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Boris Johnson told to quit by senior ministers Michael Gove and Chris Heaton-Harris

  • Boris Johnson has been told to quit by two senior ministers, amid a wave of resignations, sources say.
  • One resignation letter was signed by five ministers, including rising stars and Johnson allies.
  • Michael Gove, the levelling up secretary, and chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris have given the “brutal” message.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been told he should resign by two senior ministers, following the resignations of multiple members of his government. 

Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak on Tuesday night quit their roles as health secretary and chancellor, respectively, triggering a wave of resignations from more junior colleagues, including the solicitor general Alex Chalk. The mass resignations from Johnson’s cabinet and government have mounted to at least 29 as of Wednesday. 

In one of the more eyebrow-raising moments, five ministers signed a joint resignation letter, including Alex Burghart, an education minister and Johnson’s former aide, and rising stars Kemi Badenoch and Neil O’Brien. 

The letter said the “government cannot function” in its current state.

—Kemi Badenoch (@KemiBadenoch) July 6, 2022

 

Behind the scenes, sources told Insider that chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris had told the prime minister he had to leave. 

One MP said Johnson “hasn’t got much choice” but to stand down in the wake of the multiple ministerial resignations, adding “but who knows. He’s delusional.”

Others said Michael Gove, the levelling up secretary who campaigned closely alongside Johnson for Vote Leave, had delivered the same “brutal” message. 

That move has prompted some amusement among Conservative MPs, noting that Gove had previously torpedoed Johnson’s Tory leadership bid in the wake of the Brexit vote back in 2016. 

The pair have been seen as “frenemies” ever since, sources said. 

Meanwhile, David Canzini, the deputy chief of staff, and Conor Burns, Northern Ireland minister and a staunch Johnson ally, were seen deep in discussion in Portcullis House, Parliament’s open-plan meeting and dining area.  

Johnson is due to appear before the Liaison Committee of senior MPs on Wednesday afternoon. 

At the same time as he faces a grilling, the executive of the backbench 1922 committee is holding an extraordinary meeting. 

The executive, which numbers several critics of Johnson, is expected to warn that he will face a second confidence vote imminently if he does not step down, sources said. 


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