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Isa Soares Tonight

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Resigns; World Leaders React To Boris Johnson's Resignation. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired July 07, 2022 - 14:00   ET




BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: To you, the British public, I know that there will be many people who are relieved and perhaps, quite a

few who will also be disappointed. And I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world. The them's, the breaks.


ISA SOARES, CNN HOST: A historic moment as the British prime minister resigns. I'm Isa Soares outside the houses of parliament. It is 7:00 p.m.

here in London. Tonight, Boris Johnson finally bows to overwhelming pressure and promises to step down as leader of the United Kingdom's


He admitted that his position has become untenable after a crushing wave of resignations. Speaking outside Number 10 Downing Street, Johnson lacked his

characteristic flamboyance. Have a look.


JOHNSON: It is clearly now the will of the parliamentary conservative party, that there should be a new leader of that party, therefore a new

prime minister. And I've agreed with Sue Gray and Brady; the chairman of our back-bench MPs, that the process of choosing that new leader should

begin now.


SOARES: But he is not going just yet, vowing to stay on until a new Conservative Party leader has been chosen. And that's something many are

extremely unhappy about. Bianca Nobilo has the story.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the moment he'd longed to avoid. Boris Johnson announcing he'll step down as U.K. prime


JOHNSON: To you, the British public, I know that there will be many people who are relieved and perhaps, quite a few who will also be disappointed.

And I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world. The them's, the breaks. Thank you all very much.

NOBILO: It's the culmination of a gruesome 24 hours. Where Johnson saw his government crumble around him, 56 MPs from his own party resigned as he

desperately tried to steady the ship. Even the newly-appointed U.K. finance minister telling the prime minister to do the right thing and go now, just

24 hours after he vouched for him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think this prime minister has integrity?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do. I think he --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So we need to know --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, because he's --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Determined to deliver for this country.

NOBILO: In the end, support for Johnson had evaporated, and he got that message loud and clear.

JOHNSON: As we've seen Westminster, the herd instinct is powerful when the herd moves, it moves. And my friends, in politics, no one is remotely


NOBILO: It's not known when Johnston will leave the stage, with his team suggesting he may stay on as caretaker prime minister until as late as


KEIR STARMER, BRITISH LABOR PARTY LEADER: He needs to go completely. None of this nonsense about clinging on for a few months. He's inflicted lies,

fraud and chaos in the country.

NOBILO: is the end of a premiership mired in scandal, but Johnson's exit leaves the question of who will take his place? Defense Minister Ben

Wallace is the favorite among Conservative Party members, nearly resigned chancellor Rishi Sunak is another.

QUENTIN PEEL, ASSOCIATE FELLOW, CHATHAM HOUSE: Conservatives want to be in power, now that is the question. That's where Boris Johnson seems to be

letting them down. But are the alternatives out there? I'm not sure Rishi Sunak really has it in him. They've got to find somebody who brings

together both the pro-Brexit and the anti-Brexit wings of the party. And that's going to be very difficult to do.

NOBILO: A difficult choice for an already fragile democracy. Perhaps, one of Johnson's most unwelcome legacies. Bianca Nobilo, CNN, London.


SOARES: While Boris Johnson's departure could have major implications of course on the world stage. Britain's political allies and his opponents are

following developments very closely. And one world leader at least says that he is sorry to see Mr. Johnson go.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE (through translator): What Johnson was doing for Ukraine, he was a true friend of Ukraine. He totally

supported Ukraine.


And the U.K. is on the right side of history. I'm sure the policy towards Ukraine of the U.K. will not be changing, and our relationship obviously

gained a lot from Boris Johnson's activities. Yes, we don't know if something will affect our unity. But first of all, we've got military

support from the U.K. and that's been secured.


SOARES: And Christiane Amanpour joins us now. And Christiane, I was just looking down on my phone because we have had a read-out from the cabinet

meeting that took place today. And it's important because it says that Boris Johnson won't make any major policy or fiscal changes before his

successor is chosen. And that is key because of course, of concerns that I've been hearing agreed and concerns that you probably have been hearing

over this timeframe of whether it would go into the Autumn.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, fine for the cabinet to say that, but those who do not want him to stay are saying, hang

on a second. If he's the leader, he's the leader. If there is a massive crisis, he's going to have to deal with it.

SOARES: Yes --

AMANPOUR: Alistair Burt who was a minister in the foreign office under Boris Johnson and who is no longer there, but has a lot to say about it,

has called basically Boris Johnson reckless throughout his premiership. And even now, refusing to actually go quickly as most want him to do. This is

what he said about the idea of clinging on for any number of time or days or months.


ALISTAIR BURT, FORMER CONSERVATIVE MP: Now, it seems to me not credible that in that position, he could then command any authority, because if he

is caretaker prime minister, he's still prime minister. He will still have to take life or death decisions. He would still be the person who would

have to make the ultimate decision in relation to any sort of hostile action taken against the United Kingdom.

He's the person who would have to tell the people of Britain what to do in a difficult circumstance if they were called upon to make further

sacrifices. He doesn't have the credibility to do that. And I think it's a missed judgment on his part.


AMANPOUR: So, this obviously is going to be the unfolding drama, isn't it, Isa? To see what the party does. It's in the hands of the party, to see

what they do to hasten his exit. And no less a figure than the former Tory Prime Minister, Sir John Major, has actually written to the very person who

could actually affect this, Grant and Brady, and to tell him he cannot stay, he has to go, he cannot be a caretaker, and for the good of the

country and the party, he needs to go now.

SOARES: And Christiane, put this in context for our international viewers, because, you know, he is one of the shorter-serving prime ministers in

modern history. How does this compare to the other crisis, the little crisis that you have covered?

AMANPOUR: Well, look it's a very different crisis. I mean, we've seen here in the U.K., even former Tory prime ministers having to step down, whether

it's Theresa May, before her, David Cameron, and boy, before that decades ago, Margaret Thatcher. But all of this was over policy. It was all, you

know real political crisis. This is a crisis of personal lack of integrity, dishonesty, and the inability to govern.

And by the way, the inability to keep winning elections. You've just seen local by-elections which have been lost by the Tories, one, a very

longstanding seat, and another in the so-called, you know, dent they made in the Labor stronghold, in the north. So from both ends of the spectrum of

Tory voters, they lost major seats. That is not going to sit well with the party.

And it's a crisis of self-inflicted wounds and a tsunami of the kind of crisis that Boris Johnson flung around at the speed that was even difficult

for the press and the people to keep up with. And finally, he was -- you know, taken over the edge by his own party when they just stampeded out of

the corral so to speak.

It's extraordinary that he talked about the herd mentality, and when the herd moves, and he said them's or the breaks, as if he had nothing to do

with it. As if this was something happening on another planet to him. And his speech was one that completely lacked any sense of self-reflection or

self-awareness. And you could hear the boos down the end of Downing Street because his popularity has plummeted along with the popularity of the


SOARES: Yes, it was definitely a speech that lacked any sort of contrition whatsoever. Christiane Amanpour, I really appreciate you taking time here.

Stay with us, Christiane, thank you very much. Well, Johnson was simply unable to survive once his own party and most loyal supporters really

started turning on him. One conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke called Johnson's leadership a quote, "distraction from other pressing foreign

policy issues".

He like many of his colleagues cited the need for integrity when he called on Johnson to step down on Wednesday. Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke joins

me now. Alec, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us.


I want to pick up really what Christiane was saying, and what I've been hearing, and some of my colleagues have been hearing, creating this

division amongst some of the Conservative Party members who want the prime minister to -- this process to be expedited, not to see it between you

know, at the end of September-October. Where do you stand on this, Alec?

ALEC SHELBROOKE, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: So, I think there is a process in place. Two weeks today, we'll almost certainly have the two candidates. I

would like to see that contest take place as quickly as possible over the Summer recess. Which would mean we would have a new prime minister in place

in September when we come back for the 3 weeks.

SOARES: And that's the quickest really, you think it is possible to pick candidates at this stage?

SHELBROOKE: Yes. I mean, I think that might even be too quickly actually in terms of getting ballot papers out to members, past things. It depends how

quickly the party wants to move on it. I do think there is a need to try and do this as quickly as possible, but I don't buy into the demands that

the prime minister should just go now.

SOARES: Why not?

SHELBROOKE: Because I think that he had a cabinet meeting today. He's put - -

SOARES: Yes --

SHELBROOKE: Together a cabinet again, he had a cabinet meeting where he's made it crystal clear he's not doing policy announcements, he's not changed

direction. This is now management process through to -- a new person will be in place, and anybody, it would be Dominic Raab as the alternative. And

again, is just chairing -- I think let's just -- importantly, and this is point I keep coming back to, is about the war in Europe, is about Ukraine.

We know he's got that good relationship out there. I have been very concerned that this has just got to the point of distraction, and as I said


SOARES: Yes --

SHELBROOKE: I think it's important that we focus on that.

SOARES: And I know we talked about the policy, there won't be any kind of policy change, and we heard that from the cabinet read-out today. But Alec,

this is about -- the reason we are here in the first place is about character, his character, the lack of integrity. The lack of honesty which

I have been hearing time and time again from several members of your own party.

So, the longer he stays on as one MP is saying, the more damage he can do to the party. Does that worry you?

SHELBROOKE: So, I don't think there is more damage to be done. We've gone through a huge amount of damage. Let's not pretend any other way.

SOARES: Yes --

SHELBROOKE: And the events of the last seven, eight days have been horrific. And I think that actually what you saw this week was how

important prime ministers' questions is to lead -- you know, to staying in leadership. It was his performance that promises questions, I think that

pushed a lot of people over the edge and decided that they couldn't go on when it became very clear at the way his attitude towards --

SOARES: Well, because he wasn't honest and upfront and acknowledging that there's been a problem here?


SOARES: A crisis here?

SHELBROOKE: I think there were two specific moments actually, I think when he was answering questions and the leader of the opposition, and he -- I

can't quote exactly, but he basically said he didn't understand why Chris Pincher was in the job. Well, of course --

SOARES: Right --

SHELBROOKE: He appointed him. And you suddenly start to think there's a very strange third person almost with assessment going on here. What's

going on there? And then there was the absolute bombshell from my colleague Gary Sambrook, who said, you try to blame us.

SOARES: Yes --

SHELBROOKE: And I just thought, this now is just the point. I think that's what changed it. And but if we're talking -- what are we --- what are we

talking about? Two weeks left in parliament --

SOARES: Yes --

SHELBROOKE: Than the Summer recess. We're talking about really, fundamentally in that time is that we've got to carry on managing and

sorting out the war.

SOARES: The war. I know you're focused on the war. But we've had a ton, cascading fact of resignations from your party. I've actually lost track --

SHELBROOKE: Yes, so have I --

SOARES: Of resignations. But how is this government going to function at this point? I mean, are we expecting all that these positions be filled, do

you think they can be filled?

SHELBROOKE: Well, personally, I think that he should just now getting contact with all those people who were ministers and say, would you be

willing to come back and serve the remainder of this? Because --

SOARES: And do you think they would?

SHELBROOKE: Well, I think if I look at my dear friend and colleague Robert Buckland --

SOARES: Yes --

SHELBROOKE: Who's become the Wales Secretary, he made it clear this morning that he wouldn't come back without changed circumstances. He's been

reappointed to the cabinet as the Wales Secretary, he's taken that because he knows this is a caretaker, and departments have got to be run. And over

the Summer, especially, you are managing departments and not quite the policy push that they normally are.

And I think that many of my colleagues actually, because this was about the fact the prime minister, in a lot of people's opinion had to go.

SOARES: Yes --

SHELBROOKE: That timetable is now set, well, almost set --

SOARES: Yes --

SHELBROOKE: You know, we know we're on that --

SOARES: We don't have the timeframe, of course.

SHELBROOKE: Yes, and we will know that by Tuesday I would have thought. And therefore, I think let's just manage out the situation. Let's get the right

in place, I am personally backing Liz Truss.


SHELBROOKE: I'm campaigning for Liz Truss --

SOARES: I believe she was on her way back?

SHELBROOKE: She was on her way back. She's been doing her duties, representing the U.K. --

SOARES: Why Liz Truss? Tell us why you would back her?

SHELBROOKE: Yes, certainly, because --

SOARES: She's not afraid -- her hat in the ring, do you think?

SHELBROOKE: She absolutely is.


SHELBROOKE: Well, she's obviously the foreign secretary.

SOARES: Yes --


SHELBROOKE: She's been at the heart of all these international issues. But she also was the trade secretary. She was given the Northern Ireland

protocol, which many people thought was impossible, she got it drafted, she got it through the comments. She's able to bring winds to the party along,

she's the most longest-serving experienced in the cabinet.

She's worked in lots of departments, and a person I've known for over 20 years. So I know -- I know her intellectual capabilities. I think she's the

right person. She's got statesmanship, she's got honor, integrity, and I think is what the country needs.

SOARES: How soon do you think we'll hear -- we'll hear -- we'll see her throw her hat in the ring, how quickly?

SHELBROOKE: Well, hopefully this weekend. There's a little bit --

SOARES: Yes --

SHELBROOKE: Influx because as you say, look, I mean, all this has happened, she has been doing her job as foreign secretary representing us on the

world stage

SOARES: Though, I saw there was a poll within Conservative Party members, they put Ben Wallace really at the top of the list. What do you make of


SHELBROOKE: Well, we're dealing with polls at the moment where there's a whole range --

SOARES: Of course --

SHELBROOKE: Of people. And we'll see where we are once the Conservative Party MPs have whittled it down, I am hopeful that we'll be able to get Liz

into the final two, and we'll put our question to the members. And I think she has a very strong case to sell.

SOARES: And Alec, finally, give me a sense of the mood, because of course, we've -- talking so much about divisions within the party. What is the mood

now that the prime minister has said that he will be stepping down?

SHELBROOKE: You know, I think that's just totally in two parts, Isa, is that the first one was --

SOARES: Yes --

SHELBROOKE: I think a shell shock or --

SOARES: Yes --

SHELBROOKE: Just the speed at which things had happened, I mean, quite incredibly really --

SOARES: Or some probably even wanted it even faster than that --

SHELBROOKE: And now there seems to be a sense of relief, that the page is been turned, we're moving on to a new stage that this situation has now

been resolved. And we're going to move through that transition period, to a new --

SOARES: Yes --

SHELBROOKE: Premiership, and then get on with delivering the manifest. And so, I think we've gone to that shock of my goodness, how quickly that

changed to OK, that's all over now, let's move forward.

SOARES: Alec, great to have you on the show --

SHELBROOKE: Thank you very much indeed --

SOARES: Thank you very much, thank you --

SHELBROOKE: Thank you.

SOARES: Well, let's go now to CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson, who is joining now from 10 Downing Street. Nic, so talk us

through for our international viewers, the process here, when, of course, we don't have a timeframe from Boris Johnson as to when he'll step down.

But what are you hearing in terms of the next steps?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, there's been an interesting development that's been reported by the press association here

over the last sort of couple of hours. And that is that Dominic Raab, the current deputy prime minister would not stand in a re-election campaign. He

would -- in an election campaign. He would not put his hat in the ring to become next prime minister.

That's significant because it clears him, although there's a mechanism for it. But it would potentially clear him to become a caretaker prime

minister, because Boris Johnson's party is so divided right now over whether or not he should be allowed to continue as caretaker or he's just

so much lost the confidence that he can't do it.

And that seems to be where most people are landing. But the process, let's say either Boris Johnson or Dominic Raab as a caretaker prime minister, the

processes that any MP that wants to -- any MP in the Conservative Party, of course, that wants to become leader of the party and therefore prime

minister, will put their name forward if they get the support of other -- eight other MPs.

Then the MPs go through a process of whittling it all down, there will be votes, and typically what we've seen in the past, there will be a vote a

week, and it will -- you might have eight names in the hat, so it might be eight candidate's first time, and then, one will, you know, fall by the

wayside, lose the votes. On Monday, there might be another vote, on the Friday, on the remaining seven, and another one will fall by the wayside

until you're left with two.

And I think the important point there is that, that process of whittling down can take a long time. The next step takes even longer because then,

those final two names go out to all the Conservative Party members around the country, and estimated more than 200,000 of them, they decide, they

pick, and they choose, and they mail, traditional old style, mail in their decision, their vote.

So it's going to take a long time to work through this process, which is why of course, that caretaker issue, which is a very divisive issue right

now within the Conservative Party, even around the cabinet, they brief cabinet session that the prime minister had earlier this afternoon. That is

a very divisive issue, so -- and we don't know how it's going to play out, because Boris Johnson didn't lay out how it's going to play out.

SOARES: Yes, and it's left us all guessing very much, including those within his own party. Nic Robertson, thanks very much, Nic. And still to

come tonight, Boris Johnson's critics often said his long list of scandals was damaging. Britain's reputation abroad, we'll head over to Washington to

discuss. That's next.



SOARES: Now Boris Johnson often made headlines in the United States before and after becoming British prime minister. He has been in the middle of

highly controversial issues, and faced a whole series really of scandals. And now that he's stepping down, what can be said of Britain's global

reputation, especially in the U.S.? Senior White House correspondent Phil Mattingly is in Washington for us this hour.

So, Phil, what is been said about this special relationship? Because we have seen President Biden and the outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson

having very close relationship in what relates to the war in Ukraine.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, very productive, particularly when it comes to Ukraine. Overall, I would not in any way say

this was a war relationship, constructive relationship, no question about it. The relationship between the two countries, obviously, the

quote/unquote, special relationship, that hasn't shifted at all.

But the relationship between the two men had its ups and downs. You know, it's interesting, President Biden put out a statement several hours after

the prime minister announced that he would at some point, be leaving. And it was essentially a compilation of sentences and words that said a lot of

things, but didn't really say anything at all which I think to some degree was the intent.

It made clear the special relationship continues. It made clear that the relationship between the U.S. and the U.K. will continue moving forward. It

said nothing about Boris Johnson. It said nothing about what's transpired either in the last couple of days or over the course of the last couple of


I think the most interesting thing, when you talk to U.S. officials here, there's kind of two things that they've been focused on. One, they viewed

Boris Johnson as a very wounded politician for the last several months. It's obviously not a secret, you just had to watch what was happening every

single day over there.

The second is, they viewed him as a very reliable ally when it came to the issue of Ukraine and the efforts leading up to Russia's invasion of

Ukraine, the U.S. efforts to bring together a coalition, more than 30 countries across 4 continents. Boris Johnson and the U.K. were always there

to help, were always there to push, were always there to assist.

And an issue that for a number of months, if you think back, the U.S. was largely alone in saying what they felt was going to happen, which ended up

coming to fruition. That support has continued over the course of the last several months. And obviously, the prime minister has had a very close

relationship with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Ukraine.

And so, I think the only element of concern that I've heard is just trying to ensure that there is a continuation of that support, of that assistance,

of that kind of unity between the U.S. and the U.K. on the issue of Ukraine, given how complex and difficult, especially on the economic side

this is becoming. On the domestic side of things across the coalition, that's probably the biggest thing right now.


But look, if you read the president's statements, both before he was president and since he's been president, he hasn't been afraid to kind of

jab the prime minister a little bit there. And I think there's always been concern about how this president views the U.K. as it relates to Ireland.

The president very firm on his view on the Northern Ireland Protocol, and where the soon-to-be former prime minister has gone on that.

So, you know, I think on the U.S. side, it will be interesting to see what happens. But you haven't heard a lot of people crying necessarily about the

imminent departure.

SOARES: Phil Mattingly, great to have you on the show, thanks, Phil, appreciate it. Now out of all the possible scenarios here, Mr. Johnson's

resignation was the best option for the Conservative Party and the government. A new conservative leader will now have to be selected. There

are a number of credible candidates who could soon step forward.

But what will the new prime minister inherit now that Mr. Johnson's tenure is coming to an end? CNN's Anna Stewart is here with me. And they will

hurry -- well, let's start on the economy first of all. Because of course, we've got, Phil was saying war in Ukraine that we have to deal with as well

in this country, but also inflation, cost of living crisis. There's a lot - - few challenges -- whoever takes up this new position, Anna.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: This really couldn't be a worse time in terms of this economic outlook, and since really the financial crisis. So, we're

looking at inflation at over 9 percent in the U.K., that is the worst of all G7 economies, it's expected to hit 11 percent by the end of the year

according to Bank of England. They are raising rates, they're trying to cool inflation, but the economy is stalling.

In fact, it actually shrunk in March and April of this year and many people are now expecting a recession. And the cost of living crisis is really

biting, thousands of families will be pushed into poverty this year. They will struggle to pay for their fuel, for their bills, for their food. So,

this is the pressure that the next government, the next prime minister has to contend with.

And at this time, they want to see a united front in the party, and that's exactly what we haven't had in the last 48 hours, the chancellor resigning

and saying he didn't agree with his --

SOARES: Yes --

STEWART: Prime Minister about economic policy.

SOARES: You know, it's a front stability, we did hear from the finance minister though, didn't we? In terms of -- in terms of a statement, I

should say. The new chancellor, the new finance minister, it's been a little like 24 hours or so, what is he hoping to do differently?

STEWART: He's been on the job 24 hours. He said he's looking for -- potentially tax cuts, which is definitely what Boris Johnson would have

wanted --

SOARES: Which the party probably would have liked as well --

STEWART: She did also say this morning that she would like the prime minister to -- so, she's had --

SOARES: Yes --

STEWART: A very busy first 24 hours. I do think tax cuts will be something we hear from whoever wants to be the next leader of the Conservative Party

in there by the prime minister, because it's a popular policy move --

SOARES: Yes --

STEWART: And right now, the cost of living crisis you can see how well that will play within the party. The problem with it though, from an economist-

sort of standpoint --

SOARES: Yes --

STEWART: Is that will probably add further pressure in terms of inflation.

SOARES: Yes, and you know, people, Brits in this country of course, they're looking at this political crisis, scratching their heads, thinking, oh, the

writing was on the wall. But they are concerned, they are concerned about the cost of living crisis. Give us a sense of what you've been hearing from

those in the streets. How they're viewing all this

STEWART: And if they've got to have a vote right now, the cost of living crisis will be the single policy they'd be voting on. It would be --

SOARES: Yes --

STEWART: Like Brexit back in 2019.

SOARES: We don't remember that.

STEWART: Where they don't really get a vote. But yesterday, before this resignation, seven out of ten people in Britain, adults wanted Boris

Johnson to resign. And that's according to a Savanta ComRes snap poll, and here's what they said today.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Long overdue I would say. Yes, he's been struggling for months, telling lies, misleading everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it's about time. I think it was inevitable after the Pincher -- I think after the party-gate, the lie upon lie upon lie, I

think takes the British public for fools.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there are also a lot of response -- I think there's a lot of people that they're getting -- obviously, cabinet members

started to resign, I think it was really time for him to go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a Labor supporter. But then, I love Boris, he's doing a lot for the country. And I wish that, you know, he could be

forgiven to finish his tenure.


STEWART: So some support here, but only --

SOARES: Yes --

STEWART: Right at the end. It is extraordinary, Isa, to think in December 2019, this was the man who led the Conservative Party to the greatest

electoral victory --

SOARES: Yes --

STEWART: Since Maggie Thatcher in 1987. Who broke the red wall --

SOARES: Yes --

STEWART: People here only ever voted Labor their whole life voted conservatives. That is a big legacy to contend with for the next leader of

the Conservative Party.

SOARES: Anna Stewart, thank you very much. And still to come tonight, how the U.K. opposition party is reacting to Boris Johnson resigning, but

remaining in power as caretaker. Ahead, we'll speak to a Labor member of parliament. That's next.




SOARES: Welcome back, everyone, a premiership plagued by countless scandals has come to an end.

British prime minister, Boris, Johnson is stepping down. It comes the day after his Conservative Party, almost 60 government officials, as well as

lawmakers have resigned, hoping to force his hand. And, it worked.

Mr. Johnson has vowed to fight but in the end he admitted defeat. He says he will stay in the office until the Conservative Party chooses a new

leader. And he says he is sorry to leave the work undone. Have a listen.


BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: Of course it is painful, not to be able to see through so many ideas and projects myself. As we have seen at

Westminster, the herd instinct is powerful; when the herd moves, it moves.

And my friends in politics, no one is remotely indispensable. And our brilliant and Darwinian system will produce another leader, equally

committed to take this country forward through tough times.


SOARES: Now of course, the Conservative Party needs to choose a successor from the many names.

Bianca, let's talk about some of the names. Of course we want to point out that many people haven't thrown their hat in the ring but there are already

some favorites of names that we've been hearing.

Talk me through of some of the names and possibilities here.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The favorite is Rishi Sunak, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer. He was tipped to

succeed Boris Johnson. Our viewers might remember his press conferences from the COVID-19 pandemic as chancellor.

He delivered a polished, slick performance that impressed many, in contrast to the more shambolic, lesser performances. But he was involved in his own

scandal and was considered to be less of a favorite.

But I think it's possible for him to recover that. He certainly has quite a lot of broad support.

Another would be Sajid Javid, the former home secretary, whose resignation precipitated this entire resignation.


NOBILO: He's someone with a compelling backstory. He is the child of a Muslim immigrant Pakistani bus driver. He talked about how his upbringing

and his culture has shaped him.

That would be an interesting cultural departure for the Tories as well. A female, often spoken about is Liz Truss, the foreign secretary. Some people

don't take her very seriously but she certainly has serious ambitions.

Her delivery of certain speeches has almost been comical. So at a point, she has been not really considered to be somebody that could handle the

gravity of the office of the prime minister. But it's something she definitely wants and she doesn't shy away from comparisons with Margaret


SOARES: (INAUDIBLE) Ben Wallace, (INAUDIBLE) from the Conservative Party, that put him in first place.

I mean, what do you make of that position for Ben Wallace, who has done a pretty impressive job when it comes to the war in Ukraine

and exit from Afghanistan?

NOBILO: He's been my favorite for many months as a dark horse that could potentially take over.

SOARES: He's a Remainer, right?

NOBILO: He was a Remainer. But I think his performance on Ukraine and also handling of the call of Kabul, when Boris Johnson and the foreign secretary

were heavily criticized for being on holiday and not dealing with the situation appropriately and recognizing the gravity of it, Ben Wallace was

reportedly in the Ministry of Defence day and night, making calls, trying to extract Brits, trying to help the situation as best he could.

He is a serious man. He doesn't seem to be a political animal. He is not out there, trying to think of himself first; certainly not the optics of

it. Interestingly, because he and Priti Patel, who was a close ally of the prime minister, have had great offices of state -- so Priti Patel is the

home secretary; Ben Wallace is the secretary of state for Defence, even if they wanted to resign from Johnson's cabinet, it is just not the done thing

because those are roles that cannot be left vacant for reasons of national security.

So they both made clear behind the scenes to different extents how displeased they were with Boris Johnson's leadership. But neither of them

resigned and Ben Wallace didn't. But he is regarded as being a safe pair of hands.

SOARES: I know you're not a betting woman but who --

NOBILO: Well...

SOARES: Well, not on camera at least.

But who would you say is where your money is?

I know it's early stages.

NOBILO: It depends who declares, a lot of this is determined by how many people from each wing are put forward. Obviously that splits the vote.

There is clearly a center of the Tory Party. And then there is a Brexit- leaning right wing of the Tory Party, which Boris Johnson favors more. And he used to be able to bring them together. I think Ben Wallace and Rishi

Sunak are people we should take seriously.

Penny Mordaunt also has a lot of charisma and I think could inspire confidence. But I would keep an eye on Wallace, if he does declare, because

simply the public and the party would want something different from Johnson.


SOARES: Bianca, thank you very much.

The U.K. opposition party says it won't accept Boris Johnson staying on until autumn. Labour says that not only must Boris Johnson's leave right

away but a new government entirely is needed.

The opposition's party line right now is that, after months of scandal, it's time for a quote, "fresh start." Labour member of Parliament Ben

Bradshaw joins me now.

Ben, so, you think your part of those who Ive being speaking to today that believe that the waiting until the autumn is just not good enough?

BEN BRADSHAW, BRITISH LABOUR MP: Yes and it's not just Labour politicians and the other opposition parties, it's also quite a lot of Conservatives,

including some of the people that Boris Johnson has just appointed as cabinet ministers.

We just don't think it's sustainable. The prime minister, whose own members of Parliament, his own cabinet ministers, only yesterday all resigned,

declaring him unfit for office, should continue squatting in Downing Street for another four months.

Furthermore, some very worrying information came out yesterday at a committee hearing with the prime minister, who, having denied for several

years that he had a meeting with the ex-KGB agent, Alexander Lebedev, in his Italian villa, having dismissed his security unit, admittedly had had

this meeting and no record of the discussions there had been taken.

This was directly after the poisoning that took place in Salisbury in that attack by President Putin on British soil. So I think the prime minister is

also a security risk.

We need some sort of competent caretaker government in the United Kingdom. We've had 2.5 years of constant psychodrama. And what the country

desperately needs is just some stability, some calm, let the Conservative Party choose a new leader.

But Boris Johnson cannot carry on. His deputy could perfectly easily do the job. I suspect that's what you'll see happen in the next few days.

SOARES: You know, what I've been hearing as well from the Conservative Party, yes, some of them have those concerns. But they believe that they

need time to actually go through the process. It can't be done that quickly. This is the quickest, I've been told, that it can be done.


SOARES: What is the biggest concern then?

We've heard already, from the cabinet meeting today, from the meeting that was had, that he won't be making any major policy decisions or


Does that not suffice to you?

BRADSHAW: Well, it certainly -- he shouldn't do that and he wouldn't be allowed to do that by his own ministers and members of Parliament. The

problem is, he has got rid of -- or they have left voluntarily -- most of the ministers he had just yesterday. And he's put new people in, for just

two or three months, people who don't know their brief.

And instead of the people who were already there, it would be much more sensible, for example, for his deputy, who -- I don't agree with his

politics -- but he did a perfectly competent job when Boris Johnson was ill with COVID.

Dominic Raab has said that he is not interested in leadership. So somebody like that, who is a figure that the Conservatives can rally behind, who can

rebuild the government that was there until yesterday. All these ministers who've been working on projects for months and now are no longer at their

desks are replaced by other people with no experience.

It's just a total, total mess. And the country is not being governed at the moment. There is no functioning government. And with all of the myriad

crises we face, that's really serious.

SOARES: And so, what can the Labour Party do here?

Can the Labour Party call a vote of confidence in the government at this stage?

BRADSHAW: Yes. And we've made quite clear that if Conservative MPs themselves don't force Boris Johnson to leave now -- and I think that might

well happen next week with the meeting of the 1922 committee -- then the existing cabinet makes that clear and then we will table a no confidence


It's not sustainable for a man who will go down in history as the worst prime minister Britain has ever seen, a government of complete chaos. It

has achieved nothing, it is done terrible damage to standards of life and honesty and truth.

And I can't -- it's -- I think there will be a very strong public reaction against Boris Johnson staying in Downing Street for another four months. We

desperately need a competent government that can make decisions and see us through the next few months.

SOARES: Ben Bradshaw, I appreciate you taking the time to speak with us. Thanks, Ben.

BRADSHAW: Pleasure.

SOARES: Still to come tonight, it is not just the Donbas. Ukraine is reporting a spike in shelling across front lines in the south as well. We

have a live report when we come back. You are watching CNN.





SOARES: Now Russia is carrying out attacks in Ukraine today, even as it bears down on the Donetsk region, aiming to seize the entire Donbas. The

mayor of Kramatorsk says the city center was hit by a missile strike. He says there are victims and rescue services are on the scene.

Ukraine is also reporting a spike in shelling in Mykolaiv and other areas of the south. Some of those attacks damaged residential buildings; others

set off fires that burned crops ready for harvest.

Let's bring in CNN's Alex Marquardt. He's live in Kharkiv.

For so long we've been focused on the fighting in the east. Now it's interesting that we're seeing more attacks in the south in Mykolaiv.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: We are indeed. It is down. We saw a spike in the shelling on the border between the

Mykolaiv and Kherson regions.

The Russians in control of Kherson. So much of the attention, as you say, has been on what is going on in the east. There is an expectation that

Russia is going to ramp up its offensive in the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine.

After already solidifying and consolidating control of the Luhansk region of the Donbas, where they control everything except for a few small pockets

that they will soon turn their focus in earnest, if you will, to the rest of Donbas in Donetsk, where local officials have asked residents to


Ahead of that, we have seen an increase in attacks by Russia, against population centers in Donetsk; namely in Kramatorsk, which is one of the

big cities in Donetsk. The mayor of Kramatorsk saying that a missile fell there in the center of the city and that there were victims.

Kramatorsk and another city in Donetsk, called Slovyansk, are expected to be two of the main targets as the Russians press forward in Donbas. Then

there is Kharkiv, where we are here tonight.

Just a short time ago, we heard air raid sirens, that ever present reminder that Kharkiv, like so many cities across this country, are very much in the

line of fire by the Russians. And we did hear from the governor of the Kharkiv region, just a short time ago.

He said there was a strike just to the southeast of here, about 10 kilometers from where I am standing in a residential neighborhood, a rocket

strike on a residential building. It killed three people and left five wounded.

We saw some of the heavy destruction that has befallen much of Kharkiv today. When we visited the university that was struck overnight on

Wednesday, just incredible levels of destruction; classrooms and lecture halls destroyed, with a big impact in the center of the university.

I spoke with one of the professors there, who simply summed it up, saying, it is so painful. Isa.

SOARES: So painful, something that we continue to see time and time again, isn't it?

Alex, thank you very much. Please keep safe. Thank you.

Russia's actions are affecting the lives of thousands across the world. CNN's Clarissa Ward has been documenting how the war in Ukraine is further

intensifying food insecurity in Somalia.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Aid agencies warn that Somalia is marching toward another famine. Nearly half

the country is hungry. Some 800,000 people have been forced from their homes this year alone.

WARD: So two months ago, this camp didn't even exist. Now there are more than 870 families living here.


SOARES: You can watch Clarissa's report later today, right here on CNN.

We will be back after a short break with more on our top story.





SOARES: Known across the world for his bluster and wit, it was a more somber Boris Johnson than many had seen before when he announced his

resignation. Max Foster takes a look at some of the prime minister's best as well as worst moments in office.


MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A tumultuous tenure: Boris Johnson's career was built on an everyman informality. But defined by

serious crises.

He began his path like so many of his predecessors, at the country's most elite schools. He cut his teeth as a journalist but would truly enter

public life in 2001 as a member of Parliament and in 2008, as London's mayor.

He governed as a relative moderate and an affable figure, famous for his hijinks during the 2012 Olympic Games. But it was his campaign over whether

Britain should leave the European Union that would fuel his path to Downing Street.

He tried to maintain his comedic character. He suspended Parliament and muscled through a Brexit deal, fairly similar to his predecessors. 2019 was

meant to be a year for realizing his Brexit vision. Then came coronavirus. From the start, he was accused of not taking the virus seriously enough.

JOHNSON: I am shaking hands because I was at a hospital the other night, where, I think, there were actually a few coronavirus patients and I shook

hands with everybody, you'll be pleased to know.

FOSTER (voice-over): Then the gravity of the pandemic hit home.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Moments ago, we learned that the U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus.

FOSTER (voice-over): Soon he was moved to hospital, then to intensive care. It was only weeks later that he returned home, to Downing Street.

JOHNSON: Who stood by my bedside for 48 hours, when things could've gone either way.

FOSTER (voice-over): But his brush with death only removed the spotlight on his government's pandemic response for so long. The government had sent

some elderly patients back to care homes from hospitals. It had abandoned its mass testing regime early on and delayed locking down.

A top advisor later said that decision likely cost tens of thousands of lives.

Then Johnson controversially chose to lift all coronavirus restrictions in July 2021, until the fast-spreading Omicron variant forced him to once

again bring in new measures.

JOHNSON: We must act now.

FOSTER (voice-over): Then, at the same time, allegations of multiple parties held inside Downing Street and by government aides during strict

COVID restrictions the previous year, emerged.

Dubbed Partygate, the scandal ultimately sparked an investigation by senior civil servant Sue Gray, who criticized the culture of lockdown rulebreaking

events, including an illegal birthday party for Johnson himself in June 2020. Some of his closest aides were brought down by the scandal.



JOHNSON: There was no party.

FOSTER (voice-over): Johnson told Parliament there was no party and no COVID rules were broken. But after the Sue Gray report, the prime minister

eventually conceded.

JOHNSON: She's identified a number of failings, some official, some political and some that I accept are entirely my own, for which I take full


FOSTER (voice-over): Just last month, the prime minister was booed in public before narrowly surviving a confidence vote by members of his own


The damage had been done as yet another crisis surfaced, leading to mass government resignations. Johnson and his office being held to account over

the handling of allegations of sexual misconduct by a member of government, who was promoted by Johnson.

After Johnson initially denied knowledge of the allegations, a former top civil servant broke ground, saying Johnson had been briefed personally

regarding the claims. But the prime minister promoted the member of Parliament anyway. Johnson later admitted he did know about the


JOHNSON: And we can win.

FOSTER (voice-over): Johnson's career was rocketed as a champion of Brexit, what he said would level up the country, bring new trade deals and new

prosperity. He leaves Downing Street with a legacy now defined by COVID-19 and his response, mired in a series of scandals.

JOHNSON: Thank you all very much.

FOSTER (voice-over): Max Foster, CNN, London.


SOARES: Thank you very much for your company tonight. Stay right here with CNN. We'll be back after a short break with much more coverage on Boris

Johnson's resignation. Stay right here with CNN.