LONDON – As news of Boris Johnson’s intention to step down as Conservative Party leader began to spread in central London on Thursday, many Britons expressed a sense of relief.
Francis Jackson, 63, a retired police officer from Manchester, England, said: “The sooner he resigns, the better. “He is bringing the government and the UK into disrepute.”
Mr Jackson, who says he is a socialist, said he supported Mr Johnson in the last general election, in 2019, in what he called a “protest vote” against to the former leader of the Labor Party, Jeremy Corbyn. Mr Jackson said he had hoped the prime minister would get Brexit done and bring self-determination back to Britain.
But when rumors of a breach of coronavirus restrictions in Downing Street began to circulate, he said, he changed his mind about the prime minister.
Mr. Jackson said: “He’s been branded as a sick liar, and I don’t like that. “I believe you have to lead by example, and the guy has no shame and no integrity.”
He said people could of course make mistakes, but Mr Johnson should have simply admitted them. “I would have to respect him more,” he said.
An informal survey on Thursday morning of Britons in central London – the city that voted overwhelmingly against Mr Johnson in the 2019 election – showed most respondents were satisfied with the news. announced that Mr Johnson would resign.
“Period!” Christopher Meader, 71, said: “He was a very bad prime minister and a very bad man. It is a disaster for this country.”
Mr Meader, a retired civil servant, said he had worked under several prime ministers and that Mr Johnson was “the worst by far”. He said he was surprised Mr Johnson had agreed to step down now, after keeping his job through a protracted series of scandals.
“He was like a kid who didn’t want to let go of his favorite toy,” he said. “It’s shameful.”
David Levi, a data scientist in London, also said he was surprised to see Mr Johnson gone at this point. “When you hand over a shameless man, you expect him to stay as long as you like,” Mr. Levi said.
Polly Hatfield, 30, an editor in London, said she was relieved Mr Johnson was going. She called his behavior “disturbing” and “shameful” and said it undermined the British government. “He has no dignity and no respect.”
In Wakefield, a city in the north of England, where the Labor Party recently won back a parliamentary seat that the Conservatives had won as part of Mr Johnson’s 2019 victory, some voters welcomed the news of the prime minister’s resignation.
They point to what they see as the government’s mishandling of the pandemic, including a feeling that officials have imposed one set of rules on the public while following a different set of rules for themselves.
Anthony Sargeant, 44, who voted for Labor in last month’s parliamentary election, said: “I’m happy to see the back of him. “He is becoming a laughing stock. He has disturbed the integrity of UK politics. ”
Marie Holroyd, 55, who also voted for Labor in the recent election, said of Mr Johnson: “Everybody knows that he only cares about himself and his position. I just don’t think he has what it takes to be a leader.”
Ms Holroyd, a social worker, said she had seen first-hand the effects of social funding cuts during the pandemic, which forced her to quit her job two weeks ago due to burnout. She said the promises Mr Johnson had made, including increased funding for the National Health Service, never came to fruition.
“Whoever gets involved has to be better than this current government,” she said.