Chancellor Rishi Sunak and health secretary Sajid Javid have resigned from Boris Johnson’s government.
The chancellor, who quit moments after Mr Javid, said: “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.”
In his letter to the PM, Mr Javid said he could “no longer, in good conscience, continue serving in this government” as he referenced the tone and values of Mr Johnson reflecting “on your colleagues, your party and ultimately the country”.
The pair’s resignations came minutes after Mr Johnson gave an interview admitting he should not have appointed MP Chris Pincher as deputy chief whip in February after claims the MP groped two men last week.
As the most senior person in government after the prime minister, Mr Sunak’s resignation is a big blow to Mr Johnson and Mr Javid, who ran against Mr Johnson in the leadership election, has played a major role during the pandemic.
Following their resignations, several cabinet minister said they will not be doing so. They include: Justice Secretary Dominic Raab, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, Home Secretary Priti Patel, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
Mr Javid added in his letter: “It is with enormous regret that I must tell you that I can no longer, in good conscience, continue serving in this government. I am instinctively a team player but the British people also rightly expect integrity from their government.
“The tone you set as a 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 vote of confidence last month showed that a large number of our colleagues agree. It was a moment for humility, grip and new direction. I regret to say, however, that it is clear to me that this situation will not change under your leadership – and you have therefore lost my confidence too.”