Sajid Javid has called on his former cabinet colleagues to oust Boris Johnson, telling the Commons he had quit because he had concluded that the PM was “the problem” and would not change.
Having resigned as health secretary on Tuesday evening, Mr Javid told MPs that the prime minister’s “reset button” would no longer work, adding: “Something is fundamentally wrong.”
The ex-minister, who insisted that he was not “one of life’s quitters”, said: “I have concluded that the problem starts at the top and that is not going to change.”
Calling on his former colleagues to act, Mr Javid said: “They will have their own reason [for staying]. But they have a choice … Let’s be clear, not doing something is an active decision.”
Mr Javid said he had continued to give Mr Johnson the benefit of the doubt during the Partygate scandal – having been assured no rules were broken “from the most senior level of the prime minister’s team”.
After saying that “enough is enough”, he added: “I do fear that the reset button can only work so many times. There’s only so many times you can turn that machine on and off before you realise that something is fundamentally wrong.”
The prime minister faces the biggest leadership crisis of his premiership after his handling of the row over scandal-hit ex-deputy chief whip Chris Pincher sparked outrage.
Five ministers have resigned on Wednesday: Treasury minister John Glen, Home Office minister Victoria Atkins, health minister Jo Churchill, housing minister Stuart Andrew and children and families minister Will Quince all quit.
They are the latest in more than a dozen resignations of minister, aides and envoys which have followed the exit of Mr Javid and Rishi Sunak from cabinet.
At PMQs, Mr Johnson did not deny using the phrase “Pincher by name, pincher by nature” about the ex-minister now threatening to end his time at No 10.
Labour leader Keir Starmer ripped into Mr Johnson and the multiple Tory resignations – ridiculing it as “the first case of the sinking ship fleeing the rat”.
Senior Tory MP Gary Sambrook received a round of applause from the Labour benches after calling on Mr Johnson to resign at PMQs.
The executive secretary of the party’s 1922 committee, accused Mr Johnson of attempting “to blame other people for mistakes”, and told him directly: “Take responsibility and resign”.