Speaking shortly after 7.30am this morning, he accused the Conservatives of having “changed the rules part way through” his leadership in a dig at the circumstances surrounding his exit from power. However, he downplayed suggestions he could one day run again to take over as Prime Minister, comparing himself to a booster rocket “that has fulfilled its function” and is now “gently reentering the atmosphere and splashing down invisibly in some remote corner of the Pacific”.
In a speech delivered in his usual upbeat, jovial nature, he said: “This is it folks. Thank you everybody for coming out so early this morning.
“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.
“The baton will be handed over in what has unexpectedly turned out to be a relay race. They changed the rules halfway through, but never mind that now.”
A number of the Prime Minister’s colleagues, Downing Street staff, and his family were on the street to hear his final speech in the top job.
They clapped and cheered as he emerged from the door of No10 to face the world media one final time.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, Defence, Secretary Ben Wallace and Brexit Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg were among those present to hear Mr Johnson’s farewell speech.
Reeling off his achievements in his three years in the job, Mr Johnson celebrated his record in office.
“Through that lacquered black door, a new Prime Minister will shortly go to meet a fantastic group of public servants,” he stated.
“The people who got Brexit done. The people who delivered the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe, and never forget 70 percent of the entire population got a dose within six months – faster than any comparable country.
“That is Government for you. That’s this Conservative Government.”
And in a parting shot at Russian President Vladimir Putin amid the energy crisis, he added: “If Putin thinks that he can succeed by blackmailing or bullying the British people, then he is utterly deluded.”
Mr Johnson will now fly to the Queen’s estate of Balmoral in Scotland to officially tender his resignation. The monarch will then meet Liz Truss and ask her to form a Government on her behalf.
Ms Truss will become the UK’s fourth Prime Minister in seven years in just seven years.
The handover of power from Mr Johnson to the South West Norfolk MP comes after the Foreign Secretary was appointed as the new Conservative leader yesterday following her victory in the Tory leadership contest.
Weeks of bitter in-fighting marred the party with the race to replace Mr Johnson being toxic at times.
Calling for unity, Mr Johnson told warring Tory MPs to now unite behind their new leader.
He said: “I say to my fellow Conservatives, it is time for politics to be over folks, it is time for us all to get behind Liz Truss and her team and her programme and deliver for the people of this country because that is what the people of this country want, that is what they need and that is what they deserve.”
Joking about his dog and Larry, the Downing Street cat, he continued: “I just say to my party if Dilyn and Larry can put behind them their occasional difficulties, then so can the Conservative Party.”
Mr Johnson finished his speech thanking the voters for putting their faith in him at the 2019 election when he won his historic Commons majority.
He concluded: “Above all, thanks to you, to 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 and for future generations.
“I will be supporting Liz Truss and the new government every step of the way.”
His supporters who had gathered to watch his last speech outside No10 broke into cheers as he finished his address.
Mr Johnson held his wife’s hand and shook hands with officials and left the street to rapturous applause.
Labour criticised Mr Johnson’s speech, accusing him of being “deluded”.
Deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “It was completely deluded and it stunk of all the hallmarks of someone who has had a privileged background, who thinks they can do what they like.”
Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy added: “Boris Johnson standing outside Downing Street listing imaginary achievements in a desperate attempt to claim a legacy is not going to fool anyone.
“He was exposed as a liar and a charlatan. Good riddance to the worst Prime Minister of the modern era.”