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Biden reaffirms commitment to U.K. 'special relationship' amid Johnson resignation

President Joe Biden said Thursday that he looks forward to continuing America’s “close cooperation with the government of the United Kingdom” amid its government reshuffle in the wake of Prime Minister Boris Jonson’s announcement that he will resign.

Biden did not mention Johnson by name in his statement but said that “the United Kingdom and the United States are the closest of friends and Allies, and the special relationship between our people remains strong and enduring.” He said the U.S. and the U.K. would maintain a “strong and united approach to supporting the people of Ukraine” in that nation’s war to repel a Russian invasion.

The president’s statement came hours after Johnson announced earlier Thursday that he would resign as head of the U.K.’s Conservative Party, vacating the speakership following a wave of resignations from members of his own cabinet. Johnson, who helped shepherd the U.K. through its tumultuous exit from the European Union, was scandal-prone throughout his tenure as prime minister, facing criticism over Covid lockdown-breaking parties at Downing Street at the height of the pandemic as well as his promotion of an ally who had been accused multiple times of sexually assaulting young men.

Johnson has said he plans to stay on as prime minister in a caretaker role until the Conservative Party selects his replacement as leader.

“I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world. But them’s the breaks,” the prime minister said in a resignation speech outside No.10 Downing Street on Thursday.