Wednesday, February 21

Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid resign from cabinet

Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak have both quit as ministers in a devastating blow to Boris Johnson.

Javid turned on the PM first, announcing: I have spoken to the prime minister to tender my resignation as secretary of state for health and social care.

It has been an enormous privilege to serve in this role, but I regret that I can no longer continue in good conscience.

Sunak confirmed he was resigning as Chancellor moments later, saying: 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.

Steve Barclay will be promoted to health secretary and replace Javid, it was later confirmed.

Nadhim Zahawi formerly the education secretary was announced as the new chancellor of the exchequer, Downing Street said.

A number of junior ministers also quit, citing reasons including poor leadership and the recent damage to the Conservative Party’s reputation.

It comes as Johnson was embroiled in yet another scandal, after he was accused of lying to cover up his knowledge of allegations of sexual misconduct against Chris Pincher before hiring him as deputy chief whip.

The double resignation leaves the PM in a perilous position amid growing restiveness on the Tory backbenches over Johnson’s disregard for ministerial standards.

Both Sunak and Javid alluded to Johnson’s own conduct in their letters. Sunak suggested the government was not being conducted properly, competently and seriously, as he told Johnson that our approaches are fundamentally too different.

Javid said his decision came on the basis of his conviction that the country needs a strong and principled Conservative Party, which Johnson was not able to offer.