‘PM’s long goodbye’: what the papers said about Boris Johnson’s sort-of resignation

The chaotic choreography of Boris Johnson’s sort-of resignation as prime minister delivered some contrasting front pages on Friday.

The Guardian has a poster-style front page with a picture of an “unrepentant” Johnson during his resignation speech and the headline “It’s (almost) over” in which the words in parentheses are reduced to much smaller point size.

Guardian front page, Friday 8 July 2022: It’s (almost) over pic.twitter.com/z0nG7SA4tU

— The Guardian (@guardian) July 7, 2022

Inside, Jonathan Freedland says that Johnson’s toxic spell on Britain has been broken after the “congenital bullshit artist” was finally caught out by his own lies.

The Financial Times also highlights the outgoing leader’s “unapologetic” tone in its splash headlined “Johnson quits, defiant to the end”. However, Robert Shrimsley’s front page column says that despite losing the trust of MPs, his historical significance is “indisputable”.

Just published: front page of the Financial Times UK edition Friday July 8 https://t.co/RUTzSOkhEq pic.twitter.com/WOnzcV0pbW

— Financial Times (@FinancialTimes) July 7, 2022

The Mirror has an intriguing claim that Johnson wants to stay on as prime minister in order to hold a “lavish” party at Chequers that has long been pencilled in for 30 July to celebrate his wedding to Carrie last year. “Clinging on for one last party” the headline says.

Friday’s front page: Clinging on for one last party 🥳- #tomorrowspaperstodayhttps://t.co/PS7uTfspxB pic.twitter.com/UJFr5KLt2K

— The Mirror (@DailyMirror) July 7, 2022

The Times goes with “Johnson throws in towel”, reporting that his resignation has triggered a “bloody leadership contest”. Columnist Iain Martin says Johnson’s chaotic reign in Downing Street bequeaths his successor a “nightmare inheritance”.

TIMES: Johnson throws in towel #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/59okyezKpO

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) July 7, 2022

The succession question is front and centre in the Telegraph which goes in on a warning from “senior Tories” that Johnson’s desire to hang on until autumn means the government will become paralysed: “PM’s long goodbye leaves UK in ‘state of paralysis’”.

📰The front page of tomorrow’s Daily Telegraph:

‘ PM’s long goodbye leaves UK in ‘state of paralysis’ ‘#TomorrowsPapersToday

Sign up for the Front Page newsletterhttps://t.co/x8AV4Oomry pic.twitter.com/LwSGMdkCiZ

— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) July 7, 2022

The Downing Street PR machine’s release of pictures showing Johnson holding his young son Wilfred would have been intended to soften the resignation coverage, but the Mail doubles down with a sclerotic splash about how Tory MPs will “rue the day” they forced their leader out of office.

“What the hell have they done?” the front page fumes, claiming that Keir Starmer will be “cock a hoop” and that champagne corks will be popping in Brussels and Moscow. It was, the paper says, the “day Tories lost their marbles”.

Friday’s @DailyMailUK #MailFrontPages pic.twitter.com/KsfHdmc2gP

— Daily Mail U.K. (@DailyMailUK) July 7, 2022

For the Express, it is the day to remember the man who made Brexit happen. “Thank you Boris … you gave Britain back its freedom” the splash headline says.

Friday’s front page – Thank you Boris … You gave Britain back its freedom#TomorrowsPaperstodayhttps://t.co/yoN6aonKAs pic.twitter.com/ZwgB0PMWru

— Daily Express (@Daily_Express) July 7, 2022

The Sun uses the family picture and is also keen to remember what propelled Johnson to power. “Kiss goodbye”, the headline reads, adding below “… and thanks for Brexit”.

Tomorrow’s front page: In a bitter-sweet moment, Boris Johnson hugs and kisses his family in No10 after resigning as Prime Minister https://t.co/fUk2FAtVUP pic.twitter.com/uZN7CqDyfX

— The Sun (@TheSun) July 7, 2022

“Going, going … but not gone” says the Scotsman

THE SCOTSMAN: Going, going….but not gone #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/UdjUkeatRI

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) July 7, 2022

… and Metro has “Leave means leave”.

Tomorrow’s paper today 📰


🔴 Storm as PM quits… but stays
🔴 Demands Boris stand down, not wait till autumn #tomorrowpaperstoday pic.twitter.com/QXmDYEAa12

— Metro (@MetroUK) July 7, 2022

The i has a simple “Downfall” and says the PM was “humiliated” by having to resign in front of a large crowd in Downing Street.

I: Downfall #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/bZH5hbUpE0

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) July 7, 2022

The Daily Record lists a long charge sheet against Johnson, including Partygate, the Pincher affair, the wallpaper row, and “lie after lie”, and concludes with its verdict: “Worst PM ever’

DAILY RECORD: Worst PM Ever #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/cEWWRi1XYY

— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) July 7, 2022

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