Northern Ireland secretary resigns as Boris Johnson refuses to quit

Brandon Lewis told the Prime Minister that he would not sacrifice his own personal integrity to defend things as they are now.

Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis resigns as Boris Johnson refuses to quit FlickrFlickr

Latest updates:

  • Follow STV News’ live blog for the all the latest
  • There have been over 50 resignations from the Government since Tuesday
  • Five more resignations were announced by 8am on Thursday morning
  • Michael Gove was sacked as levelling up secretary on Wednesday evening
  • Pensions minister Guy Opperman resigned as he called for Johnson to step down

Brandon Lewis has resigned as Northern Ireland secretary becoming the latest minister to step down from Boris Johnson’s government.

In his letter of resignation, Lewis told the Prime Minister that he had given him the “benefit of the doubt” and defended the Government both “publicly and privately”.

However, he stated that “we are now past the point of no return” as he informed Johnson that he cannot “sacrifice my own personal integrity to defend things as they stand now”.

He added that the Conservative party, parliamentary colleagues and the country “deserve better”, as he told the Prime Minister that it was a matter of “profound regret” for him having to leave the Government.

Minutes after Lewis announced that he was quitting, he was joined by Treasury minister Helen Whately who published her own resignation letter.

She told the Prime Minister that there are “only so many times you can apologise and move on”.

And shortly after 7am on Thursday, security minister Damian Hinds also stated that he would be resigning.

In his letter, he told Johnson: “It shouldn’t take the resignation of dozens of colleagues, but for our country, and trust in our democracy, we must have a change of leadership.”

Following on from Hinds, science minister George Freeman also announced his departure from government.

He told the Prime Minister: “Your leadership, the chaos in No 10, breakdown of Cabinet collective responsibility and collapse of public confidence in government represents a constitutional crisis.”

Pensions minister Guy Opperman also resigned, having served under three successive prime ministers.

“I have given you ample opportunity to show real change,” he wrote to Johnson.

“Sadly, recent events have shown clearly that Government cannot function with you in charge.

“In good faith, and with regret, for the good of the country, I must ask you to stand down.”

The resignations early on Thursday morning heap further pressure on Johnson’s position, with more than 40 ministers and aides having quit the Government since Tuesday.

Westminster was first rocked by the resignations of Sajid Javid as health secretary and Rishi Sunak as chancellor before a cascade of others followed them in leaving their roles.

Michael Gove was also sacked as levelling up secretary on Wednesday evening having reportedly told Johnson to quit.

A delegation of Cabinet ministers also went to No 10 in order to tell the Prime Minister that he should go.

However, Johnson was said to be “buoyant and up for a fight”, according to one of Johnson’s most loyal ministers James Duddridge.