Boris Johnson on the sidelines after Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid left the UK cabinet

Boris Johnson clung to power on Tuesday night after Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid resigned dramatically from the UK Prime Minister’s office just minutes from each other.

Some minor members of the government also resigned, and many Conservative MPs believed the ministerial riot could signal the beginning of the end for Johnson.

But there was relief on Downing Street when other important figures such as Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, Secretary of State Liz Truss, Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace and Leveling Secretary Michael Gove indicated that they stayed.

Johnson immediately began remodeling his cabinet. Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi was appointed new chancellor. Steve Barclay, a former Treasury Secretary and currently Johnson’s chief of staff, replaces Javid as health secretary.

Attorney General Alex Chalk was the third minister to leave the Johnson administration. In his letter to the Prime Minister, he said that “the number 10 ability to maintain the standards of frankness expected of a British government has been irreparably broken.”

Several ministerial aides, or private parliamentary secretaries, resigned from the government, including Jonathan Gullis, a staunch supporter of Johnson, as PPS Secretary for Northern Ireland and Saqib Bhatti, who followed his boss Javid out of the health department. . Bim Afolami, vice president of the Tory party, also resigned from his live role on television.

Many Conservative MPs believe Johnson’s term is coming to an end. Last month, more than 40% of MPs expressed distrust of their leader and the unity of the cabinet has been broken.

Sunak and Javid criticized the prime minister’s conduct, and Sunak said in a letter of excoriational resignation, “The public rightly expects the government to conduct itself properly, competently and seriously.”

On a day when Johnson’s honesty was questioned, Sunak suggested the prime minister was willing to mislead voters about the deplorable state facing the economy and the need for “difficult decisions”.

“I think the public is willing to listen to the truth,” he said, adding that Johnson and he “fundamentally” disagreed on economic policy. “Our people know that if something is too good to be true, then it is not true.”

Loyal Conservative MPs said Johnson had told them he was now more likely to propose early tax cuts, a popular policy among right-wing Conservatives, but that Sunak fears it could fuel inflation as prices rise towards two digits.

Johnson also wants to reverse the projected corporate tax increase from 19% to 25% next year, a move opposed by Sunak, who believed the increase was necessary to repair public finances.

Sunak’s resignation came minutes after his old friend Javid left. In his letter, Javid said, “The tone you set as a leader, the values ​​you represent, reflects on your peers, your party, and ultimately the country.”

The resignations of Sunak and Javid followed the forced departure of former deputy director Chris Pincher last week following allegations he palpated two men while he was drunk at a private club.

Downing Street insisted for days that Johnson had not been informed of “specific allegations” of misconduct by Pincher in the past. On Tuesday, Johnson admitted that he had been informed of the allegations in 2019, but that he had forgotten about them. “It’s an absolute shame,” one minister said.

With ministers unwilling to defend him publicly, the prime minister granted an interview to the BBC ahead of his resignation where he apologized for appointing Pincher as whip deputy director in February. “In retrospect, it was the wrong thing to do,” he said.

But while Johnson’s late apology was being issued, Javid announced that he was going. The health secretary, who had previously resigned as chancellor in 2020 after a power struggle with the number 10, believes he can be a unifying figure as a future Conservative leader.

Javid said in his resignation letter: “Last month’s vote of confidence showed that a large number of our colleagues agree. It was a time of humility, adherence and new leadership. I’m sorry to say, but , that I am clear that this situation will not change under your leadership “.


Sunak’s allies insisted the two resignations were uncoordinated, but his departure from the cabinet now means Johnson has two potential leadership rivals sitting in the back seats.

The former chancellor said he and Johnson adopted approaches to the economy that were “fundamentally too different.” A proposal for a joint economic speech by the two men had proved impossible to agree on.

A Sunak ministerial ally said the main difference between the outgoing chancellor and the prime minister was that “one is healthy, the other is a clown.”

Markets will be on the lookout for signs of what the change of chancellor will mean for future economic policy, including the possibility of a looser fiscal regime that could force the Bank of England to raise interest rates more quickly.

Several Conservative MPs called for Johnson’s resignation Tuesday night. Next week, the party will elect a new 1922 committee executive, who will set the rules for leadership contests.

A list of anti-Johnson candidates is expected to push for a change in party rules to allow another early vote of censure on the prime minister. The current rules say that this vote can only be done every 12 months.

Sir Keir Starmer, the Labor leader, said: “After all the embarrassment, scandals and failure, it is clear that this government is collapsing.”

Sir Dem Davey, a Liberal Democrat leader, said: “A house of cards built on lies and deceptions crashes.”

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