Biden issues statement after Boris Johnson's resignation

Biden issues statement after Boris Johnson’s resignation but doesn’t mention PM by name as he hails ‘special relationship’ between the US and UK that ‘remains strong and enduring’

  • Biden confirmed US and UK would continue to partner on tackling world issues
  • He specifically referenced the importance of maintaining support for Ukraine
  • Ukrainian president Zelensky expressed sadness at Johnson’s resignation
  • But other key officials in world politics were less kind in their response 

US President Joe Biden assured that the ‘special relationship’ between the US and the UK will ‘remain strong and enduring’ as he acknowledged Boris Johnson’s resignation, but did not mention the Prime Minister by name.

Biden confirmed the two nations would continue their partnership in tackling major global issues including the war in Ukraine, having led the way in providing monetary and military aid to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s armed forces. 

‘I look forward to continuing our close cooperation with the government of the United Kingdom, as well as our Allies and partners around the world, on a range of important priorities,’ the US leader said. 

‘That includes maintaining a strong and united approach to supporting the people of Ukraine as they defend themselves against Putin’s brutal war on their democracy, and holding Russia accountable for its actions.’

Johnson and Biden have appeared to foster a strong relationship in recent months, most recently appearing together at summits of G7 and NATO countries where they were pictured seemingly cracking jokes and enjoying one another’s company. 

Johnson announced his intention to step down as Prime Minister earlier today after a series of scandals and resignations from dozens of his ministers made his position untenable – though he confirmed he would stay on as caretaker leader until a replacement is found. 

US President Joe Biden (R) and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson shake hands ahead of a meeting of The North Atlantic Council during the NATO summit at the Ifema congress centre in Madrid, on June 30, 2022

Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses the nation as he announces his resignation outside 10 Downing Street on July 7, 2022 in London, England

Johnson and Biden have appeared to foster a strong relationship in recent months, most recently appearing together at summits of G7 and NATO countries, and have taken the lead in supporting Ukraine amid the Russian invasion (pair pictured at NATO summit last month)

Though Johnson’s resignation could hinder the co-ordination of US-UK approach to the situation in Ukraine, key members of the Tory party including Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace have both been vocal in affirming the Government’s commitment to supporting Zelensky in his defence against Putin’s forces.

The White House has thus far provided no further comment on Johnson’s decision to resign, but press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the United States’ ‘partnership with the United Kingdom continued to be strong.’ 

In his resignation speech Johnson referred to Britain’s support of Ukraine following the Russian invasion on February 24 as one of his most proud achievements as PM.

‘I’m immensely proud of the achievements of this government… in the last few months, leading the West in standing up to Putin’s aggression in Ukraine,’ he said.

‘And let me say now, to the people of Ukraine, that I know that we in the UK will continue to back your fight for freedom for as long as it takes,’ he added.

Zelensky’s office thanked Johnson, who twice visited Kyiv personally amid the conflict, for defending Ukraine’s interests after Russia’s invasion.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, centre, and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, centre left, walk in downtown Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 9, 2022

Johnson has become something of a hero in Ukraine for his much-publicised support of Zelensky and Ukrainian armed forces amid Russia’s invasion

‘We all heard this news (of Johnson’s resignation) with sadness. Not only me, but also the entire Ukrainian society, which is very sympathetic to you,’ a statement from the office read.

‘We have no doubt that Great Britain’s support will be preserved, but your personal leadership and charisma made it special.’

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba described him as a ‘true friend of Ukraine’ in comments sent to Reuters by his ministry.

‘[Johnson] was among the first world leaders who not only unequivocally condemned Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, but also took a number of crucial decisions to help Ukraine defend itself and ultimately win this war in the future,’ Kuleba said.

Other political figures were not so kind in their responses to Johnson’s exit.

‘The departure of Boris Johnson opens a new page in relations with the UK. May it be more constructive, more respectful of commitments made,’ tweeted former EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier

‘I’m not sure that anybody can look at Boris Johnson and conclude that he is capable of genuinely behaving as a caretaker prime minister. He will want to do things, and in the process of that undoubtedly cause more chaos than he has already,’ said Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

French politician Michel Barnier, who was one of the EU’s principal negotiators with Britain in the run-up to Brexit, tweeted: ‘The departure of Boris Johnson opens a new page in relations with the UK. May it be more constructive, more respectful of commitments made, in particular regarding peace & stability in Northern Ireland, and more friendly with partners in the EU.’

German politician Bernd Lange, co-chair of the EU-UK contact group at the European Parliament, shared similar sentiments: ‘Finally. End of an undignified spectacle. Boris Johnson was all about maintaining power and his own ego… Now, British theatrical thunder should end.’ 

Finally, and perhaps unsurprisingly, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova took the opportunity to rubbish the state of Britain and other ‘liberal regimes’. 

‘It’s obvious to everyone that liberal regimes are in a deep political, ideological and economic crisis. The situation of Britain’s half-decay causes concern. 

‘The loss of control, chaos, nosedive – that’s how it´s described by experts,’ she said. 

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