Chancellor Rishi Sunak and health secretary Sajid Javid have resigned from Boris Johnson’s government.
The chancellor, who quit moments after Mr Javid, said: “The public rightly expects government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously. I recognize this may be my last ministerial job, but I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning. “
In his letter to the PM, Mr Javid said he could “no longer, in good conscience, continue serving in this government” as he referenced the tone and values of Mr Johnson reflecting “on your colleagues, your party and ultimately the country”.
He added: “It is clear to me that this situation will not change under your leadership – and you have therefore lost my confidence too.”
‘Very, very grave for Boris Johnson’: Double blow for Johnson – Politics live
The pair’s resignations came minutes after Mr Johnson gave an interview admitting he should not have appointed MP Chris Pincher as deputy chief whip in February after claims the MP groped two men last week.
Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen, who has publicly called for Mr Johnson to go over the past few months, told Sky News the fact ministers were briefed to tell the media this morning the PM did not know about a previous allegation against Mr Pincher – when he did – was what pushed them over the edge.
“I and a lot of the party are determined he [Mr Johnson] should be gone by summer recess, “Mr Bridgen added.
As the most senior person in government after the prime minister, Mr Sunak’s resignation is a big blow to Mr Johnson while Mr Javid, who ran against Mr Johnson in the leadership election, has played a major role during the pandemic.
Sky News understands the pair had not coordinated their resignations but Mr Sunak may have already been preparing to step down and was prompted to this evening by Mr Javid’s announcement.
There is a view by some MPs that they quit to launch their own leadership bids as they expect Mr Johnson will have to step down, despite the PM insisting on previous occasions he would be staying.
Read more: Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid’s resignation letters in full
Mr Sunak and Mr Javid’s decisions come a week after Oliver Dowden quit as Conservative Party chairman following major defeats in by-elections in Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton. He cited voters being “distressed and disappointed by recent events” as his reason for quitting.
Following the two resignations today, several cabinet ministers have told Sky News they will not be quitting. They include: Justice Secretary Dominic Raab, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, Home Secretary Priti Patel, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, Housing Secretary Michael Gove, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Attorney General Suella Braverman, International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Brexit Opportunities Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg, Scotland Secretary Alister Jack and Wales Secretary Simon Hart.
Mr Javid added in his letter: “It is with enormous regret that I must tell you that I can no longer, in good conscience, continue serving in this government. I am instinctively a team player but the British people also rightly expect integrity from their government.
“The tone you set as a leader, and the values you represent, reflect on your colleagues, your party and ultimately the country.
“Conservatives at their best are seen as hard-headed decision-makers, guided by strong values. We may not have always been popular, but we have been competent in acting in the national interest.
“Sadly, in the current circumstances, the public are concluding that we are now neither.
“The vote of confidence last month showed that a large number of our colleagues agree. It was a moment for humility, grip and new direction. I regret to say, however, that it is clear to me that this situation will not change under your leadership – and you have therefore lost my confidence too. “