Boris Johnson on the brink after Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid leave UK cabinet
Boris Johnson took power on Tuesday night after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid abruptly resigned from the British Prime Minister’s cabinet within minutes of each other.
Some lower-ranking government members also dropped out, with many Tory MPs believing the ministerial mutiny could signal the end of Johnson.
But there was relief in Downing Street when several other senior figures – including deputy prime minister Dominic Raab, foreign secretary Liz Truss, defense minister Ben Wallace and promotion secretary Michael Gove – said they would stay again.
Johnson immediately began reshuffled his cabinet. Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi has naming new prime minister. Steve Barclay, former Treasury Secretary and now Johnson’s chief of staff, replaced Javid as health secretary.
Alex Chalk, the attorney general, is the third minister to leave the Johnson government. In his letter to the prime minister, he said that “the ability of Number 10 to set UK government standards has been irretrievably broken”.
Several assistant ministers, or private secretary of parliament, have resigned from government, including Jonathan Gullis, a staunch Johnson supporter who worked as PPS for the Northern Ireland secretary, and Saqib Bhatti, who has followed in the boss’s footsteps. Javid leaves the health department. Bim Afolami, vice-chairman of the Tory party, also resigned live on television.
Many Conservative MPs believe Johnson’s prime ministership is its coming to an end. Last month, more than 40% of MPs expressed distrust of their leader and unity in the cabinet was broken.
Sunak and Javid criticized the prime minister’s behavior“The public really expects the government to be run properly, competently and seriously,” Sunak said in an outraged resignation letter.
On a day when Johnson’s honesty was called into question, Sunak suggested that the prime minister was prepared to mislead voters about the predicament facing the economy and the need for “those difficult decisions”.
“I believe the public is ready to hear the truth,” he said, adding that Johnson and he “fundamentally” disagree on economic policy. “Our people know that if something is too good to be true, it is not.”
Tory loyal MPs said Johnson had told them he was now more likely to propose an early tax cut, a policy popular with right-wing Tory supporters but Sunak fears could boost inflation when prices rise to double digits.
Johnson also wants to reverse corporate tax increase plan from 19% to 25% next year, a move opposed by Sunak, who believes the increase is necessary to fix public finances.
Sunak’s resignation comes minutes after his old friend Javid quit. In his letter, Javid said: “The tone you set as a leader, the values you stand for, reflect on your colleagues, your party and ultimately the country. “.
Sunak and Javid’s resignation after being forced to leave Disgraced former deputy sheriff Chris Pincher last week following allegations that he groped two men while drunk at a private members’ club.
Downing Street insisted for days that Johnson had not been informed of “specific allegations” of Pincher’s misconduct in the past. On Tuesday, Johnson admitted that he was briefed on the charges in 2019 – but forgot about it. One minister said: “It is an absolute disgrace.
With ministers unwilling to defend him publicly, the prime minister gave an interview to the BBC before stepping down, where he apologized for appointing Pincher as deputy whip general in February. “With hindsight, it was a mistake,” he said.
But when Johnson’s belated apology was broadcast, Javid announced that he was leaving. The Health Secretary, who previously resigned as prime minister in 2020 following a power struggle with Number 10, believes he can be a unifying figure as a future Tory leader.
Javid said in his resignation letter: “Last month’s vote of confidence showed that a large number of our colleagues agree. It is a moment for humility, restraint, and new direction. However, I regret to say that it is clear to me that this situation will not change under your leadership.”
Sunak’s allies insist that the two’s resignations were uncoordinated but their departure from the cabinet now means Johnson has two potential leadership rivals in the backseat.
The former prime minister said that he and Johnson had “fundamentally different” approaches to the economy. A joint economic speech proposed by the two has proven impossible to agree.
A ministerial ally of Sunak said the main difference between the outgoing prime minister and the prime minister was that “one is a sound, the other a clown”.
Markets will be watching for signals on what a change of prime minister will mean for future economic policyincluding the possibility that a more accommodative fiscal regime could force the Bank of England to raise interest rates more quickly.
Several Conservative MPs called for Johnson to step down on Tuesday night. Next week, the party will elect a new executive board of the 1922 backbench committee, which sets the rules for leadership contests.
A group of anti-Johnson candidates are expected to push for a change to party rules to allow another early vote of no confidence in the prime minister. Current rules say such a vote can only take place every 12 months.
Sir Keir Starmer, Labor leader, said: “After all the bad, scandals and failures, it is clear that this government is falling apart.” “A house of cards built on lies and deception will fall,” said Sir Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party.