UK prime minister rocked by key cabinet resignations

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By Agencies

LONDON: Rishi Sunak has resigned as chancellor and Sajid Javid has quit as health secretary, both in protest against Boris Johnson’s leadership.

The former Cabinet ministers told the PM they had lost confidence in him.

The ex-chancellor wrote: “The public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously.”I recognise this may be my last ministerial job, but I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning.”

Mr Javid said the public had concluded the government is neither popular nor competent and “this situation will not change under your leadership and you have therefore lost my confidence”.

In his letter to the PM, the health secretary told Mr Johnson that the British people “rightly expect integrity from their government”.

He said the recent vote of confidence was a “moment for humility, grip and new direction”.

He wrote: “The tone you set as leader, and the values you represent, reflect on your colleagues, your party and ultimately the country.

“Conservatives at their best are seen as hard-headed decision makers, guided by strong values. We may not have always been popular, but we have been competent in acting in the national interest.

“Sadly, in the current circumstances, the public are concluding that we are now neither.”

The resignations may come as a potentially fatal blow for Prime Minister Johnson, who has been fighting to extinguish the flames of repeated scandals for months.

The latest controversy surrounds an MP, Chris Pincher, who he appointed as his deputy chief whip, despite being aware of previous allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

He apologised on Tuesday, saying he regretted appointing the MP, but after days of denials that he was aware of the accusations, it could be too little too late.

The Pincher controversy follows a vote of no confidence, which he only just survived just one month ago.

Dozens of Backbench MPs agreed they wanted to replace him due to his handling of the Partygate scandal, which resulted in him being fined by police for breaking his own coronavirus laws.

But he scraped through, telling his Conservative colleagues there would be a shake up in Number 10 aimed at instilling discipline.

However it appears Mr Javid and Mr Sunak have decided that was not enough to keep them under his employment.

Their resignations come following that of Oliver Dowden as Conservative Party chairman, who quit in protest at two recent by-election defeats.