British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday announced his resignation as Conservative Party leader after he was abandoned by his close allies in the wake of a series of scandals that rocked his government,

triggering a leadership election for a new Tory leader.

Johnson, 58, said he would remain in charge at 10, Downing Street, until the process of electing a new leader is completed—expected in October when the Conservative Party conference is scheduled.

He blamed the “herd instinct” of his party as he delivered his resignation speech on the doorstep of 10, Downing Street, and expressed his sadness at giving up the “best job in the world”.

“I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world,” Johnson said in his speech, marking an end to his three tumultuous years in power.

“It is clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party that there should be a new leader of that party and therefore a new Prime Minister,” said Johnson, showing very little emotion as he read out his speech which lasted just over six minutes.

Referring to the high drama of the last few days, Johnson said he had tried to persuade his colleagues that it would be “eccentric” to change governments with such a “vast mandate” and when the economic scene was so difficult domestically and internationally.

Many Conservative MPs, however, are critical of Johnson’s plan to continue in office for another few months.

But Johnson remains defiant even in apparent defeat and went ahead with appointing a series of replacement Cabinet ministers to fill the posts left vacant by former ministers. — PTI