Two of the most senior members of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Cabinet resigned on Tuesday, which could be marking the beginning of the end of Johnson's leadership. Health Secretary Sajid Javid was the first to go, saying he could “no longer continue in good conscience” at his post. He was immediately followed by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak' who announced he was stepping down, because “the public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously.”
Both Javid and Sunak had formerly publicly supported Johnson during months of scandal over his administration's conduct and a report into parties at his Downing Street office and residence that broke the strict Covid-19 lockdown rules.
The prime minister said he was sorry to see the resignations and was quick to announce replacements, Nadhim Zahawi MP from Education to Chancellor of the Exchequer; Steve Barclay MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and Michelle Donelan MP, Secretary of State for Education.
In his resignation letter, which he posted to Twitter, Javid told Johnson that the values you represent reflect on your colleagues, and in light of recent scandals, the public had concluded that their party was neither competent nor acting in the national interest.
The former health secretary also took the prime minister to task for not reacting with humility after narrowly winning a recent non confidence vote. It is clear that this situation will not change under your leadership, he wrote, and you have therefore lost my confidence too.
Sunak, for his part, wrote that the public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently, and seriously...I believe that these standards are worth fighting for and that's why I'm resigning. He added that their approaches are fundamentally too different to keep working together and accused Johnson of peddling narratives that were too good to be true to the public.
Opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer said those who had backed Johnson were complicit in how he had performed his job. After all the sleaze, the scandals and the failure, it’s clear that this government is now collapsing, he said.