Andrew Scheer ended weeks of speculation on his future Thursday, announcing he will step down as Conservative leader.
Scheer announced his decision at a surprise caucus meeting before heading into the House of Commons to deliver a seven-minute speech ending his quest to one day become prime minister.
The Conservative benches were unusually full for what had been expected to be routine debate on the government’s throne speech, before Scheer rose on a point of personal privilege.
Scheer said stepping down was a difficult decision, but a necessary one.
“Serving as the leader of the party that I love so much has been the opportunity and the challenge of a lifetime,” he said.
“This party, this movement, needs someone who can give 100 per cent, This was not a decision I came to lightly, this is a decision I came to after many long hard conversations with friends and family.” Scheer’s wife, Jill, was in the gallery watching.
Scheer said he was proud of his time as leader, noting there are more Conservative MPs than there were before the Oct. 21 election.
“We kept our party united and strong,” he said. “We knocked the Liberals down to a minority. We increased seats all over this country.”
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