UPDATED, 1:37 PM PT: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has sacked one of his closest allies, Michael Gove, after the Levelling Up Secretary was one of a clutch of cabinet ministers calling on Johnson to go, while more than 40 have now resigned.
As of this evening in the UK, Johnson is clinging onto power as his government crumbles around him.
There have been 41 resignations, most of which are junior ministers triggered by the departures of big beasts Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid last night, while a number of other cabinet ministers are reported to have attended Johnson’s 10 Downing Street home and urged him to step down.
Gove is reported to have asked him to make way earlier today, before Johnson faced Labour leader Keir Starmer in a bruising Prime Minister’s Questions at 12 PM BST (4AM PT).
Johnson is insisting he remains Prime Minister and the prospect of a dissolution of UK parliament and early General Election has been floated. It is possible that so many ministers will have resigned that it will be literally impossible for Johnson to run the government, in which case a General Election becomes likely.
Gove has been one of Johnson’s closest confidants in the past and his role was seen as one of the most important in government, involving delivering on one of Johnson’s key agendas, to ‘level up’ the country in many of the areas that voted for him in 2019.
Culture secretary Nadine Dorries, the architect of Channel 4 privatization, is sticking staunchly by Johnson, tweeting in the past hour that “the PM’s priority is to stabilise the government, set a clear direction for the country and continue to deliver on the promises he made and the British public voted for.”
PREVIOUSLY, 6:05 AM PT: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson continues to teeter on the edge as the resignations continue to flood in in protest over his leadership.
The number of resignations from ministers in his government now stands at 20 and there is no sign of let-up. The previous highest number of resignations within 24 hours was 11 back in 1932, according to the Telegraph.
The under-fire leader vowed to continue this morning during a brutal Prime Minister’s Questions session in the UK parliament, which included his erstwhile Health Secretary Sajid David calling on more members of his cabinet to take action against the PM.
Many politicians and most political analysts now agree that it is only a matter of time before Johnson is toppled following a string of scandals and widespread disapproval of his lax standards.
UK media is in over-drive covering the fast-breaking updates, with radio, TV stations, social media and news sites packed full of the political drama.
On Tuesday two top cabinet ministers resigned in protest at his handling of allegations of misconduct against a prominent Conservative Party lawmaker.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid posted resignation letters within minutes of one another.
Javid wrote: “It is with enormous regret that I must tell you that I can no longer, in good conscience, continue serving in this government.”
Sunak said the public expected its government to “to be conducted properly, competently and seriously.”
There has been growing condemnation and disarray within the UK’s right-leaning Conservative Party over Johnson’s handling of a series of incidents of misconduct within its ranks.
In the latest case, Johnson has been forced to apologize about keeping former Conservative party whip Chris Pincher in his post following allegations of sexual misconduct.
The resignations of Javid and Sunak are particularly significant because both ministers have remained loyal to Johnson throughout the different scandals, including the damaging Partygate affair, when Downing Street held multiple parties during the Covid lockdown. The UK is also in the middle of a cost of living crisis due to record inflation and ongoing fallout from the pandemic and Brexit.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, one of the architects of Channel 4 privatization, has remained loyal to Johnson throughout.
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