London - Keir Starmer, the leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, said on Thursday that news of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s expected resignation as leader from the Conservative Party was “good news for the country”, Reuters reports.
“We don’t need to change the Tory at the top – we need a proper change of government,” Starmer said. “We need a fresh start for Britain.”
Johnson agreed to step down as party leader after speaking with Conservative Private Members’ Committee (1922 Committee) chairperson Sir Graham Brady, the BBC reported on Thursday morning.
Johnson had agreed to resign but hoped to stay in office until the autumn while a leadership contest takes place to replace him, according to the BBC.
After days of digging in and refusing to step down, Johnson’s departure will come as a relief to many Conservative Party lawmakers who accused him of plunging Britain into a near constitutional crisis.
UK stocks climbed, with the domestically focused FTSE 250 index hitting a session high, after media reports said Johnson would announce his resignation as prime minister on Thursday, the BBC reported.
The FTSE 100, which tends to benefit from a weaker pound, gained 1.2% by 0825 GMT.
Meanwhile, the FTSE 250 midcap index, more exposed to the domestic economy, climbed 0.9% to hit a session high. Sterling jumped 0.5% following the media reports.
The currency hit two-year lows versus the dollar on Wednesday after the resignation of top ministers that had left the government dangerously close to paralysis, the BBC said.
Johnson became prime minister in July 2019 after winning a Tory leadership contest, and went on to win an historic landslide general election victory five months later.
He won the election vowing to “get Brexit done”, but his government has been dogged by a series of controversies in recent months, not least a police investigation into parties in Downing Street during lockdown.