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Boris Johnson: Six more ministers quit at once as PM clings onto power

Kemi Badenoch among the latest to resign as Tory leader struggles to hold at No 10

Adam Forrest
Wednesday 06 July 2022 15:28 BST
'Enough is enough', says Sajid Javid as he calls on ministers to oust Boris Johnson
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Six more ministers have quit Boris Johnson’s government, as the beleaguered prime minister struggles to save his ailing premiership.

It comes as Michael Gove has told Mr Johnson that he must step down. The Levelling Up secretary delivered the message at a meeting on Wednesday morning, The Independent understands.

Equalities minister Kemi Badenoch, Julia Lopez, Lee Rowley, Neil O’Brien, Alex Burghart and Mims Davies all announced they are resigning – taking the total number of departing ministers on Wednesday to 12.

In a joint letter, five ministers stated the government “cannot function given the issues that have come to light and the way in which they have been handled”. Ms Davies then resigned as employment minister, saying the Tories “need a fresh start”.

Treasury minister John Glen and Home Office minister Victoria Atkins are among a group of six ministers to quit the government earlier on Wednesday, citing the PM’s “poor judgement” and lack of integrity.

Jo Churchill quit as health minister shortly, Stuart Andrew resigned as housing minister, Robin Walker stepped down as schools standards minister, and Will Quince left as children and families minister.

More than 25 resignations of ministers, aides and envoys have followed the sensational exit of Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid from cabinet on Tuesday night.

The prime minister now faces an uphill battle to cling on at No 10 after his handling of the row over scandal-hit ex-deputy chief whip Mr Pincher sparked outrage among Tory colleagues.

A growing number of Tory MPs demand an immediate rule change to the 1922 Committee of backbenchers’ rulebook in order to force Mr Johnson from office.

As the steady drip-feed of resignation letters from junior ministers and ministerial aides continued on Wednesday, new Tory MPs declared their opposition to Mr Johnson carrying on at No 10.

The timeline for Mr Johnson to face another no confidence vote in his leadership could be drastically shortened if senior Tories on the 1922 Committee back a rule change later on Wednesday afternoon.

Under the current rules of the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservatives, the Prime Minister cannot face another challenge within a year of his shaky victory last month.

But this could be torn up if the group’s executive – meeting at 4pm – go ahead with a proposed change to the rules as Mr Johnson’s authority evaporates with a series of ministerial resignations.

Robert Halfon, who is on the 1922 Committee and has remained loyal, said: “If there is a vote for a change in leadership, I will now vote for that change.”

Senior Tory MP Gary Sambrook received a round of applause from the Labour benches after calling on Mr Johnson to resign at PMQs.

The executive secretary of the party’s 1922 Committee, accused Mr Johnson of attempting “to blame other people for mistakes”, and told him directly: “Take responsibility and resign”.

Lee Anderson, a 2019 red wall Tory, also questioned the prime minister’s integrity and withdrew support, saying the PM’s decision to give Mr Pincher a job was “not a good appointment”.

Labour leader Keir Starmer ripped into Mr Johnson and the multiple Tory resignations – ridiculing it as “the first case of the sinking ship fleeing the rat”.

Mr Javid called on his former cabinet colleagues to oust Mr Johnson – telling the Commons he had quit because he had concluded that the PM was “the problem” and would not change.

Calling on his former colleagues to act, the departing health secretary said: “They will have their own reason [for staying]. But they have a choice ... Let’s be clear, not doing something is an active decision.”

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