Johnson’s woes deepen as another Cabinet minister resigns

·3-min read

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis has resigned from the Cabinet, piling further pressure on the embattled Prime Minister.

Mr Lewis told Boris Johnson the Government requires “honesty, integrity and mutual respect” and it is “now past the point of no return”,

His resignation early on Thursday came just hours after former Johnson ally Suella Braverman, the Attorney General, also publicly urged the Prime Minister to go.

Mr Johnson rejected calls to quit on Wednesday and dramatically sacked Cabinet rival Michael Gove.

He was later hit with the departure of a third Cabinet minister – Welsh Secretary Simon Hart.

Mr Johnson met ministers in No 10 on Wednesday, where he was told he has lost the confidence of the Conservative Party and should not continue in office – but refused to listen.

Mr Gove is thought to have told the Prime Minister on Wednesday morning that it is time for him to quit.

That was followed by a delegation of Cabinet ministers telling Mr Johnson he should stand down after losing the trust of his MPs.

They included Home Secretary Priti Patel, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, Northern Ireland Secretary Mr Lewis and Welsh Secretary Mr Hart.

Allies including Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries and Brexit Opportunities Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg remained supportive of the Prime Minister.

Helen Whately, MP for Faversham and Mid Kent, also quit the Government early on Thursday.

Resigning from her role as a Treasury minister, she said: “I have argued that you should continue as Prime Minister many times in recent months, but there are only so many times you can apologise and move on. That point has been reached.”

Damian Hinds also quit as security minister, telling Mr Johnson there had been a “serious erosion” in standards in public life and “faith in our democracy and public administration”.

He said on Twitter: “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.”

Science minister George Freeman wrote to the Prime Minister to say he no longer had confidence in his leadership.

While he did not explicitly say he was resigning, his letter made clear to Mr Johnson that “the chaos in your Cabinet and No 10 this month is destroying our credibility” and “it can’t go on”.

Because of his refusal to resign, Mr Johnson faces the prospect of another confidence vote, orchestrated by the Tory 1922 Committee of backbench MPs.

A new executive for the committee will be elected next Monday and could change the leadership rules, allowing for another confidence vote just a month after the last one – which the Prime Minister may lose given the way MPs have deserted him since Tuesday.