Boris Johnson resigned as leader of Britain's Conservative party after dozens of ministers quit his scandal-hit government.
"It is clearly the will of the parliamentary Conservative party that there should be a new leader of that party, and therefore a new prime minister," Johnson said outside 10 Downing Street.
Johnson, 58, announced that he would step down after a slew of resignations from his top team in protest at his leadership but would stay on as prime minister until a replacement is found.
The timetable for a Tory leadership race will be announced next week, he said, after three tumultuous years in office defined by Brexit, the COVID pandemic and non-stop controversy over his reputation for mendacity.
Chancellor Of Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid late Tuesday set off a chain of resignations. Today, UK Education Minister Michelle Donelan resigned two days after in the office.
Indian-origin Sunak is seen by the bookmakers Ladbrokes as joint favorite alongside former Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt. If it happens, he will be first Indian-origin man to be British PM.
Sunak became hugely popular during the pandemic after crafting a massive package worth tens of billions of pounds to help businesses and workers. However, in recent months he found himself on the backfoot over his wife's non-dom tax status, his US green card, and the perception of him being too slow to react to Britain's cost-of-living crisis.
Rishi Sunak's grandparents came from Punjab. He has two daughters with Akshata Murty, the daughter of Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy.