Boris Johnson hailed his legacy today as he delivered his farewell speech before heading to hand his resignation to the Queen.
Watched by MPs, aides and allies as he spoke on the steps of No10, the outgoing PM put a brave face on his departure saying ‘this is it, folks’.
After walking out of the famous black door with wife Carrie, he pointed out he ‘got Brexit done’ and oversaw the ‘fastest vaccine rollout’ during near three-year stint.
And he delivered a stark message that Britain must continue supporting Ukraine against Vladimir Putin’s aggression, despite the economic pain.
In a barb at MPs for dramatically ousting him, Mr Johnson said: ‘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.’
Mr Johnson also sparked laughter by comparing himself to a ‘booster rocket’ that was being jettisoned, and thanked staff for tolerating his wayward dog Dilyn.
‘I will be offering this government nothing but the most fervent support,’ he said. ‘We will get through it, we will come out stronger the other side… it is time for us all to get behind Liz Truss.’
Amid warm applause, Mr Johnson shook hands with some of the crowd – which included current and former Cabinet ministers, as well as Jacob Rees-Mogg with one of his sons – before getting into a government car with Carrie and their two children.
Mr Johnson was forced to bring forward his address due to bad weather expected to affect his flight to see the Queen in Scotland.
In other developments on a day of high drama in British politics:
- Ms Truss is planning to freeze energy bills for homes and businesses for two years in a huge £100billion bailout to ease the cost-of-living crisis;
- The incoming PM is putting the final touches to her Cabinet that should be appointed this afternoon and this evening;
- Nadine Dorries has resigned as Culture Secretary and will be elevated to the House of Lords, triggering an early by-election test for the new premier;
- Ms Truss will deliver her own speech on the steps of Downing Street around 4pm after officially becoming PM.
Watched by MPs, aides and allies as he spoke on the steps of No10, the outgoing PM put a brave face on his departure saying ‘this is it, folks’
After walking out of the famous black door with wife Carrie, he pointed out he ‘got Brexit done’ and oversaw the ‘fastest vaccine rollout’
Mr Johnson was watched by a crowd as he gave his final address today
The ougoing PM strode to the podium to give a bullish speech
He is due to see the monarch, 96, at Balmoral in the Cairngorms at 11.20am – and Royal aides are famously sticklers for timings.
Mr Johnson will be followed swiftly into the royal residence by Liz Truss, who will officially be asked to form a Government as prime minister.
The former premier is likely to skip the Conservative Party conference this autumn as he tries to keep a low profile after stepping down as Prime Minister, allies believe.
While supporters hope he could stage a comeback, he is instead planning to spend the coming weeks ‘representing his constituents’ and backing Liz Truss.
A Whitehall source said he would now be a ‘private individual’ and would ‘probably not’ attend his party’s annual autumn gathering in Birmingham next month.
Close ally Nadine Dorries (left) and sister Rachel were among those in Downing Street to witness his farewell speech
Current and former Cabinet ministers had turned up to hear Mr Johnson’s goodbye words
Mr Johnson was forced to bring forward his address due to bad weather expected to affect his flight to see the Queen in Scotland
The outgoing Prime Minister is likely to join the lucrative speaking circuit and write his memoirs but will resist making high-profile political interventions, sources said. Will Walden, who was Mr Johnson’s communications chief when he was mayor of London, told LBC radio yesterday he expected he would ‘disappear off to make a lot of money’.
Amid the speculation about Mr Johnson’s future, his wife Carrie shared a touching tribute to his time as Prime Minister as they prepared to leave Downing Street with their children.
She posted a photo on Instagram that showed her, Mr Johnson and their children Wilfred, two, and Romy, nine months, walking through the door of No 10 together for the last time.
Wearing a long white dress, she carried Romy as Wilfred did a kick with his left leg while holding his parents’ hands. Alongside the photo, Mrs Johnson, 33, wrote a short post reflecting on her children’s happy time at both No 10 and Chequers. The family will stand outside No 10 today to watch Mr Johnson make his farewell speech.
Mr Walden also told ITV ‘not many’ MPs would like Mr Johnson to stage a comeback as there is only ‘a small coterie of very, very loyal Boris acolytes’, and predicted it would have to be a ‘strange set of circumstances’ for him to return.
But at the weekend, Mr Johnson’s former chief of staff in No 10 Lord Udny-Lister said Tory MPs would come to regret ousting him and that he might be tempted to run for leader again in future.
Carrie posted a photo on Instagram that showed her, Mr Johnson and their children Wilfred, two, and Romy, nine months, walking through the door of No 10 together for the last time
The PM will hand over to his replacement Liz Truss today, after the winner of the Tory leadership contest was finally announced