Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid have both sensationally resigned from cabinet, leaving Boris Johnson’s government on the brink of collapsing.
The two resignations may spell the end of Johnson’s premiership as more ministers are now likely to resign in anger with Johnson’s handling of the Chris Pincher sexual misconduct scandal.
It is understood that foreign secretary Liz Truss, home secretary Priti Patel, housing secretary Michael Gove, justice secretary Dominic Raab, business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, culture secretary Nadine Dorries, trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Brexit minister Jacob Rees-Mogg will stick by the beleaguered PM.
Sunak and Javid’s resignation letters came within minutes of each other and were posted on Twitter just as an interview with the PM was being aired.
Sunak said in his resignation letter that the “public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously”.
“I recognise this might be my last ministerial job, but I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning,” he said.
It comes after Number 10 was forced to admit today that Johnson previously knew about official sexual misconduct complaints against Pincher, but still gave him several ministerial jobs.
Just yesterday Johnson’s spokesman said the PM was not aware of any official complaints that were made against the disgraced MP.
Today’s U-turn came after a former top official at the Foreign Office said Number 10 and ministers had been giving out “inaccurate” information and that Johnson had been personally briefed about a sexual misconduct allegation against Pincher.
The latest scandal comes just weeks after Johnson tried to reset his premiership in the wake of the Sue Gray report into partygate and a narrowly won no-confidence vote in his leadership of the Tory party.
Javid said that “I can no longer, in good conscience, continue serving in this government”.
“I am instinctively a team player, but the British people also rightly expect integrity from their government,” he wrote.
“We may not have always been popular, but we have been competent in acting in the national interest. Sadly, in the current circumstances, the public are concluding that we are now neither.
“The vote of no confidence last month showed that a large number of our colleagues agree. It was a moment for humility, grip and new direction. I regret to say, however, that it is clear to me that the situation will not change under your leadership – and you have therefore lost my confidence too.”
The resignations were announced just as an interview aired where Johnson apologised for putting Pincher into a series of ministerial roles.
More than a dozen claims of sexual misconduct have now been made against Pincher in the days since he was forced to resign for drunkenly groping two men.
“I apologise to everybody who’s been badly affected by it. I just want to make absolutely clear that there’s no place in this government for anybody who is predatory or who abuses their position of power,” Johnson said.
Johnson reportedly just held a meeting of 80 loyalist MPs in Number 10 in a bid to save his premiership.
Guido Fawkes reports he said: “I know you’re all avidly in favour of tax cuts and tonight’s events might make that a bit easier to deliver.”
More to follow