It’s not just Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid who have stepped down. After the two big-hitters announced their resignations, a whole raft of Conservative MPs said they would be leaving their political offices in government.
Although not as high profile, the resignation of such individuals points to the mounting sense of crisis consuming Boris Johnson’s administration, which appears poised to implode on itself after being buffeted by one scandal after another.
Here’s what the government’s lesser-known quitters had to say:
Jonathan Gullis resigned his role as parliamentary private secretary to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, saying the Conservative Party has been “more focused on dealing with our reputational damage rather than delivering for the people of this country”.
In a letter to the prime minister, Mr Gullis said he was resigning “with a heavy heart”.
He wrote: “I have been a member of the Conservative Party my entire adult life, a party I believe represents opportunity for all. I feel for too long we have been more focused on dealing with our reputational damage rather than delivering for the people of this country and spreading opportunity for all, which is why I came into politics.
“It is for this reason I can no longer to serve as part of your government.”
The Conservative Party’s vice chairman Bim Afolami pulled off the most spectacular resignation of the evening, doing so live on air while saying Johnson no longer has the support of the country.
Mr Afolami told Talk TV Mr Johnson should also resign from No 10 and said he “can’t serve under the prime minister” after months of turmoil.
He said that after recent allegations regarding the former deputy chief whip, Christopher Pincher, and other damaging scandals, Mr Johnson did not have his support.
“I just don’t think the prime minister any longer has, not just my support, but he doesn’t have, I don’t think, the support of the party, or indeed the country any more,” he said. “I think for that reason he should step down.”
Saqib Bhatti handed in his resignation as a parliamentary private secretary to the PM himself. He wrote that his conscience would not allow him to continue in his government role.
“The Conservative and Unionist Party has always been the party of integrity and honour. I feel that standards in public life are of the utmost importance, and the events of the past few months have undermined public trust in all of us,” the Meriden MP wrote
“I have been grappling with these issues for some time and my conscience will not allow me to continue to support this administration. It is for this reason I must tender my resignation.”
In a resignation that no-one saw coming, Dr Andrew Murrison announced he would be stepping down as trade envoy to Morocco, in a heavy blow for the north African nation.
Dr Murrison, who backed Mr Johnon’s leadership bid in 2016 and in 2019, wrote in his letter: “The last straw in the rolling chaos of the past six months has been the unavoidable implication of Lord McDonald’s letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards this morning.
“Others must square, as best they can, their continuing enjoyment of your patronage with their personal sense of decency, honour and integrity but I no longer can”.
And Nicola Richards, a parliamentary private secretary to the Department for Transport, said that the Conservative Party was “currently unrecognisable” in her resignation letter to the PM, adding that “I believe something must change”.
“At a time where my constituents are worried about the cost of living and I am doing my best to support them,” the West Bromwich East MP wrote, “I cannot bring myself to serve as a PPS under the current circumstances, where the focus is skewed by poor judgement that I don’t wish to be associated with.”
Will such resignations be enough to force the PM out of office? I wouldn’t bet on it.
In one of the most high-profile resignations from outside the cabinet, Alex Chalk, the solicitor general, said that he could not “defend the indefensible”.
Stafford MP Theo Clarke resigned from her position as trade envoy to Kenya with a statement which said she takes “allegations of sexual misconduct very seriously” and that the Prime Minister had shown a “severe lack of judgment and care” for his parliamentary party.