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FirstFT: Johnson quits | Financial Times

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Boris Johnson yesterday signalled the end of a tumultuous three-year reign as Britain’s prime minister, defending his record and blaming Conservative MPs for their “eccentric” decision to force him from office.

Johnson quit as Conservative leader but defied pressure to step down immediately as prime minister, saying he would remain until his successor is chosen, probably in September. Read his full resignation speech here.

One of his successor’s biggest challenges will be repairing Britain’s status abroad, writes Gideon Rachman.

Johnson convened one of the most surreal cabinet meetings in British history yesterday, hours after he announced he was quitting, in which he urged his shell-shocked caretaker cabinet to carry on “delivering for the British people”.

Video: Boris Johnson’s resignation speech in front of No 10 Downing Street

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Go deeper: Johnson was the entertainer who tried to defy political gravity. He once united people in amusement but ended up uniting them in contempt, writes Henry Mance.

Business reaction: British business leaders welcomed the PM’s resignation, calling for a swift transition to a new administration to restore confidence.

The FT View: It is high time for the needs of the country, not the Conservative party, to come first, our editorial board writes. In order to do that, the new leader needs to prioritise responsibility over repartee.

Opinion: Robert Shrimsley believes the process of replacing Johnson will not be straightforward. Stephen Bush considers the next steps for the Conservative party — and the country. Sign up here to receive his newsletter Inside Politics.

Thanks for reading FirstFT Europe/Africa and here is the rest of the day’s news — Jennifer

1. Shinzo Abe shot The former Japanese prime minister has been shot in the city of Nara, public broadcaster NHK reported today. He was seen collapsed during a speech at about 11.30am and was bleeding.

2. Germany dims the lights The country is rationing hot water, dimming its street lights and shutting down swimming pools as the impact of a huge increase in gas prices, triggered by Russia’s sharp reduction of supplies last month, begins to spread from industry to offices, leisure centres and homes.

“Germany’s social peace is in great danger” — Axel Gedaschko, head of the federation of German housing enterprises

3. HSBC banker quits over climate furore Stuart Kirk, head of responsible investing at HSBC Asset Management, has resigned after a provocative speech at a Financial Times event in May that accused policymakers of overstating the financial risks of climate change.

4. UK public finances on ‘unsustainable path’: OBR The Office for Budget Responsibility has undermined the hopes of tax-cutting Conservative leadership hopefuls, saying in a long-planned report that Britain’s public finances are “on an unsustainable path in the long term”.

5. Former Theranos exec convicted of fraud Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani has been convicted of fraud over his role as former president at the now-defunct blood testing start-up, founded by his former girlfriend and business partner Elizabeth Holmes. Balwani was convicted on all 12 counts of fraud and conspiracy.

The days ahead

Economic data A US jobs report is expected to show that hiring slowed in June but remained above pre-pandemic averages. In the UK, KPMG/REC releases a monthly jobs report and banking first-quarter regulatory capital figures are out. Italy has May industrial production data.

UK nuclear energy A decision on EDF’s proposed £20bn Sizewell C plant on England’s east coast is due by the end of the day, while the Hinkley Point B nuclear plant in Somerset is expected to begin its shutdown despite concerns of blackouts later this year.

Wimbledon championships The women’s tennis championship final will take place tomorrow, followed by the men’s final on Sunday.

Elections On Sunday, the first round of parliamentary and municipal elections kick off in the Republic of the Congo, while in Japan, half of the less powerful upper house of parliament will be elected through a mix of constituency and proportional representation votes, with the ruling Liberal Democratic party’s coalition tipped for victory.

What else we’re reading

Inside the problem of police violence For a decade, Cora (not her real name) says her husband was psychologically and sexually abusive. He was also a cop. With the culture of the British police force and prevalence of domestic violence under increased scrutiny after the murder of Sarah Everard, Sarah Haque asks, is there a link between the two?

Should artists have a stake in their own work? A weird system of economics belies the $65bn top-tier contemporary art market, which has bounced back sharply from the pandemic. A surge in global wealth has unleashed speculation in the works of a few coveted artists — who see little of the profit.

‘Boucher’s Flesh’ by Flora Yukhnovich
‘Boucher’s Flesh’ by Flora Yukhnovich © Alamy

Italy’s worst drought in decades A lack of rain has desiccated fields in the country’s northern agricultural heartland, leading to the worst climate event since at least 2003 when a massive heatwave and drought killed 30,000 people. Once again, drought is threatening power generation and agricultural output.

How to change someone’s mind What does it mean to have an argument with someone? What goals are served by different styles of debate? And if you hope to persuade someone to change their mind, how should you do it? Tim Harford loves the ideals of debate. But he is not optimistic that it often works in practice.

Covid’s chronic effects A wave of infections is deluging much of the world this month, fuelled by the rapid takeover of the latest iteration of Omicron. Despite fewer severe cases, the volume of infections means hundreds of thousands will be unwell in the long term, John Burn-Murdoch explains.


At the Sani Resort in Greece, amateur tennis players can train under the watchful eye of Toni Nadal, the uncle and former coach of 22-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal — in what could be the ultimate tennis holiday.

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