Boris Johnson: Resignations exceed 50 but PM stays in post

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Boris Johnson: Resignations exceed 50 but PM stays in post

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, who was given the job two days ago, said the situation was “not sustainable and will only get worse”.

And Education Secretary Michelle Donelan quit, saying Mr Johnson had “put us in an impossible situation”.

But Mr Johnson insists he has a “colossal mandate to keep going”.

The wave of resignations from the government and party exceeded 50 on Thursday, as Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis became the first cabinet member of the day to quit, quickly followed by seven other ministers.

Previously loyal supporters – including Priti Patel and Grant Shapps – urged him to step down on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Suella Braverman has said she will stand in any leadership challenge, although she has not resigned.

In his resignation letter on Thursday, Mr Lewis said: “I have given you, and those around you, the benefit of the doubt.

“I have gone out and defended this government both publicly and privately. We are, however, now past the point of no return.”

Treasury minister Helen Whately, security minister Damian Hinds, science minister George Freeman, pensions minister Guy Opperman, technology minister Chris Philp, and courts’ minister James Cartlidge also then resigned in swift succession.

Taking aim at his critics, the prime minister sacked Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove in a shock move on Wednesday, with a Downing Street source describing Mr Gove as a “snake” who “gleefully briefs the press that he has called for the leader to go”.

Mr Gove, a former ally in the Brexit campaign who then derailed Mr Johnson’s first bid for the Tory leadership, had urged the PM to resign earlier in the day.

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