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Tom Watson, deputy leader of the British Labour party, said this about outgoing foreign secretary Boris Johnson in an interview on radio station LBC:

[Boris Johnson is] the only politician in UK history that posed for a photograph while signing his own resignation letter.

(the context of the remark is Watson criticising the resignation, characterising it as a vainglorious stunt intended to boost his leadership ambitions - the claim that he's the only British politician in history to do this is used to support the idea that it goes beyond typical political antics)

There seems to be no doubt that Boris Johnson did take time out of his schedule (seemingly, at a time when he was expected to be hosting a summit of East European ministers) to organise a photoshoot and pose for photographs signing his own resignation letter. Tabloid The Sun (edited by a jogging partner of Boris Johnson, therefore likely to be an informed and sympathetic source) credits the photos to professional photographer Andrew Parsons, and includes multiple poses from different angles in a gallery, describing the photoshoot:

Boris - who's been replaced by Jeremy Hunt - hired photographer Andrew Parsons, who used to work for David Cameron, to capture the moment he formally resigned.

Is it true that this is the first time a British politician has arranged for a photographer to photograph the signing of their own resignation?

  • Seems plausible. A Google search for images of "resignation signing" turned up lots of photo-library images of resignation letters, some non-UK politicians (generally resigning in public disgrace) and pictures of Boris Johnson from the current news. – Paul Johnson Jul 10 '18 at 10:43
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    "Only time ever" is a bold claim, and I'd like to know if it's true or not. No-one's doubting it's an unusual, remarkable thing to do (especially since he apparently stood up a major summit of foreign ministers organised months in advance in order to do it...), but there's a big difference between "X is unusual" and "this is first time X has ever happened" – user568458 Jul 10 '18 at 10:55
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    I very much suspect it is true; note it is somewhat a "disprove a negative" question as the claim is that none of the others did. – user43646 Jul 10 '18 at 11:03
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    @user568458, according to the FAQ: "[A good question contains] a brief explanation of why it is important." Nobody's world will stop spinning if the claim is true (or not). I agree that the source is notable, but I can't believe that makes every utterance a notable claim a priori. However you seem to believe this claim should be getting some attention from this community, so to rephrase my original question: why is it important for you/what would change for you if it turns out to be false? – Jordy Jul 10 '18 at 11:36
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    @user568458, "it's a remarkable detail", here is where I disagree (and why I referenced the FAQ). It is remarkable that he did it in the first place (which should be proof enough that it "goes beyond typical political antics") , the fact that he was the first to do it adds nothing to that affect. Continued.. – Jordy Jul 10 '18 at 12:33

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