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Friday 22 September 2023 Dublin: 12°C
PA Boris Johnson appearing in front of the Liaison Committee this afternoon
As it happened: Embattled Johnson sacks Gove and holds on as PM despite raft of calls to quit
A defiant Johnson is refusing to step down.

LAST UPDATE | Jul 6th 2022, 10:58 PM

BORIS JOHNSON HAS been fighting for his political survival after a deeply damaging day of resignations.

The UK prime minister rejected calls from Cabinet colleagues to quit despite support for his leadership collapsing.

Home Secretary Priti Patel, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis and Welsh Secretary Simon Hart were among the Cabinet ministers telling Johnson to stand down.

The prime minister subsequently sacked prominent Cabinet member Michael Gove.

The Conservative leader earlier faced a mutinous atmosphere in the House of Commons, a grilling at Westminster’s powerful Liaison Committee and a host of resignations. 

A deluge of government ministers quit their posts as many MPs sought to distance themselves from the embattled prime minister.

It comes after a dramatic 24 hours that saw two of his highest profile ministers quit, triggering what many commentators believe is the beginning of the end of his premiership. 

Two more Tory politicians have resigned in the last half hour: John Glen, the MP for Salisbury, and Kensington’s Felicity Buchan.

Ipswich Conservative MP Tom Hunt has submitted a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister and called for him to resign, saying “events of the past week have been the straw that has broken the camel’s back”.

He said in a Facebook post: “I have come to the conclusion, like a large number of my colleagues, that it’s in the best interests of my constituents, the country and the Conservative Party for the Prime Minister to step down.

“A continuation of the status quo cannot continue and, regretfully, I believe that the Prime Minister’s tenure in office has run its course.”

Victoria Atkins, the Home Office Minister, has also just resigned.

She posted a resignation letter on Twitter.

There’s a gaggle of press outside 10 Downing St.

Johnson is due to face Prime Minister’s Questions at noon.

britain-politics Frank Augstein / PA Frank Augstein / PA / PA

Johnson has just left Downing Street and got straight into his car – he ignored the flurry of questions from waiting journalists.


The Daily Mail reporting that the 1922 Committee – comprised of Tory backbenchers – is making contingency plans for a leadership contest next week

The House of Commons is filling up for Prime Minister’s Questions.

Image from iOS

politics-johnson Press Association Images Press Association Images

Johnson starts speaking in the House of Commons: ‘Today is a big day.’

He goes on to describe cost-cutting measures being brought in.

He also wishes England and Northern Ireland luck in the women’s Euros.

He offhandedly remarks he will have ‘many’ meetings today, rousing the house.

Labour leader Keir Starmer is up.

He reads a testimony from a victim of Chris Pincher and blasts Johnson for knowing about his conduct and ‘promoting him to a position of power anyway’.

Johnson says in response that he abhors ‘bullying and abuse of power’.

Starmer: ‘I’m not asking for bluster and half-truth. We’ve had enough of that.’

Jo Churchill has just resigned as a minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

In a tweet she said: “It is with a heavy heart that I have this morning tendered my resignation to the Prime Minister. I will not be doing media interviews on this matter.”

Starmer lists some of the controversies Johnson has faced during his tenure, remarking that by quitting now, senior government members are ‘rats’ running from a sinking ship.

Johnson retorts with Starmer’s voting record on crime, and his role in the ‘Beergate‘ controversy.

‘What a pathetic spectacle,’ Starmer responds

‘The only way the country can get the fresh start it deserves is by getting rid of the lot of them,’ says Starmer.

He says change at the top isn’t enough.

Johnson says Labour doesn’t have a plan, the Tories do – having to raise his voice over boos and ruckus in the chamber.

SNP leader in the House of Commons Ian Blackford likens Johnson to the dead parrot from Monty Python.

prime-ministers-questions PA PA

‘The job of a prime minister in difficult circumstances … is to keep going,’ Johnson says when asked if there were any circumstances in which he would resign.

Johnson has vowed not to resign, it seems, but his fate may lie in the hands of the 1922 committee.

The Committee – the parliamentary group of Tory backbench MPs who are not ministers or ministerial aides – is due to elect a new 18-member executive committee.

Crucially, they have a key role to play in leadership elections, including determining the rules by which a sitting leader can be challenged.

What do the rules say at the moment?

The leader must face a vote of confidence if 15% of the parliamentary party write to the committee chairman calling for one.

If the leader survives, however, there cannot be another confidence vote for 12 months – which should mean Mr Johnson is safe until June next year.

However, that could all change if the new executive votes to re-write the existing rules.

Here are some of the early potential frontrunners to replace Johnson as Prime Minister, if he does go:

Jeremy Hunt

tory-leadership-race PA PA

The former foreign secretary and ex-health secretary has been a persistent backbench critic of Mr Johnson and has called on the Prime Minister to quit.

Mr Hunt is widely expected to make a fresh bid for the leadership if there is a contest, having been runner-up to Mr Johnson in 2019, and is among the early favourites with bookmakers.

Sajid Javid


Along with Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Mr Javid’s resignation on Tuesday caused chaos in Number 10, as the Health Secretary from famously humble beginnings left the Government.

Mr Javid made it to the final four in the contest to replace Theresa May as Tory leader in 2019, but dropped out and subsequently endorsed Mr Johnson.

Penny Mordaunt

salisbury-armed-forces-day PA PA

Another frontrunner with the bookies, Ms Mordaunt made waves in 2019 as the UK’s first female defence secretary before being fired by Mr Johnson shortly after becoming PM.

Ms Mordaunt has many strings to her bow – she is a Royal Navy reservist, the current trade minister and a former reality television contestant, having appeared on the Tom Daley-fronted diving show Splash.

Rishi Sunak


The former Chancellor’s calm and measured delivery during televised Covid briefings, and his viral declaration of love for a popular soft drink, will have endeared him to those perhaps not always plugged in to the political goings-on, as well as his resignation on matters of principle on Tuesday.

But his stock took a tumble more recently following disclosures that his wife had non-dom status for tax purposes, and that he was too slow to respond to the cost-of-living crisis.

Liz Truss


The Foreign Secretary has made little secret of her leadership ambitions, with a series of high-profile interventions and photo opportunities in which she appeared to be channelling late PM Margaret Thatcher.

Her hard line on Ukraine, insisting Russian forces must be driven from the country, and threats to tear up the Northern Ireland Protocol with the EU, play well with sections of the party.

Tom Tugendhat


The polyglot chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee became the first to announce his intention to stand for leader should Mr Johnson be turfed out – with his declaration made in January.

A Remainer in 2016, the former soldier has been a trenchant critic of Mr Johnson – a stance that would appear to have cost him any chance of ministerial preferment under the current leadership.

He recently sought to distance himself from a call by his fellow Remainer, Defence Committee chairman Tobias Ellwood, for the UK to rejoin the EU single market.

Ben Wallace


The Defence Secretary has won admirers in Westminster for his straight-talking and straightforward approach, particularly among Tory MPs who pressed for the UK to increase its defence spending, although cuts to the size of the Army remain a cause for concern.

Mr Wallace, who served in the Scots Guards, remains a key voice in the UK’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and this increased exposure could assist any leadership bid.

He has consistently supported Mr Johnson, but has pressed the case for increased defence spending.

Nadhim Zahawi

local-government-association-annual-conference PA PA

The former education secretary is regarded by some as a “safe pair of hands” if other candidates prove too divisive – indeed he was the man trusted to take on the broadcast round of interviews on Wednesday morning, on his first full day in his new job as Chancellor.

Iraqi-born Mr Zahawi was a successful businessman and came to wider prominence as vaccines minister during the pandemic where he was credited with playing a key part in the successful rollout of the jab.

Labour’s Andrew Slaughter says this may be Johnson’s ‘final PMQs.’

Current affairs are peppered into the questions, with Johnson’s future dominating the discussion.

But he’s not getting off easy with bread-and-butter issues: he dismissed a question over reports that he wanted to build an expensive treehouse in the grounds of Chequers as “fantasy”.

Labour MP Matt Western stressed that public-sector workers like teachers and nurses were struggling on current salaries.

He said: “They, and indeed working people everywhere, are struggling to pay their rents and their mortgages. Given they can barely afford a £150,000 mortgage on a new home, can he tell this House how he can afford a £150,000 treehouse?”

Johnson replied: “What I can tell him is that up and down the country, rather than talking about fantasy infrastructure, I can tell him about real infrastructure, we are helping to unite and level up the people of this country with £650 billion of investment.”

Sajid Javid is up now for a personal statement.

He insists he is ‘not one of life’s quitters’.

‘There is so much I planned for the long term.’

But ‘institutions and integrity’ come first today.

‘I am instinctively a team player … treading the tightrope between loyalty and integrity has become impossible in recent months.’

downing-street-turmoil PA PA

Meanwhile, another one bites the dust.

‘In recent years, trust in our roles has been undermined through a series of scandals.’

downing-street-turmoil PA PA

As the speaker of the house wraps up, someone in the chamber merrily shouts: ‘Bye, Boris!’

A few voices echo them.

A total of 18 MPs have handed in their resignations in the past 24 hours:

1. Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

2. Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer

3. Andrew Murrison, trade envoy to Morocco

4. Bim Afolami, Conservative Party vice-chairman

5. Saqib Bhatti, parliamentary private secretary at the Department of Health and Social Care

6. Jonathan Gullis, parliamentary private secretary at the Northern Ireland Office

7. Nicola Richards, parliamentary private secretary at the Department for Transport

8. Virginia Crosbie, parliamentary private secretary at the Welsh Office

9. Theo Clarke, trade envoy to Kenya

10. Alex Chalk, Solicitor General

11. Laura Trott, parliamentary private secretary at the Department for Transport

12. Will Quince, parliamentary under-secretary of state for children and families at the Department for Education

13. Robin Walker, minister of state for school standards at the Department for Education

14. Felicity Buchan, parliamentary private secretary at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

15. John Glen, minister of state at the Treasury

16. Victoria Atkins, minister of state for prisons and probation at the Ministry of Justice

17. Jo Churchill, parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

18. Stuart Andrew, minister of state for housing at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities

From Sky News:

Johnson is also confident he will be able to fill the posts of all the ministers and parliamentary aides who have resigned, his press secretary said.

“There will be further appointments over the coming days,” she said.

Since Johnson took over as Prime Minister three years ago, there have been 41 departures from government.

The equivalent figure for the whole of Theresa May’s premiership was 52.

politics-johnson PA Graphics PA Graphics

Johnson’s net support is at his lowest point since beginning his tenure.

politics-johnson Press Association Images Press Association Images

More rumblings about a Conservative leadership contest:

The number of resignations in the past 24-hours has now climbed to 21 after Selanie Saxby quit as a ministerial aide.

The MP tweeted her resignation letter adding that “with much regret” she “can no longer continue” in her role as a parliamentary private secretary.

Another former Johnson loyalist has cut ties with the prime minister.

This time it’s former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, who previously stuck by the Tory leader despite being booted from Cabinet (due to a controversy about unlawful approval of a luxury housing development).

“I have come to the conclusion that the country would be best served by new leadership,” Jenrick said.

The flood of MPs distancing themselves from Boris continues unabated.

MP for East Devon Simon Jupp has now called on Johnson to resign for the first time.

In a letter posted to Twitter, he said: “The current situation is a grotesque distraction from the many challenges we face as a nation.

“I cannot tolerate this any longer…in order to restore trust in the highest office of the land, the Prime Minister must do the decent thing and resign.”

Five more ministers quit

Another massive blow for Boris Johnson as five additional government ministers have now resigned in one fell swoop.

Hot on the heels of the group of five announcing that they had quit, employment minister Mims Davies has now also handed in her resignation.

Here’s some further information on the five non-Cabinet ministers that resigned as a group in recent minutes.

They were Kemi Badenoch, Neil O’Brien, Alex Burghart, Lee Rowley and Julia Lopez.

Lopez was a culture minister.

Rowley was a business minister.

Burghart was an education minister.

O’Brien was a levelling up minister.

Badenoch was a local government minister.

Cabinet minister Michael Gove has reportedly told the Prime Minister he must step down.

The Daily Mail reported that the Levelling Up Secretary delivered the message at a meeting on Wednesday morning, citing sources.

The newspaper said a spokesman for Mr Gove did not dispute this.

embedded267762400 The 21 Government MPs who have quit

A number of Tory backbenchers including have requested a new vote of confidence in Mr Johnson’s leadership and asked him to resign.

Andrew Bowie, MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, wrote on Twitter: “Three weeks ago I said, despite my vote, we needed to focus on the issues facing the country, not internal fights in the Party… But Government is not functioning.”

Nickie Aiken, MP for Cities of London and Westminster, wrote in a letter: “It is clear that trust in both the Government, the Conservative Party and politics more widely has been seriously damaged.”

Newcastle-under-Lyme MP Aaron Bell tweeted: “Last month I gave the Prime Minister ‘time and space’ to turn the situation around after the vote of no confidence… but things have only got worse, with No 10 continuing to try to lie their way out of difficult situations.”

Anna Firth, the MP for Southend West, said: “Following the recent revelations, I am very sad to say that I can no longer support Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.

“I had hoped to see a fundamental change in leadership style, but sadly this has not happened.”

Northampton South MP Andrew Lewer said the five ministers who sent their resignation letters together are “five of the most talented people in the whole Government”, adding on Twitter: “The PM must resign.”

Johnson is facing questions from MPs on the Liaison Committee, which meets twice a year.

It considers general matters relating to the work of other committees – its members comprise the chairs of the 32 Commons select committee and one joint committee.

It’s the only Commons committee that questions the prime minister.

Johnson will today give evidence on matters of public policy.

From Bloomberg:

Johnson is currently being grilled on the UK’s role in the war in Ukraine

Another resignation:

Duncan Baker has quit as a parliamentary private secretary in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

In a statement on Facebook, the MP for North Norfolk said: “As I said just a couple of weeks ago, we must not dismiss the by election results as ‘mid term’ blues. They were not and they were a clear indicator of how the country feels.

“The breakdown in trust from the last six months is abundantly clear. The latest situation to unfold regarding Chris Pincher only compounds those feelings, with many now recognising the situation is clearly unsustainable.”

Parliamentary private secretaries are MPs who act as assistants to a minister or shadow minister.

They’re junior to Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State, which ministerial roles.

Under-secretaries of state are junior to Ministers of State, which in turn are below Secretaries of State.

downing-street-turmoil PA A man puts out a chalkboard in Parliament Square, London, on the latest odds when Johnson will leave his post PA

Two more parliamentary private secretaries have quit: Craig Williams, MP for Montgomeryshire and Fay Jones of Brecon and Radnorshire.

Williams is PPS to the Chancellor. Jones is PPS to Mark Spencer, the leader of the House of Commons, if Boris Johnson is still Prime Minister on Thursday.

In her letter to Mr Spencer, Ms Jones wrote: “It is with deep regret that I urge you to press the Prime Minister to go. I have drafted this letter a number of times; after the vote to protect Owen Paterson and when the full extent of Partygate revelations became clear.

“Despite my anger at the Prime Minister’s handling of those events, in January, I believed his promise to deliver a change of culture in 10 Downing Street, and I fully believed he could do it. It is clear to me now that my faith in him was miscalculated.

“While his support of President Zelensky and the people of Ukraine has been faultless, and he deserves enormous credit for delivering Brexit and spearheading the vaccine rollout, recent days confirm to me that there is a deep erosion of trust and decency at the heart of Government.

At the liaison committee, Johnson is asked whether he needs the permission of the Queen to call a general election, or if he simply informs here that one will be held.

Johnson avoids the question, saying he doesn’t think anyone wants an election.

‘Are you having a lapse in memory again?’, another committee member asks Johnson when he says he doesn’t remember meeting Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev.

Another PPS has resigned:

Logan is a PPA in the Northern Ireland Office.

Home Office minister Rachel Maclean has announced she is resigning, saying Boris Johnson must go “for the good of the country and our party”.

Johnson is asked: ‘Will you be prime minister tomorrow?’

‘Of course,’ he says.

‘Next week?’

Johnson doesn’t give a straight answer.

Question to Johnson: ‘How’s your week going?’

Johnson: ‘Terrific.’

He’s asked if Michael Gove told him to step down, as reported by the Mail. He does not answer.

Stoke-on-Trent Central MP Jo Gideon also says she has withdrawn her support for Johnson.

‘Although I came to this conclusion two months ago, I did not publicise my stance in order to ensure that I could continue to press the government to deliver the best for Stoke-on-Trent central.

‘The appalling circumstances surrounding the resignation of the former Deputy Chief Whip seriously call into question again the judgement of the Prime Minister, who not only appointed him to a role where he had direct responsibility for the pastoral care of colleagues, but also sought to justify it.’

Johnson repeats sentiments he expressed in the House of Commons, that it would be irresponsible to walk away from his mandate.

He was responding to a question about whether his continuing tenure in 10 Downing St is in the UK’s best interests.

Welsh Affairs Select Committee chairman Stephen Crabb told the Liaison Committee: “Do you accept, Prime Minister, and forgive me for asking, at a time of such economic crisis for the country, for many families up and down the country, that what the country needs is a Government with the very best team, the very best of focus, absolutely squarely focused on tackling these issues and when you see, Prime Minister, people like John Glen, leaving Government, people like Kemi Badenoch, people like Neil O’Brien, one of the intellectual architects of levelling up, do you not feel Prime Minister the very ability, capacity of this Government to address these enormous overhanging issues is deteriorating as we speak?”

Johnson replied: “The Government is certainly focusing on the issues that matter, and today we are cutting taxes for everybody, about £330 for 30 million people.”

Mike Freer has quit as minister for exports and minister for equalities, telling Boris Johnson “I can no longer defend policies I fundamentally disagree with”.

That’s 32 government members gone.

downing-street-turmoil PA Akshata Murthy, wife of former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, hands out tea to the waiting media outside their home in central London. PA

‘How important is the truth to you, Prime Minister?’

‘Very important.’

Screenshot 2022-07-06 at 16.18.57

In his letter resigning as minister for exports and equalities, Mike Freer cited “an atmosphere of hostility for LGBT+ people”.

“I have been grateful for the opportunity to create focus in exploiting our new exports markets and in working to try and improve the lives of LGBT+ people in the UK. I would also like to thank you for your personal support on many local issues since your days as Mayor of London but, also more personally in your support with my recent security issues.

“However, I feel that we are moving away from the One Nation Conservative party joined, not least in creating an atmosphere of hostility for LGBT+ people and I regret can no longer defend policies I fundamentally disagree with.

Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, having previously voted no confidence in the Prime Minister, has called for Johnson’s resignation

“As I stated following that vote, I had sincerely hoped that the Prime Minister and the Cabinet would reflect on this result closely and act accordingly.

“Unfortunately, since this vote, news has since come to light of allegations of serious misconduct by the then deputy chief whip, and the subsequent knowledge of the Prime Minister prior to his appointment to the position. I want to make clear that as I have said previously on matters relating to the Prime Minister, I will not defend the indefensible.

“I hope that following these further developments, the Prime Minister will take the right and moral step and resign. However, if this is not forthcoming, then I believe it would be an appropriate step for the Parliamentary Party to facilitate another vote of confidence.”

The BBC is reporting that a group of Cabinet ministers are about to tell Johnson to resign.

Wales Secretary Simon Hart has entered Downing Street, as the slew of ministers’ and parliamentary secretaries’ resignations continues.

Another question on the Queen and an election. ‘You’re asking about something that is not going to happen.’

He says history shows that early elections bring ‘pointless political disturbance’.

prime-minister-boris-johnson-appearing-in-front-of-the-liaison-committee-in-the-house-of-commons-london-on-the-subject-of-the-work-of-the-prime-minister-picture-date-wednesday-july-6-2022 Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

According to the BBC, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Chief Whip Chris Heaton-Harris are all to join a delegation telling Johnson to resign.

file-photo-dated-120622-of-the-secretary-of-state-for-northern-ireland-brandon-lewis-a-1-9-million-funding-package-to-support-schools-in-northern-ireland-which-wish-to-transform-to-integrated-statu Alamy Stock Photo Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis Alamy Stock Photo

file-photo-dated-2062022-of-transport-secretary-grant-shapps-the-government-is-being-accused-of-misleading-the-public-by-insisting-it-does-not-have-a-role-in-negotiations-to-resolve-the-bitter-ra Alamy Stock Photo Transport Secretary Grant Shapps Alamy Stock Photo

london-uk-23rd-mar-2022-chris-heaton-harris-chief-whip-arrives-at-a-cabinet-meeting-at-10-downing-street-london-credit-ian-davidsonalamy-live-news Alamy Stock Photo Chief Whip Chris Heaton-Harris Alamy Stock Photo

Committee now telling Johnson about the delegation.

Flustered, Johnson says to ask about what the government is doing to tackle the cost of living or environmental issue.

He says again he will not give a ‘running commentary’ on his future in Downing St.

Another PPS resignation

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Conor McGinn said he understood the Government has adjourned or “effectively cancelled” committee hearings organised for Thursday to consider legislation before Parliament as they are “unable to provide ministers”.

Raising a point of order, he told the Commons: “It seems very much to me that this is a Government that has ceased in its ability to govern.”

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan has arrived at Downing Street.

She broke into a run upon getting out of the car to go through the door of Number 10.

british-chambers-commerce-annual-global-conference PA File image of Anne Marie Trevelyan PA

Johnson being asked by the Liaison Committee to confirm he will not seek a dissolution of parliament (and therefore a general election) if he has to resign.

Liaison Committee has now ended. Eight MPs resigned from government during the meeting.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has also lost confidence in the Prime Minister, according to the Financial Times, and has told the Chief Whip.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has arrived at Downing Street via the side entrance.

platinum-jubilee PA File photo of Priti Patel PA

Another Tory MP says time’s up for Johnson – but he is adamant there should not be an election.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Shaun Bailey, the MP for West Bromwich West, said: ‘It is clear that it is in the interests of the country, of the Conservative Party and for my communities that we need fresh leadership.

‘A new leader is the only way in which we can win the next election and stop the travesty that would be a Labour government.

‘Labour have spent half a century neglecting my communities, I will not allow them the chance to do it again.’

Ruth Edwards, the Tory MP for Rushcliffe, has resigned as parliamentary private secretary at the Scottish Office, stating Boris Johnson’s Government “turned a blind eye to allegations of sexual assault within its own ranks”.

Boris Johnson has arrived at Downing Street via a back entrance.

The Prime Minister entered in a Range Rover shortly after 5pm.

Number of MPs who have resigned from Government now stands at 36.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, a significant ally of Johnson’s, has arrived at Downing St.

Boris Johnson will be advised it would be “inappropriate” to seek a snap general election if there is a Tory leadership contest pending, a senior Conservative MP has told the PA news agency.

The MP, who did not want to be named, said senior officials would advise the Prime Minister that it would put the Queen in a “difficult position” if he requested a dissolution of Parliament.

When asked if the PM’s position was sustainable, Nadine Dorries told reporters on Downing Street: “It is.”

New polling from Ipsos UK said six in ten people support Johnson resigning as Prime Minister.

This includes half of people interviewed who voted Conservative in the 2019 election. 

Two-thirds of people said they lack confidence in the government to run the country properly. 

UK political journalists are now saying that Graham Brady is in the Cabinet office and is expected to see Johnson shortly. 

Brady is chairman of the 1922 Committee.

The committee – the parliamentary group of Tory backbench MPs who are not ministers or ministerial aides – is due to elect a new 18-member executive committee.

Crucially, they have a key role to play in leadership elections, including determining the rules by which a sitting leader can be challenged.

Two more Tory post resignations have come through in the last few minutes. 

David Duguid has resigned as a trade envoy.

In a statement, he said: “In light of recent events, I believe the Prime Minister’s position is now untenable.

“Having indicated my concerns internally earlier this week, it is my intention to stand down from my position as Fisheries Envoy and Trade Envoy for Angola and Zambia.”

James Sunderland also resigned as parliamentary private secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Sky News did the research and said Boris Johnson has suffered more resignations in one day than any UK prime minister in history. 

More information trickling in about Graham Brady, chairman of the Tory 1922 Committee, who was recently seen heading towards Downing Street. 

He is thought to have entered via the side entrance on Whitehall rather than going through the famous black door of No 10.

His presence comes following a meeting of the Committee in Parliament where Tory MPs made their views known about the Prime Minister’s future.

Brady is the keeper of the letters submitted by Conservative MPs calling for the Prime Minister to go.

Timeline piece

My colleague Jane Moore has put together a snapshot of the past week for Boris Johnson, leading up to the disastrous last 24 hours. 

Read her piece if you want to catch up on the Chris Pincher controversy, Johnson’s apology and the two senior ministerial resignations that set the ball rolling. 

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse, a ministerial ally of Boris Johnson, told reporters on his way out of Downing St that it has been a “difficult day”.

For anyone keeping track of Johnson’s remaining Tory allies, he seems to still have the backing of Jacob Rees-Mogg.

A source told PA that the Brexit Opportunities Minister, who is not in Number 10 with Johnson this evening, still supports the Prime Minister.

cabinet-reshuffle Ollie Millington / Rmv File image of Jacob Rees-Mogg outside Downing Street in 2020. Ollie Millington / Rmv / Rmv

Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party Douglas Ross has said that “more and more” of his colleagues now agree that Boris Johnson should resign.

Ross told PA: “I said that, at the no confidence vote two or three weeks ago that I could not in good faith continue to have confidence in him and now we are seeing more and more colleagues have reached the same conclusion.”

Asked who he would back in a Tory leadership election, he said: “We will wait and see.”

On whether he would consider throwing his own hat into the ring, he smiled and said: “No definitely not.”

The Times is now reporting that UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, previously a Johnson supporter, has joined the group of ministers calling for the Prime Minister to leave his post. 

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries remains firmly behind Johnson after the showdown in Downing Street this evening.

But the Guardian’s Peter Walker says she doesn’t look too happy.

Boris is reportedly refusing to resign, arguing that his departure would result in an early election and defeat for the Tory party.

ITV’s Anushka Asthana reports that Johnson told Cabinet colleagues that it was a choice between summer focused on economic growth or chaos of a leadership contest.

PA is now also reporting that Johnson is refusing to quit despite the calls from his Cabinet colleagues.

The news agency says the prime minister is insisting that he would continue to focus on the “hugely important issues facing the country”.

Jacob Young has now become the latest parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to resign.

The MP for Redcar and Cleveland called for Johnson to step aside to “allow the country to move forward”.

“Today you are failing to listen to those most loyal to you. It is out of that same loyalty that I urge you to now step aside, and allow the country to move forward,” Young wrote to the Tory leader.

One parliamentary private secretary who isn’t resigning is James Duddridge.

Duddridge, who is a PPS for Johnson, has told Sky News: “The prime minister is in buoyant mood and will fight on. He has a 14 million mandate and so much to do for the county.”

Duddridge reportedly also said that Johnson is planning a joint announcement tomorrow with Nadhim Zahawi, the new chancellor.

“I expect him to make senior cabinet appointments this evening and am looking forward to hearing what the PM and his fantastic chancellor Nadhim Zahawi have to say tomorrow,” he said.

Change of plan.

Duddridge has now informed Sky News that the economic plan will be unveiled next week.

As the old adage goes, that’s a long time in politics.

Johnson sacks Gove

In another major development, Johnson has now reportedly sacked senior Cabinet member Michael Gove.

The news is being reported by the BBC, the Guardian and Sky News.

Gove – who was Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities – earlier privately urged Johnson to resign.

Hot on the heels of the Gove bombshell there’s another couple of resignations.

David Mundell tweeted that he has quit as UK Trade Envoy to New Zealand after he said he was “disappointed” Boris Johnson had not already stood down.

Meanwhile, James Daly has also stood down as a parliamentary private secretary.

Gove’s booting has prompted another PPS to quit.

Danny Kruger has said he is resigning as parliamentary private secretary in the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities – Gove’s former department.

The Devizes MP tweeted: “Very sorry indeed to hear @michaelgove has been fired by the PM.

“As I told No 10 earlier today it should be the PM leaving office. I am resigning as PPS at @Dluhc”.

Johnson loyalist Nadine Dorries is standing firm.

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has tweeted a message of support for the UK prime minister.

The BBC’s Chris Mason has some background information on the sacking of Michael Gove.

A No 10 source described Gove as a “snake” who “gleefully” told the press that Johnson should resign.

Johnson’s private parliamentary secretary James Duddridge has appeared on Sky News, expressing confidence that the UK leader will be able to appoint new ministers.

“There is plenty of talent within the party. I’m not going to go through the Cabinet reshuffle but I know that there are plenty of people keen, willing and able to serve and will do so under Boris Johnson,” Duddridge said.

Interesting spin coming out of No 10 suggesting that the raft of resignations is a good opportunity to slim down the government.

People can’t quit jobs they never had.

Always look on the bright side.

The situation has calmed down somewhat since Johnson sacked Michael Gove. 

Here’s an early look at a couple of the UK front pages being finalised for tomorrow. 

The Guardian has led with: ‘Desperate, deluded PM clings to power.’

And the Daily Mirror says: ‘Just get exit done.’ 

Another Cabinet minister resigns

Simon Hart has resigned as Secretary of State for Wales, becoming the latest Cabinet minister to leave his post.

In his resignation letter, Hart said he “desperately hoped” he could have avoided writing it but “there seems no other option left”.

He said there was “never a dull moment” as minister in Johnson’s government. 

“Colleagues have done their upmost in private and public to help you turn the ship around, but it is with sadness that I feel we have passed the point where this is possible,” Hart said. 

Some more front pages rolling in. 

The Daily Telegraph leads with: ‘Mortally wounded PM defies Cabinet demands that he quit.’

Sam Coates from Sky News reporting in the last couple of minutes that another Minister of State has handed in his resignation letter. 

Edward Argar, Min of State for Health, said he was “honoured” to serve Johnson “loyally” as Prime Minister, but he believes “with regret, that it is now the time to consider the future”. 

“In that context I fear that a change is needed in order for our Party to continue to deliver on our shared ambitions for our country,” Argar wrote. 

The front page of The Times reports that newly appointed UK Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi has been secretly working with allies of Lynton Crosby on a Tory leadership bid for months.  

Crosby is an Australian political strategist who has worked on previous Conservative party campaigns. 

The UK’s Attorney General Suella Braverman has said she will put her name forward for the Conservative leadership contest in future. 

She said it “pains” her to say that “the time has come for the Prime Minster to step down”. 

Speaking to ITV’s Peston programme, Braverman said it would be her “greatest honour” to serve as UK Prime Minister. 

We’re going to call it a night here after nothing less than an eventful day. 

Check back in with us tomorrow for more live coverage of UK Conservative resignations and Johnson’s fight for political survival. 

Goodnight for now. 

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