- Welsh secretary Simon Hart becomes fourth cabinet minister to resign from Boris Johnson’s government.
- Michael Gove sacked as levelling up, housing and communities secretary after joining faction of MPs calling for Johnson’s removal as PM.
- More than 40 people have now resigned from government over his handling of the Chris Pincher scandal.
- Johnson is said to be ‘refusing’ to step down despite overwhelming demand for his resignation.
Boris Johnson has sacked Michael Gove from cabinet after reportedly refusing to quit as Prime Minister amid a slew of resignations from his government.
The Prime Minister has wielded the axe on the levelling up, housing and communities secretary on a day in which he faced widespread scorn from the House of Commons and the parliamentary liaison committee.
The PM was said to be “clinging on” to power in the wake of almost 40 resignations over his handling of the Chris Pincher scandal.
Former chancellor Rishi Sunak and ex-health secretary Sajid Javid lit the touch paper for a slew of Tory MPs to air their views of “no confidence” against Johnson on Wednesday with the likes of home secretary Priti Patel and Nadhim Zahawi, who was only appointed to replace Sunak yesterday, backing his departure.
However, several outlets have now reported the PM is “refusing” to walk away from his position, citing “hugely important issues facing the country”.
Gove was among the cohort of MPs urging Johnson’s resignation and was spotted on the phone outside the Commons while Prime Minister’s Questions was ongoing.
Late on Wednesday, secretary of state for Wales Simon Hart also resigned from the cabinet.
In total, 41 people have resigned from a variety of positions while some of his previously prominent allies have since renounced their support for his tenure in the top job.
David Mundell, the MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale and former Scottish secretary, was latest to stand down from his role on Wednesday evening.
Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the influential 1922 committee, is reportedly among those backing his departure.
The committee is due to elect new members in the coming days, which could lead to a change in rules allowing for a second no confidence vote to take place within 12 months.
Johnson refused to entertain calls for a general election and told MPs at the liaison committee he would “of course” remain PM, adding he was fully focused on “getting on with the job he was elected to do”.
Pressed by the committee chair Sir Bernard Jenkin, Johnson claimed it would be “irresponsible” to “walk away” during war in Ukraine and the rapidly mounting cost of living crisis.
But there have been constant calls for his departure with many describing his position as “untenable” after he admitted to being aware of sexual misconduct allegations surrounding former deputy chief whip Pincher as far back as 2019.
He also failed to deny reports Michael Gove had advised him to stand down on Wednesday morning.
Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross was among those who demanded Johnson’s departure – though the PM still found time to write a letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon denying her request for a transfer of power to hold a second independence referendum.
At PMQ’s, Johnson said the “colossal mandate” he had been handed by voters in 2019 means he should keep going despite the “difficult circumstances” he faces.
The PM stayed in the Commons chamber as former health secretary Javid set out the reasons for his resignation, saying Mr Johnson was not going to change and “enough is enough”.
Mr Javid said: “Treading the tightrope between loyalty and integrity has become impossible in recent months.
“I will never risk losing my integrity.”
He added: “The problem starts at the top and I believe that is not going to change”.