When Boris Johnson stepped outside the black door with the number 10 to announce his resignation, some expected a word of personal reflection, perhaps an admission that could explain to him and others why he was politically broken just two and a half years after a brilliant election victory.
But it was the others who got their fat.
"When the herd starts moving, it starts moving," he said bitterly, as if everyone but him were wrong, the party friends, the journalists, even his cabinet colleagues.
Political correspondent in London.
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He tried to convince his group that a change at the top would be "eccentric", but was unsuccessful.
No political leader is irreplaceable, Johnson said, sarcastically commenting on "our brilliant and Darwinian system" that will now produce another leader "who will, with equal determination, move the country forward through hard times."
It was a statement without a shred of self-criticism, the balance sheet of a misunderstood, unfairly treated hunted victim.
Johnson repeatedly addressed the "public" directly and thanked her.
He listed what he had achieved, which made him "immensely proud", and promised to continue to work through the promises he made during the election campaign in the three months in which he will now lead an interim government.
The “Affair Pincher” causes the fortress to crumble
Telephones had been dead in Downing Street since early that morning.
No one answered a call, suggesting that those remaining in the bunker were overwhelmed by the crisis.
When the redeeming message finally came out of the walls, it no longer surprised many.
"Even Boris Johnson couldn't defy political gravity at the end," Tory MP Andrew Bridge commented on the news.
Rarely has one been able to watch so closely as a government collapses before everyone's eyes.
As early as Wednesday, a prime minister could be observed whose face was mixed with the will to fight and with wounds and despair.
More than 40 secretaries of state and advisers had resigned in a matter of hours - an unprecedented declaration of no-confidence in British history.
In Parliament, Johnson met with sometimes naked contempt, even from his own people.
"The game is up" was the most heard sentence in the lobby.
But in the evening he threw to the wind the advice that well-meaning ministerial colleagues gave him in personal talks.
He is said to have replied that resignation is out of the question because the party cannot take away his voter mandate.
On Thursday morning, Johnson apparently also realized that his situation had become hopeless.
The avalanche of resignations continued to increase.
He couldn't find people for replacements.
Nadhim Zahawi, whom he appointed the new Chancellor of the Exchequer just 36 hours earlier, publicly called on Johnson to resign: "You must do the right thing and leave now!" he wrote.
The new Secretary of Education, Michelle Donelan, resigned after just one day in office.
Former admirer Suella Braverman, a member of the cabinet as Attorneys General, declared on television her willingness to become Prime Minister herself.
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