Boris Johnson: Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid quit cabinet in protest at PM
Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid have resigned from their cabinet roles after admitting that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had lost their confidence
Two members of Boris Johnson’s cabinet both sensationally quit on Tuesday evening.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid have both resigned from their roles, citing that they have ‘lost confidence’ in Mr Johnson’s leadership.
The resignations come amid a recent fallout over claims Mr Johnson was aware of “inappropriate” conduct allegations prior to appointing former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher to the government role.
Only moments before the two men tendered their resignation to the Prime Minister, Mr Johnson admitted that he was aware of reports of Mr Pincher’s behaviour and apologised for appointing the MP to the role, saying: “I apologise to everybody who has been badly affected by it.”
Downing Street has confirmed that Nadhim Zahawi, former Education Secretary, has been appointed to Chancellor, while Downing Street Chief of Staff Steve Barclay is due to move into the vacant Health Secretary role.
Why did Rishi Sunak resign as Chancellor?
Mr Sunak made the announcement that he was standing down as Chancellor via a statement posted to Twitter.
He said that he had reached the decision to resign after coming to the conclusion that he Government is not being “conducted properly, competently and seriously.”
The former Chancellor’s statement read: “The public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously. I recognise this may be my last ministerial job, but I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning.
Mr Sunak has been a supporter of Mr Johnson in past, however he admitted that he often clashed with the Prime Minister in private, saying: “On those occasions where I disagreed with you privately, I have supported you publicly.
“On those occasions where I disagreed with you privately, I have supported you publicly”.
Mr Sunak also wrote: “In preparation for our proposed joint speech on the economy next week, it has become clear to me that our approaches are fundamentally too different.
“I am sad to be leaving Government but I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that we cannot continue like this.”
Why did Sajid Javid resign as Health Secretary?
Only a few minutes prior to Mr Sunak tendering his resignation, Mr Javid had issued a statement in which he quit his role as Health Secretary, however it is believed that the two men did not coordinate their statements.
He noted that following the recent vote of confidence in Mr Johnson, he had hoped the Prime Minister would take a “moment for humility, grip and new direction”.
Mr Javid said: “I regret to say, however, that it is clear to me that this situation will not change under your leadership – and you have therefore lost my confidence too.
“You will forever be credited with seeing off the threat of Corbynism, and breaking the deadlock on Brexit.”
Mr Javid, who previously resigned as Chancellor in 2019 under Mr Johnson, said that the “party is bigger than any one individual”, adding: “I served you loyally and as a friend, but we all serve the country first.
“When made to choose between those loyalties there can only be one answer.”
Whitehall sources have said that Downing Street Chief of Staff Steve Barclay is due to move into the vacant Health Secretary role.
Who will replace Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid?
Hours after their resignation, Downing Street has confirmed the successors for Mr Sunak’s and Mr Javid’s cabinet roles.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi will become Chancellor, with Universities Minister Michelle Donelan moving into the role of Education Secretary.
Downing Street Chief of Staff Steve Barclay will replace Mr Javid as Health Secretary.
Who else has resigned?
Alongside the prominent cabinet resignations, there have been a number of resignations from those in junior positions.
MP Jonathan Gullis, who had been an ardent supporter of Boris Johnson in the past, has resigned as a parliamentary private secretary (PPS).
MPs Nicola Richards and Saqib Bhatti, who served under Mr Javid, have also quit their PPS roles.
Andrew Murrison, MP for South West Wiltshire, has resigned as trade envoy to Morroco.
Will Boris Johnson resign?
The Prime Minister has been at the centre of a rocky premiership the past few months.
In June, he was at the centre of a vote of confidence after the 1922 committee threashold for letters of no confidence was met.
Mr Johnson ultimately succeeded in the vote, but the result has not secured his confidence in his party members.
Following the Partygate scandal and the fallout from the Chris Pincher situation, pressure has been mounting on the him to resign, however he has remained staunch in his position that he will continue to serve as Prime Minister.
However, the latest resignations could be the beginning of the end of his leadership of the country.
But who is likely to take over as Tory leader if Mr Johnson either resigns or is ousted?
The current bookies favourite to become leader after Mr Johnson is Mr Sunak at 3/1, followed by trade minister Penny Mourdant at 4/1.
Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is third favourite at 8/1, joined by Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on the same odds.
What has Boris Johnson said about the resignations?
In letters written to Mr Sunak and Mr Javid hours after their announcements, Mr Johnson said that he was “sorry” to receive their resignations.
In a letter to Mr Sunak, he said: “Dear Rishi, I was sorry to receive your letter resigning from the Government.
“You have provided outstanding service to the country through the most challenging period for our economy in peacetime history”.
Mr Johnson commended the former Chancellor on his work on the economy post-pandemic, adding: “I have enormously valued your advice and deep commitment to public service and will miss working with you in government.”
In his letter to Mr Javid, the Prime Minister wrote: “Dear Saj, Thank you for your letter this evening tendering your resignation. I was very sorry to receive it.
“You have served this Government, and the people of the United Kingdom, with distinction.
“You will be greatly missed, and I look forward to your contribution from the backbenches.”
He added that “the Government will continue to deliver” Mr Javid’s work on battle Covid backlogs, as well as other plans for the NHS.
What has been the reaction to the resignations?
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab and Home Secretary Priti Patel are not expected to stand down. Likewise, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace are expected to remain in their roles, as well as Michael Gove.
However, Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen has said that he expects more resignations.
Speaking to PA, he said: “I guess they (Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid) finally got where much of the party got weeks if not months ago, that we just can’t carry on like this. What a shambles. It has been a shambles.”
He added that he expected Mr Johnson to be “shown the door” following the dissolution of his cabinet.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has welcomed the resignations, stating that “it’s clear that this Government is now collapsing”, and urged other cabinet members to follow suit.
He said: “They should resign, or force him to resign. They have to step up in the national interest now, otherwise they are nodding dogs in this. I would say to them directly: act in the national interest and resign.”
Other opposition politicans have also commented on the situation.
SNP leader Nicola Strugeon tweeted: “Feels like end might be nigh for Johnson – not a moment too soon.
“Notable tho (sic) that the resigning ministers were only prepared to go when they were lied to – they defended him lying to public.
“The whole rotten lot need to go. And needs the permanent alternative of independence.”
This article was first published on sister site NationalWorld.