. After losing so many ministers, he has lost the trust and authority required to continue. We need an acting PM who is not a candidate for leader to stabilise the government while a new leader is elected.”
GEORGE FREEMAN, CONSERVATIVE LAWMAKER AND FORMER MINISTER
“We need Ministers back at their desks.
“Now PM has finally done the decent thing he needs to hand in the seals of office, apologise to Her Majesty, allow her to appoint a Caretaker under whom Ministers can serve, so the Conservative Party can choose a new leader properly.”
SENIOR CONSERVATIVE LAWMAKER
“Relief basically. And also sadness at a missed opportunity. A man destroyed by his own fundamental flaws.”
RUTH DAVIDSON, MEMBER OF HOUSE OF LORDS AND FORMER SCOTTISH CONSERVATIVE PARTY LEADER
“There’s no way he can stay on until October. It’s arrant nonsense to think he can. Someone needs to grip this.”
NICOLA STURGEON, SCOTTISH FIRST MINISTER
“There will be a widespread sense of relief that the chaos of the last few days (indeed months) will come to an end, though notion of Boris Johnson staying on as PM until autumn seems far from ideal, and surely not sustainable?”
MICHELLE O’NEILL, LEADER OF SINN FEIN IN NORTHERN IRELAND
“It has been an utter absurdity that the people here have been subjected to Boris Johnson for any length of time. He is a figure of absolute disrepute. Anyone who tries to sabotage our peace agreements, a quarter century of progress and our shared future is truly no friend of ours.”
EUROPEAN COMMISSION SPOKESPERSON
“From our point of view, the political developments do not change our position on the (Northern Ireland) protocol or the way in which we work with our British counterparts on Northern Ireland.
“Our position is that we should endeavour to seek solutions as regards to the implementation of the protocol.”
KREMLIN SPOKESMAN DMITRY PESKOV
“He doesn’t like us, we don’t like him either.”
MARIA ZAKHAROVA, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON
“Boris Johnson was hit by a boomerang launched by himself … His comrades-in-arms turned him in.”
Zakharova said Johnson’s fall was a symptom of the decline of the West, which she said was riven by political, ideological and economic crisis.
“The moral of the story is: do not seek to destroy Russia … Russia cannot be destroyed. You can break your teeth on it – and then choke on them.”
REACTION FROM FINANCIAL MARKETS:
News of Johnson’s imminent resignation helped push the domestically focused FTSE 250 .FTMC index to a one-week high as the pound strengthened. It was last up 0.8%. The FTSE 100 .FTSE index eased slightly and was up 1%.
Against the U.S. dollar, the British pound GBP=D3 rose to $1.1994, up 0.6% at the day’s high, from $1.1938 before the news broke. It hit a March 2020 low of $1.1887 on Wednesday.
COLIN ASHER, SENIOR ECONOMIST, MIZUHO, LONDON:
“It’s hard to see sterling going much lower than here. There was a bit of a pop when he said he was going but first, most of it is already in the price in the wake of recent events. Second, this fight is about personality and probity rather than policy.
“The market assumption is that policy won’t change significantly. I don’t think the new guy will come in with massive tax cuts. There will be tinkering and even before this week people expected more fiscal relief in the autumn when bills go up. Probably we get looser fiscal policy but because the fight is not about policy, any expectations for policy change will be relatively modest in this environment.”
PHILIP SHAW, CHIEF ECONOMIST, INVESTEC, LONDON:
“It’s normal when you see political chaos of this nature that it drags a currency down.
“For the sterling reaction, we’re looking at three possible things. Firstly, this is the final phase in what’s been an uncertain period, about who stays at number 10 or who is at number 10. Secondly it’s possible we’ll get a less confrontational set of negotiations with the EU on the Northern Ireland protocol, which reduces the risk of trade tensions between the EU and the UK, which is positive for sterling.
“Thirdly, with Boris Johnson no longer as prime minister, one could argue that the campaign for Scottish independence will take a bit of a knock, perhaps that’s reduced the risk of a pro-Scottish independence vote if one is granted next Autumn.”