Boris Johnson’s premiership is on the brink of collapse after a string of resignations, including from the chancellor, the health secretary and a number of Conservative ministers and aides.
Here is a list of those who have resigned:
Sunak was long known to have had tensions with the prime minister over the direction of economic policy, arguing for measures to bear down on inflation while Johnson wanted immediate tax cuts. He resigned citing differences of opinion over the economy, but also saying: “The public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously.”
Sunak will now be considered a future leadership contender, with his decision to walk out perhaps winning him back some credibility with colleagues after the furore over his wife’s non-dom tax status. He has been close to resigning on several occasions but had appeared to be trying to make things work, with a joint economic speech pencilled in for the coming weeks.
However, his patience ran out after the latest scandal – the handling of the Chris Pincher affair. As chancellor, he was known for the furlough scheme and quick action to prop up businesses during the pandemic. His low points have been getting a fine over attending the prime minister’s birthday party in lockdown and the criticism over his own and his wife’s tax affairs.
The former chancellor resigned once before over his differences with Boris Johnson, only to be replaced by Sunak. This time he was the first to trigger a walkout, calling Johnson’s competence into question. “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,” he said. “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.”
As health secretary, Javid has focused on trying to fix health inequalities and dealing with the Covid treatment backlog. But his resignation letter concluded he could no longer serve under Johnson. Like Sunak, he will be considered a potential leadership contender to succeed the prime minister, but, like the former chancellor, he has questions over his own former tax affairs, having admitted he was a non-dom for six years before he was an MP.
The children’s minister resigned saying he had “no choice” after he appeared on television to defend Johnson using Downing Street briefings that were not true. His letter said: “Dear prime minister. Thank you for meeting with me yesterday evening and for your sincere apology regarding the briefings I received from No 10 ahead of Monday’s media round, which we now know to be inaccurate.” The Colchester MP is facing a threat from the Lib Dems at the next election.
The solicitor general for England and Wales stepped down from his role after weeks on resignation watch. The Cheltenham MP will be defending a marginal seat against the Lib Dems. He said: “Government duty cannot extend to ‘defending the indefensible’.” Chalk wrote that the “cumulative effect of the Owen Paterson debacle, Partygate and now the handling of the former deputy chief whip’s resignation, is that public confidence in the ability of No 10 to uphold the standards of candour expected of a British government has irretrievable broken down”.
The MP for Sevenoaks is a rising star from the 2019 intake who resigned as a parliamentary aide to the transport secretary, Grant Shapps. She is a former special adviser to David Cameron, and stepped down saying: “Trust in politics is – and must always be – of the utmost importance, but sadly in recent months this has been lost.”
The vice-chair of the Conservatives in effect resigned from his position live on TalkTV, saying he had lost confidence in the prime minister and would be stepping down from his role. He said: “I think what’s been very sad over the recent allegations about the former deputy chief whip and other things that have happened over the last few weeks is that I just don’t think the PM has any longer, not just my support, but I don’t think the support of party, or indeed the country, any more … it has become clear after losing the support of two of his closest cabinet colleagues that the time has come for him to stand down.”
Gullis has been one of Johnson’s staunchest supporters in the Commons, but even he stepped down as a parliamentary private secretary to the Northern Ireland secretary. He said the Conservatives had been too focused on reputational damage over governing. “It is for this reason I can no longer serve as part of your government,” he said.
The parliamentary private secretary to the health secretary quit saying his conscience would not allow him to continue to support this administration. He resigned his role with a statement saying that “recent events have undermined trust and standards in public life”.
Richards, another parliamentary private secretary to the Department for Transport, quit saying: “At a time where my constituents are worried about the cost of living and I am doing my best to support them, I cannot bring myself to serve as a PPS under the current circumstances, where the focus is skewed by poor judgment that I don’t wish to be associated with.”
Crosbie resigned as parliamentary private secretary at the Wales Office, saying Johnson’s continued premiership risked “irrevocably harming this government”. She wrote that she was “forced to say the sheer number of allegations of impropriety and illegality” centred around Downing Street and Johnson’s premiership made his position untenable. “I am of the view that if you continue in office then you risk irrevocably harming this government, and the Conservative party and will hand the keys of Downing Street to a Labour party unfit to govern.”
Murrison, a former defence minister, stepped down as a trade envoy to Morocco with concerns that he could no longer defend the prime minister. He said the “last straw in the rolling chaos of the past six months” was “the unjustifiable implication of Lord McDonald’s letter to the parliamentary committee for standards this morning.
“Others must square, as best they can, their continuing enjoyment of your patronage with their personal sense of decency, honour and integrity but I no longer can,” he added.
Another 2019 MP, Clarke is a niece of Jacob Rees-Mogg and was a trade envoy to Kenya. She stepped down from that role citing concerns over how sexual harassment allegations were handled. “As one of the party’s new female MPs and a member of the women and equalities select committee, I take allegations of sexual misconduct very seriously,” she said. “To learn that you chose to elevate a colleague to a position of pastoral care for MPs, whilst in full knowledge of his own wrongdoing, shows a severe lack of judgment and care for your parliamentary party. I was shocked to see colleagues defending the government with assurances that have turned out to be false.”
The schools minister resigned saying the government had been “overshadowed by mistakes and questions about integrity”. In his resignation letter, he said: “Recent events have made it clear to me that our great party, for which I have campaigned all of my adult life, has become distracted from its core missions by a relentless focus on questions over leadership.”
The loss of Sunak and Javid reflected “a worrying narrowing of the broad church that I believe any Conservative government should seek to achieve”, he added.
The MP for Kensington has resigned from her role as parliamentary private secretary to the business secretary. In a letter posted to Twitter, she said “the current situation is untenable”.
The MP for Salisbury has resigned as a Treasury minister, saying Johnson’s “poor judgment” made it “impossible for me to square continued service with my conscience”. “After much thought and with deep regret, I must inform you that I have made the difficult decision to resign from the government,” he wrote.
The MP for Louth and Horncastle has resigned as a justice minister, telling Johnson: “I can no longer pirouette around our fractured values.” She added: “We can and must be better than this.”
The MP for Bury St Edmunds since 2015 resigned as an environment minister, criticising Johnson’s “jocular, self-serving” approach to leadership. In her resignation letter, she wrote: “Recent events have shown integrity, competence, and judgment are all essential to the role of prime minister, while a jocular self-serving approach is bound to have its limitations.
“Our beloved country is facing an uncertain future and strong headwinds, a clear, selfless vision is needed. The country and party deserve better and so with a heavy heart I have decided to resign.”
The MP for Pudsey resigned as a junior housing minister, saying “our party, particularly our members and more importantly our great country, deserve better”. In a tweet, he said: “There comes a time when you have to look at your own personal integrity and that time is now.
The MP for East Surrey has resigned as a parliamentary private secretary to the Treasury. Writing on Facebook, she said: “I firmly believe that what we need now, as we deal with the twin challenges of war in Europe and global inflation, is a laser-like grip on reforming our public services so that they work better for our constituents and focus on charting a path to prosperity through what is an increasingly challenging global outlook. I think the events of recent weeks and months are preventing us from doing that.”
The MP for North Devon has resigned as a parliamentary private secretary to George Eustice, the environment secretary, saying “trust, truth and integrity” were vital in politics.
Mims Davies has resigned as employment minister, saying the Conservative party needs a “fresh start”.
In a tweet, the Mid Sussex MP said: “I have tendered my resignation from the government from a role I have cherished for the last three years. I thank everyone @DWP from bottom of my heart for all their work, friendship & support. But Conservatives needs a fresh start & I can see no other way forward than this.”
Five ministers resigned at once, signing a joint resignation letter saying “it has become increasingly clear that the government cannot function given the issues that have come to light”. The five are: Kemi Badenoch, the equalities minister; Neil O’Brien, the levelling up minister; Alex Burghart, the skills minister; Lee Rowley, the business minister, and Julia Lopez, the minister for media, data and digital infrastructure.
The MP for Montgomeryshire, Craig Williams said he is resigning as parliamentary private secretary to the chancellor of the exchequer. In a letter posted to Twitter, he said: “After the recent vote of confidence, I had given my support to you, with one last benefit of the doubt. I believed it was right that we draw a line under previous events and focus on rebuilding trust with the public and focusing on delivering good policies. It has now become apparent over recent days, that this is becoming impossible. It is therefore with deep regret that I resign from your government.”
Duncan Baker has resigned as a parliamentary private secretary in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
In a statement on Facebook, the MP for North Norfolk said: “In my short time as the MP for North Norfolk, I have spoken out time and time again on matters relating to integrity, leadership and trust. I must remain true to my values and principles. I have felt for a considerable while that the situation cannot go on. I do not have confidence in the prime minister and resign my role as a PPS in the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.”
The MP resigned as a parliamentary aide in the Northern Ireland Office, saying the party needed to accept the reality staring it in the face. He said there was only so much that his constituents and the public “to accept or ignore”.
The parliamentary private secretary to the leader of the House of Commons issued a half-resignation, saying she would step down if the prime minister is not gone by Thursday.
The MP resigned as a minister for safeguarding in the Home Office saying she could not make progress with her job while Johnson remains in office. Maclean said he should resign for the good of the country and party.
Freer resigned as minister for exports and equalities saying: “I can no longer defend policies I fundamentally disagree with.” He also said the party was moving too far away from one-nation conservatism. He also accused the government of “creating an atmosphere of hostility for LGBT+ people”.