Boris Johnson faces a potentially nightmarish session of Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday after a dramatic evening of resignations on Tuesday.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak and health secretary Sajid Javid both stepped down saying they had lost confidence in Mr Johnson’s leadership after it emerged that he had not been honest about his decision-making in hiring Chris Pincher as deputy chief whip.
The latter’s resignation from that role last Thursday after admitting to drunkenly groping two male colleagues at private member’s club in central London prompted a slew of allegations about his conduct, which appears to have been an open secret in Westminster.
Mr Johnson’s belated admission that he had been briefed on the accusations against Mr Pincher, despite previously saying he had not known about the “specific” allegations against him – his hand apparently forced by an intervention from former senior civil servant Lord McDonald – was apparently too much for Mr Sunak and Mr Javid.
Having been forced to defend the PM over a slew of scandals since last autumn, from Owen Paterson to Partygate and on, they tendered their resignations and were swiftly followed by no fewer than 13 others, including Tory party vice-chair Bim Afolami, children’s minister Will Quince, solicitor-general Alex Chalk, five junior ministers and two trade envoys.
The PM moved quickly to appoint Nadim Zahawi and Steve Barclay as his new chancellor and health secretary respectively, as well as Michelle Donelan as his replacement education secretary to replace Mr Zahawi, but, despite the apparent support of the rest of his Cabinet, the damage looks mortal.
Today’s PMQ’s kicks off at 12pm in the Commons and will be broadcast on BBC One and BBC Parliament and covered live on The Independent website via our liveblog.
Expect Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and many others to call for Mr Johnson to finally step down and the PM to mount a spirited fightback.