Liz Truss will become the new leader of the British Conservative Party, and will therefore succeed Boris Johnson as the United Kingdom’s new prime minister.
As the leadership race culminated on Monday, the debate about Johnson’s legacy will linger long after he is formally replaced by Truss on Tuesday.
Johnson, who spearheaded the Conservatives to a huge election victory in 2019, led Britain out of the European Union the following year. But his government collapsed in July in the wake of a series of ethics scandals.
The benefits of Britain’s EU exit touted by Johnson and other supporters have yet to materialise.
His successor inherits a deflating economy and a cost-of-living crisis sparked by such factors as Brexit and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The other defining event of his premiership was COVID-19, which landed Johnson in intensive care in April 2020 and has left more than 180,000 people in Britain dead.
Johnson hesitated before imposing a nationwide lockdown in March 2020; experts later said acting a week earlier would have saved thousands of lives.
Britain went on to have three long lockdowns, a deep economic slump and one of the highest death tolls in Europe.
But the UK’s vaccine programme, led by a task force of scientists and businesspeople, is widely regarded as a huge success.
Apart from Brexit, Johnson’s main international cause has been Ukraine. He has been one of the most prominent allies of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Britain has backed up the rhetoric with billions in military and humanitarian aid to help the country resist Russia’s invasion.
The support has made Johnson a popular figure in Ukraine, though critics say any other British leader would have followed the same policy.
He brazened out public anger at lockdown-breaching parties in Downing Street during the pandemic, for which he was fined by police.
But his appointment to a key job of a politician who had been accused of sexual misconduct proved a scandal too far for Conservative legislators, who forced him out.