Boris Johnson is teetering on the brink tonight after Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid both dramatically quit his Cabinet in a seemingly coordinated attack.
The Chancellor and Health Secretary dropped their bombshells on the PM within minutes of each other, shortly after he issued a grovelling apology over his appointment of shamed MP Chris Pincher.
In his resignation letter, Mr Sunak told the PM that ‘we cannot continue like this’.
Acknowledging that he might be waving goodbye to his ministerial career for good, he added: ‘The public rightly expect Government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously.’
Meanwhile, Mr Javid publicly questioned Mr Johnson’s integrity, competence and ability to act in the national interest.
The double-pronged assault leaves the PM struggling desperately to cling on – and waiting anxiously to see if any of his other senior ministers will follow suit.
Deputy PM Dominic Raab, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Home Secretary Priti Patel and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace have declared they will not be resigning.
Notably Michael Gove, who notoriously stabbed Mr Johnson in the back to end his leadership hopes in 2016, does not appear to be jumping ship.
However, there has been an ominous silence so far from others such as Nadhim Zahawi, Therese Coffey.
Mr Johnson has holed up in Downing Street with ultra-loyalist Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries and his Chief Whip Chris Heaton-Harris to consider his next move.
Boris Johnson is teetering on the brink tonight as Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid both dramatically quit his Cabinet within minutes of each other
Mr Johnson returned to Downing Street tonight as he struggles to find a way to survive in office
In his resignation letter (left), Mr Sunak told the PM that ‘we cannot continue like this’. Meanwhile, Mr Javid (right) publicly questioned Mr Johnson’s integrity, competence and ability to act in the national interest
Who’s staying and who’s going in Cabinet?
It appeared Mr Sunak and Mr Javid had heeded calls from Tory rebel MPs – who had been demanding action from Cabinet ministers over the latest sleaze scandal battering Mr Johnson’s Government.
Mr Javid told the PM: ‘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.’
Their double resignation sparked feverish speculation that other members of the Cabinet might soon follow suit in quitting Mr Johnson’s Government.
But Mr Raab, Mr Wallace, Ms Patel and Ms Truss have all indicated they are not walking out.
Environment Secretary George Eustice and Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey have yet to break their silence.
Just moments before tonight’s drama unfolded, the PM acknowledged he should have sacked Mr Pincher when he was told about the claims against him when he was a Foreign Office minister in 2019, but instead Mr Johnson went on to appoint him to other government roles.
Asked if that was an error, the PM said: ‘I think it was a mistake and I apologise for it. In hindsight it was the wrong thing to do.
‘I apologise to everybody who has been badly affected by it. I want to make absolutely clear that there’s no place in this Government for anybody who is predatory or who abuses their position of power.’
Keir Starmer seized on Mr Johnson’s misery and called on more Cabinet members to resign.
The Labour leader said those remain in the Cabinet would be ‘nodding dogs’ if they did not quit. Sir Keir spoke to journalists shortly before news of Rishi Sunak’s resignation broke. Asked if Mr Johnson was a ‘pathological liar,’ he said: ‘Yes, he’s a liar.
‘What we’re seeing this week is a repeat of what we’ve seen so many times, which is Government ministers going out onto the airwaves, giving answers to questions, and no sooner have they finished the media round that the answers they’ve given aren’t accurate because the Prime Minister and Number 10 haven’t been straight with them.
‘That is not this week’s story, although it is this week’s story, it’s every week’s story. It’s on repeat, which is why you see the Conservative Party tearing itself apart today. Should his Cabinet members make sure he leaves office, yes they should. It’s their responsibility, in the national interest, to remove him from office.
‘They know what he’s like, he’s said that he’s psychologically incapable of changing, and therefore they have to do what’s in the national interest and remove him.’
Lord McDonald of Salford gave critics of Mr Johnson further ammunition today when he penned a bombshell letter to a parliamentary watchdog