Boris formally resigns following jibe that Tories 'changed the rules' in final speech as Prime Minister

6 September 2022, 08:25 | Updated: 6 September 2022, 14:07

Boris Johnson makes his final speech as PM outside Downing Street
Boris Johnson makes his final speech as PM outside Downing Street. Picture: LBC / Alamy

By Danielle DeWolfe

Boris Johnson has officially stepped down as Prime Minister after tendering his resignation to the Queen at her Balmoral residence.

Mr Johnson travelled by plane to the monarch's Scottish estate earlier today, accompanied by his wife Carrie, for a 40-minute audience with Her Majesty.

It comes as Liz Truss was confirmed as the new prime minister, flying separately to Mr Johnson and conducting a formal process known as 'kissing hands'.

The former prime minister described how his party “changed the rules halfway through” in a lengthy farewell speech from the steps of Downing Street.

He described the quick succession of four Tory leaders in a six year period as “a relay race” in his final speech, signing-off by calling for unity within his party.

It's "time for politics to be over" said Mr Johnson, before he outlined his achievements in office, including "getting Brexit done", the Covid vaccine rollout and Britain's support for Ukraine.

Mr Johnson will be succeeded by incoming Tory leader and soon-to-be PM Liz Truss, who beat party rival Rishi Sunak in the leadership race.

“This is it folks,” began the PM, before rolling off a lengthy list of accolades and achievements - including nuclear power, the vaccine rollout and a supply of weapons to Ukraine, which he oversaw whilst in power.

Describing himself as "like one of those booster rockets that has fulfilled its function", Mr Johnson said he "will now be gently re-entering the atmosphere and splashing down invisibly in some remote and obscure corner of the pacific",

Boris Johnson speaks for the last time as he leaves office of the Prime Minister

Boris Johnson's farewell speech outside number 10
Boris Johnson's farewell speech outside number 10. Picture: LBC / Alamy

“In only a couple of hours I will be in balmoral to see Her Majesty the Queen and the torch will finally be passed to a new conservative leader,” he said, before reflecting on the past years of his leadership.

Referencing his ascent to power and "winning the biggest majority since 1987", it stands in contrast to incoming PM Ms Truss, who won the Tory leadership contest by just 20,927 votes, securing just 57.4% of the Conservative party vote.

"If Putin thinks he can succeed by blackmailing or bullying the British people, then he is deluded," continued Mr Johnson.

“The baton will be handed over in what has unexpectedly turned out to be a relay race - they changed the rules halfway through. Never mind that now!”

Read the full speech below

Read More: Truss set to freeze energy prices until next election as she outlines vision as PM

Well this is it folks

thanks to all of you for coming out so early this morning

In only a couple of hours from now I will be in Balmoral to see Her Majesty the Queen

and the torch will finally be passed to a new Conservative leader

the baton will be handed over in what has unexpectedly turned out to be a relay race

they changed the rules half-way through but never mind that now

and through that lacquered black door a new Prime Minister will shortly go to meet a fantastic group of public servants

the people who got Brexit done

the people who delivered the fastest vaccine roll out in Europe

and never forget - 70 per cent of the entire population got a dose within 6 months, faster than any comparable country

that is government for you – that’s this conservative government

the people who organised those prompt early supplies of weapons to the heroic Ukrainian armed forces,

an action that may very well have helped change the course of the biggest European war for 80 years

And because of the speed and urgency of what you did – everybody involved in this government

to get this economy moving again from July last year in spite of all opposition, all the naysayers

we have and will continue to have that economic strength

to give people the cash they need to get through this energy crisis that has been caused by Putin’s vicious war

And  I know that Liz Truss and this compassionate Conservative government will do everything we can to get people through this crisis

And this country will endure it and we will win

and if Putin thinks that he can succeed by blackmailing or bullying the British people then he is utterly deluded

and the reason we will have those funds now and in the future is because we Conservatives understand the vital symmetry between government action

and free market capitalist private sector enterprise

we are delivering on those huge manifesto commitments

making streets safer – neighbourhood crime down 38 per cent in the last three years

13,790 more police on the streets

building more hospitals – and yes we will have 50,000 more nurses by the end of this parliament and 40 more hospitals by the end of the decade

putting record funding into our schools and into teachers’ pay

giving everyone over 18 a lifetime skills guarantee so they can keep upskilling throughout their lives

3 new high speed rail lines including northern powerhouse rail

colossal road programmes from the Pennines to Cornwall,

the roll-out of gigabit broadband up over the last three years, since you were kind enough to elect me, up from 7 per cent of our country’s premises having gigabit broadband to 70 per cent today.

And we are of course providing the short and the long term solutions for our energy needs

and not just using more of our own domestic hydrocarbons but going up by 2030 to 50 GW of wind power, that is half this country’s energy electricity needs from offshore wind

alone, a new nuclear reactor every year

and looking at what is happening in this country, the changes that are taking place,

that is why the private sector is investing more venture capital investment than China itself

more billion pound tech companies sprouting here than in France, Germany and Israel combined

and as a result unemployment as I leave office, down to lows not seen since I was about ten years old  and bouncing around on a space hopper

and on the subject of bouncing around and future careers

let me say that I am now like one of those booster rockets that has fulfilled its function

and I will now be gently re-entering the atmosphere and splashing down invisibly in some remote and obscure corner of the pacific

And like Cincinnatus I am returning to my plough

and I will be offering this government nothing but the most fervent support

this is a tough time for the economy

this is a tough time for families up and down the country

we can and we will get through it and we will come out stronger the other side but I say to my fellow Conservatives it is time for the politics to be over folks

and it’s time for us all to get behind Liz Truss and her programme

and deliver for the people of this country

because that is what the people of this country want, that’s what they need and that’s what they deserve

I am proud to have discharged the promises I made my party when you were kind enough to choose me,

winning the biggest majority since 1987 and the biggest share of the vote since 1979.

delivering Brexit

delivering our manifesto commitments – including social care

helping people up and down the country

ensuring that Britain is once again standing tall in the world

speaking with clarity and authority

from Ukraine to the Aukus pact with America and Australia

because we are one whole and entire United Kingdom whose diplomats, security services and armed forces are so globally admired

and as I leave I believe our union is so strong that those who want to break it up, will keep trying but they will never ever succeed

thank you to everyone behind me in this building for looking after me and my family over the last three years so well including Dilyn, the dog

and if Dilyn and Larry can put behind them their occasional difficulties, then so can the Conservative party

and above all thanks to you, the British people, to the voters for giving me the chance to serve

all of you who worked so tirelessly together to beat covid to put us where we are today

Together we have laid foundations that will stand the test of time

whether by taking back control of our laws or putting in vital new infrastructure

great solid masonry on which we will continue to build together

paving the path of prosperity now & for future generations

and I will be supporting Liz Truss and our new government every step of the way.

Thank you all very much.