Boris Johnson resigns: How the world reacted

As Boris Johnson announced his intention to resign as Conservative Party Leader, media around the world reacted to events in Westminster this week with incredulity and humour.

France's Le Monde called Johnson's fall from power "chaotic and laborious", with the United Kingdom's left - on Wednesday night - with "a bloodless government, surrounded by rebels and unable to act".

El Pais saw both the serious and funny sides of events, with William Iniguez writing: "Wednesday's events ranged from Shakespearean tragedy to the famous British comedy The Thick of It , and the comedic elements were evident.

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"The tragic also, however, flew over yesterday's session," he continued.

Boris Johnson arriving in Downing Street after the Conservative Party was returned to power in the General Election with an increased majority. Boris Johnson will publicly announce his resignation later today, likely before lunchtime, the BBC is reporting. Issue date: Thursday July 7, 2022.
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Boris Johnson to resign as Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader

"The powerful 1922 committee decided not to modify its internal rules in order to facilitate a new motion of censure against the premier, in the hope that he himself would accept its inevitable outcome.

"But a subsequent visit of his ministers, who worked with Theresa May in 2019, did not do so with a Johnson who emphasised his absolute majority, declared that he would not resign , and made it clear that they would have to be the ones to force him to leave the position.

"His Numantine resistance, in fact, was accentuated as the hours went by when, increasingly surrounded, he announced the dismissal "for disloyalty" of Michael Gove - the almighty minister - who, in turn, betrayed Johnson in the 2016 primaries.:

In the New York Times, columnist Martha Gill believed Johnson's big mistake was to have apologised.

"In a tenure marked by scandal and controversy, Mr. Johnson has occasionally expressed regret or halfheartedly suggested that things would change. But he made a point of never fully apologising," she wrote.

"It was, alongside his boisterous humor and unflappable demeanour, a cornerstone of his conduct and style. Now, as the country awaits his removal within days, he might reflect that of all his miscalculations, the most fatal one was to say he was sorry."

In the Washington Post, Adam Taylor said Boris Johnson's superpower was "his lack of shame".

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"He could end up the first British prime minister brought down not by personal shame, but by a collective cringe," wrote Taylor, adding: "if the relentless pace of scandals hadn’t worn the prime minister down, it wore down his allies. They realised they were being sullied by his reputation, rather than burnished by it."

Taylor pointed to the long list of problems facing the UK, and concluded many - including the current political crisis - were because of Brexit. "This era of audacity and rule-breaking in British politics may be about to end, but its repercussions will outlast it by a long way."

The Wall Street Journal branded events "one of the most extraordinary 36 hours in British politics", and Johnson's travails as "astonishing".

"His decision marks an inglorious end to one of the most tumultuous political premierships in recent British history," wrote correspondent Max Colchester, adding that following a leadership contest "Whoever prevails will come to power against a backdrop of soaring inflation and worsening economic gloom".

In the New Yorker, Sam Knight felt it was Johnson's lies which did for him, as his colleagues rebelled against being sent out to repeat and defend them. "The dread of being sent to another TV studio in response to yet another tawdry story and dubious denial may be what pushed Javid, Sunak, and the rest to the edge," he wrote.

"But," he added, "Johnson’s constant lying was only a symptom of a deeper condition, which is an absence of purpose for being in government at all.

"In recent weeks, Johnson has seemed increasingly out of touch. His bombast and optimism—a powerful political tonic that enabled Brexit, and all its vicissitudes, to take place—have come across as discordant."

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Writing for the Sydney Morning Herald, author Gwynne Dyer also felt it was Johnson's lies - his "incessant, instinctive, stupid lies" - which had brought him down.

"When most people lie, they first do a swift mental calculation about whether it will work," writes Dyer, "because being caught in a lie is generally worse than the cost of telling the truth.

"Johnson doesn’t do that, or at least he doesn’t do it very well. He’s not even daunted by the fact that other people will know from personal experience that he is lying.

"In Chico Marx’s deathless words, 'Who ya gonna believe? Me or your own eyes?'"