What exactly happened?
Scandal-ridden Boris Johnson announced on Thursday that he would resign as prime minister of the United Kingdom after significantly losing the support of his ministers and the majority of Conservative lawmakers. He said that he would hold onto his position until a replacement was found. Johnson claimed it was obvious his party wanted someone else in control but that his forced resignation was “eccentric” and the product of “herd instinct” in parliament. As more than 50 cabinet ministers and advisers resigned and MPs declared he must go, Johnson bowed to the inevitable.
Roles & impact of resignation
Boris Johnson has been in charge of UK tech since 2016 when he was appointed as part of the new team at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS). After the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, it was his responsibility to bridge the gap between both industries, helping to grow and support companies from both sides of the channel.
Unfortunately, this never came to fruition, and he resigned just four months before the October 31 deadline for Britain’s planned exit. This means that there is now a vacuum of leadership at such a critical time – where technology was supposed to be centralized upon by Boris Johnson.
After receiving feedback from many cabinet members that he had lost the party’s support, Boris Johnson resigned as leader of the Conservative Party and claimed that Tory MPs’ “herd instinct” was to blame for his removal. Johnson said in a statement outside Downing Street that “no one is remotely indispensable” and that Johnson leaving No. 10 was the “decision of the parliamentary Conservative party.” He did, however, also make clear that he intended to continue as prime minister until the party chose his replacement, possibly until the fall, which immediately sparked discontent among Tory MPs. The announcement ends a remarkable stalemate between Johnson and cabinet members, including his new chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi, who had been pressuring ham to resign out of resentment.
The resignation of UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is a huge loss to the UK’s technology sector. He was a driving force behind the UK’s push to be a world leader in technology, and his departure is a big blow to the country’s tech sector.
The following are the big blows to the country’s tech sector:
Full Fiber Nation
Boris Johnson’s resignation as UK Prime Minister means that his flagship policy of delivering a full-fibre broadband network by 2025 is now unlikely to be realized. This is a huge blow to the UK’s digital infrastructure ambitions and a real missed opportunity.
Johnson had made full-fibre a key part of his vision for a post-Brexit Britain and had pledged to invest £5 billion to deliver it. But with him gone and the Conservatives set to choose a new leader, it’s doubtful that this will remain a priority.
This is a real shame, as a full-fibre network would have been a massive boost to the UK economy. It would have created jobs, increased productivity, and attracted investment.
It’s a missed opportunity that we can ill-afford in the current climate. The UK needs to be leading the way on digital infrastructure, not lagging behind.
Boris Johnson’s resignation as Foreign Secretary has brought the possibility of a ‘Techxit’ or ‘Brexit’ for the UK’s tech sector into sharp focus.
Theresa May has been clear that she wants the UK to remain a part of the European Union’s digital single market after Brexit, but Johnson’s resignation throws that into doubt.
The UK tech sector is worth an estimated £170 billion and employs 1.56 million people. It is one of the country’s most successful industries and is a major part of the economy.
However, the sector is also highly dependent on EU talent and investment. Many of the UK’s top tech firms are based in London, which is also the EU’s largest tech hub.
There are concerns that a hard Brexit could damage the UK’s tech sector, and that a ‘Techxit’ could see many of the country’s top tech firms moving to other EU countries.
The UK government has said it is committed to supporting the tech sector and ensuring that it thrives after Brexit. However, with Boris Johnson’s resignation, the future of the sector is now in doubt.
The Huawei dilemma
Boris Johnson’s decision to resign as Foreign Secretary over the Huawei dilemma highlights the difficult choices facing the UK government on this issue.
The UK’s National Security Council reportedly voted to allow Huawei to help build the country’s 5G network, despite concerns from the US and other allies about the company’s ties to the Chinese government.
Johnson is said to have been among the ministers who supported the decision, but he resigned after Prime Minister Theresa May overruled the NSC and put the decision on hold.
This is a complex issue, with many different factors to consider. But ultimately, the UK government will need to decide whether the benefits of working with Huawei outweigh the risks. There are clear advantages to working with Huawei. The company is a world leader in 5G technology, and its products are generally seen as high-quality and cost-effective.
Allowing Huawei to help build the UK’s 5G network would also give the UK a head start in this important new technology.
But there are also serious risks associated with Huawei. The US government has warned that the company could be used by the Chinese government to spy on other countries.
There is also the risk that Huawei’s products could be used to hack into sensitive UK infrastructure.
The UK government will need to carefully weigh up these risks and benefits before making a final decision on Huawei.
Logging on and taking action
Johnson also doesn’t start the job with a clean slate, as he would if the Conservative party had won the election and been given the opportunity to rule. Instead, Theresa May and David Cameron, two former Conservative prime ministers, leave behind their respective legacies before him. Johnson needs to clean up, as we can see in the case of Huawei. He’ll likely participate in the discussion about the police’s use of facial recognition technology. After being postponed once more in June, his government will need to decide whether and when the UK’s contentious online porn filter and the associated age-verification technologies will go into effect.
Then there is the matter of his own digital legacy. Johnson recently suggested that he may impose a digital tax on multinational internet companies doing business in and out of the UK. He stated earlier this month, according to Reuters, “I think it’s profoundly wrong that High Street businesses pay tax through the nose… while the internet giants, the FAANGs — Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google — are paying basically nothing.” (FAANG typically also includes Apple.)
He also has competition from France, which launched its own digital tax in January and has demonstrated a talent for courting Silicon Valley CEOs in a way that the UK government hasn’t even tried to match.
A little about Boris Johnson
Johnson was a strong advocate for the UK’s tech sector and was a key player in initiatives such as the Northern Powerhouse and Tech City UK. His vision was to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a tech business.
Under his leadership, the UK became a global leader in fintech and artificial intelligence. The country attracted record levels of investment in these areas and was home to some of the world’s leading companies in these fields.
Johnson’s resignation is a huge setback for the UK’s tech sector. It will be difficult to replace him as a champion for the industry. The UK will need to continue to invest in its tech sector and support startups if it is to maintain its position as a world leader in this area.
Considerable losses for the UK
1) His resignation will create uncertainty in the UK’s technology-reliant future. The uncertainty that the nation’s tech industry cannot afford.
2) Being able to build and scale companies without having to deal with ongoing political machinations is a huge benefit to any business and one that we are about to lose for at least two years.
3) The resignation will lead to a new UK Prime Minister and an unenviable amount of pressure on them to get re-elected.
4) A transition of power, which is not an easy task for any organization.
5) This has dire consequences for the UK’s startup businesses, which depend heavily on access to funding from venture capital firms and foreign investors.
6) Serious challenge to its political leadership
The resignation of UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is a huge loss to the UK’s technology sector. Johnson brought his trademark charisma to the role and set ambitious goals for Britain’s digital economy, including doubling its current investment in 5G and AI technologies. The next Prime Minister needs to seize this opportunity to further develop a truly world-class tech industry.
We hope for the best for the UK after Boris resigned. The result is sad that he has resigned, but we deeply understand his decision.