Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid resign over Johnson admission

High profile ministers stand down moments after Boris Johnson admitted he was aware of misconduct allegations surrounding Chris Pincher in 2019.

Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid resign from roles as chancellor and health secretary Flickr
Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid have resigned.

Latest updates:

  • The vast majority Boris Johnson’s cabinet remains in place, including key members like foreign secretary Liz Truss, home secretary Priti Patel and deputy PM Dominic Raab
  • Steve Barclay and Nadim Zahawi have been appointed health secretary and chancellor respectively on a chaotic evening for Boris Johnson’s government
  • Michelle Donelan steps into Zahawi’s vacated post as education secretary
  • Johnson thanked Sunak and Javid for their service. He said he was ‘sorry’ to see Sunak leave the cabinet
  • 1922 committee set to meet Wednesday to discuss next steps as MP Andrew Bridgen warns more cabinet resignations are coming unless Johnson stands down
  • Four further Tory MPs stand down from a variety of roles, including Conservative party vice-chairman Bim Afolami, who resigned live on Talk TV
  • Nadine Dorries, Alister Jack and Jacob Rees-Mogg all declare their support for Johnson
  • Nicola Sturgeon says ‘the end might be nigh’ for Johnson after the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford called for the PM to resign
  • Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid have resigned from their posts as chancellor and health secretary over Boris Johnson handling of misconduct claims against Chris Pincher

Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid have dramatically quit as chancellor and health secretary respectively in a major blow to Boris Johnson’s leadership.

The pair submitted stinging resignation letters on Tuesday moments after the Prime Minister admitted he knew about complaints over sexual misconduct relating to former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher dating back to 2019.

Both called for “strong” and “trustworthy” leadership at the top of government following the televised interview, in which Johnson apologised for not sacking the MP.

Pincher quit as deputy chief whip last week following claims that he groped two men at a private members’ club – however, Johnson admitted he made a “grave mistake” in appointing him to the office in February this year.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the “end might be nigh” for Johnson, adding “the whole rotten lot need to go,” while the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford said the wave of resignations spelled “the end” for Johnson’s time as PM.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called on more cabinet ministers to “step up” and resign, accusing the Conservative party of “tearing itself apart”.

Sunak, who had been due to make a joint economic speech with Johnson next week, said “it has become clear to me that our approaches are fundamentally too different”.

He wrote: “To leave ministerial office is a serious matter at any time. For me to step down as Chancellor while the world is suffering the economic consequences of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and other serious challenges is a decision that I have not taken lightly.

“However, the public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously. 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.”

In accepting his resignation, Johnson said he was “sorry” to see Sunak depart the cabinet, praising his “outstanding service to the country through the most challenging period for our economy in peacetime history”.

“I have enormously valued your advice and deep commitment to public service and will miss working with you in government,” he concluded.

Sunak’s departure was confirmed just minutes after Javid also posted his resignation letter on social media.

He said the British people “expect integrity from their government”

He wrote: “The tone you set as 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.”

Mr Johnson noted Mr Javid’s work to tackle Covid backlogs and other plans for the health service, and vowed that “the Government will continue to deliver on them”.

“You will be greatly missed, and I look forward to your contribution from the backbenches,” he added.

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen warned more cabinet ministers would resign and Johnson “would be shown the door”.

Four further MPs have quit a variety of roles in the hours since the double-resignation. Bim Afolami, the party’s vice-chairman, stood down during a live interview on Talk TV, while Andrew Murrison stood down from his role as special trade envoy to Morocco.

Jonathan Gullis resigned his role as parliamentary private secretary to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and Saqib Bhatti quit as parliamentary private secretary to the health secretary.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab and Home Secretary Priti Patel are not expected to stand down, however.

Secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport Nadine Dorries, minister for Brexit opportunities Jacob Rees-Mogg and Scottish secretary Alister Jack have all thrown their support behind the PM.

Blackford accused Tory MP’s of “acting out of self-interest,” insisting Johnson’s departure should have been sealed “months ago”.

He added: “Westminster is in constant crisis. Whoever replaces Boris Johnson, Scotland will still be stuck with a Tory government we didn’t vote for imposing Brexit, austerity cuts and damaging policies we don’t support.

“The only way to protect Scotland’s interests is to become an independent country and escape Westminster control for good.”

Labour leader Starmer said it was clear “the government was collapsing” around Johnson as he urged previous allies of the PM “not to be nodding dogs”.

He said: “After all the sleaze, the scandals and the failure, it’s clear that this Government is now collapsing. Tory cabinet ministers have known all along who this Prime Minister is.

“They have been complicit every step of the way as he has disgraced his office and let down his country. If they had a shred of integrity they would have gone months ago.

“The British public will not be fooled. The Tory party is corrupted and changing one man won’t fix that.

“Only a real change of government can give Britain the fresh start it needs.”