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British PM, Johnson Fights For Political Survival, As Two Top Ministers Resign

Boris Johnson is fighting for political survival after two of his top ministers attacked his leadership and resigned.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid quit within 10 minutes of each other, followed by a flurry of junior ministers and aides.

New chancellor Nadhim Zahawi has urged his colleagues to unite and said Mr Johnson was focused on delivery.

But Mr Johnson has been hit by further resignations, as he prepares for PMQs and grilling by senior MPs later.

Will Quince, who was sent out to defend No 10’s appointment of Chris Pincher as deputy chief whip, has resigned as an education minister.

Meanwhile, Sevenoaks MP Laura Trott has also quit as a ministerial aide at the transport department, saying the government has lost trust.

Mr Johnson has Prime Minister’s Questions at noon and is also due to give evidence to senior MPs on the Liaison Committee later.

Mr Zahawi, who becomes the fourth chancellor in three years, was appointed alongside the prime minister’s chief of staff, Steve Barclay, who became health secretary.

A No 10 source said the new chancellor was “more dynamic and more aligned” with Mr Johnson, and described the new health secretary as a “massive upgrade”.

Bim Afolami – who quit as vice-chair of the Conservative party live on TV on Tuesday evening – said Downing Street’s handling of the Chris Pincher affair had been “really appalling” and he could no longer “defend that sort of behaviour”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he supported Mr Johnson in his recent confidence vote in order to give him time to rebuild trust after Partygate, but things had “got a lot worse” in recent weeks.

Neither Mr Javid nor Mr Sunak have publicly spoken since standing down, but their resignation letters on Tuesday were highly critical of the PM.

Mr Javid warned the leadership was not “acting in the national interest”, while Mr Sunak said the public expected government to be conducted “properly, competently and seriously”.

Opposition party leaders urged cabinet ministers to join the pair and resign, and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he was ready for a snap general election.

Tory MP and former chief whip, Andrew Mitchell, told BBC Newsnight it was “over” for Mr Johnson, saying “he has neither the character nor the temperament to be our prime minister” – and the only question was how long the affair would go on.

But the PM cannot be ousted from his post under the current Conservative Party rules, and several ministers have rallied around the PM, including Foreign Secretary Liz Truss – one potential contender to replace him as Tory leader.

She said she was “100% behind the PM”, while cabinet ministers including Dominic Raab, Michael Gove, Therese Coffey and Ben Wallace also indicated they would be staying in the government.

Tory backbencher Daniel Kawczynski suggested the resignations would ultimately strengthen Mr Johnson’s position, adding they “could have triggered an avalanche against the prime minister but it hasn’t”.

Source: BBC

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