All the latest updates as the Prime Minister fights for his position amid criticism of the Chris Pincher affair.
06 July 2022
Boris Johnson is facing Cabinet ministers at Downing Street as ministers and aides continue to quit his Government in protest at his leadership.
The crisis at the heart of Mr Johnson’s administration started to unfold on Tuesday evening when chancellor Rishi Sunak and health secretary Sajid Javid quit their posts, to be replaced by Nadhim Zahawi and Steve Barclay.
A series of ministers including Kemi Badenoch, Mims Davies, Alex Burghart, Robin Walker, Will Quince and John Glen resigned on Wednesday, along with several parliamentary private secretaries, as the crisis escalated for the Prime Minister.
Here are the latest updates:
Boris Johnson has refused to quit despite calls from Cabinet colleagues, insisting that he would continue to focus on the “hugely important issues facing the country”, the PA news agency understands.
International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan could be seen smiling as she left Downing Street.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said Cabinet ministers are still backing Boris Johnson.
Asked as she left Downing Street if she is still supporting the Prime Minister, she said: “Definitely.”
Also asked if others are backing him, Ms Dorries replied: “Oh yes.”
Energy minister Greg Hands defended his decision to remain in the Government amid a slew of resignations and mounting pressure for Boris Johnson to resign as Prime Minister.
Mr Hands told the PA news agency: “Well I think the majority of the Government has not resigned, the majority of Government is carrying on and we will have to see what happens at the top, yeah.”
Asked how in good conscience he can continue to serve in an administration beset by scandal, he said: “Because I have got a job to do, to deliver on energy and climate change, and that’s exactly what I am going to be carrying on doing.”
There was a “pretty strong view” across the 1922 Committee that Boris Johnson should go, a Conservative MP has said.
Speaking to the PA news agency, David Simmonds, who represents the Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner constituency, said the Prime Minister should go as the “message has been very clear from colleagues”.
On the 1922 Committee meeting, Mr Simmonds said: “There were a couple of people who would agree with that (that he should not go). Well, there was one person I can think of, but other than that, no, I think it was a pretty strong view across the piece.”
Mr Simmonds said there are quite a few “good candidates” that could replace Mr Johnson as leader, adding: “I’m not canvassing for anybody. But I think we have got a fair few good people. I think Rishi Sunak has a good economic vision for the country.
“I was a strong Remainer. But I think as somebody who believes in Brexit, he has actually got a plan. So I like that.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps leaves 10 Downing Street.
Home Secretary Priti Patel is reported to be among the ministers urging Boris Johnson to stand down.
The PA news agency understands that Ms Patel has spoken to the Prime Minister to convey the “overwhelming view” of the parliamentary party.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has left Downing Street.
Mr Shapps said nothing to reporters before he was driven out in a black Range Rover.
The leader of the Scottish Conservatives Douglas Ross said “more and more” of his colleagues now agree that Mr Johnson should resign.
Mr Ross told the PA news agency: “I said that, at the no confidence vote two or three weeks ago that I could not in good faith continue to have confidence in him and now we are seeing more and more colleagues have reached the same conclusion.”
Asked who he would back in a Tory leadership election, he said: “We will wait and see.”
On whether he would consider throwing his own hat into the ring, Mr Ross smiled and said: “No, definitely not.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg leaves the Cabinet Office.
Mr Johnson still has the backing of Jacob Rees-Mogg.
A source told the PA news agency that the Brexit opportunities minister, who was not in Number 10 with Mr Johnson on Wednesday evening, still supports the Prime Minister.
Kit Malthouse leaving the Cabinet Office in London.
A ministerial ally of Mr Johnson said it had been a “difficult day”.
Policing minister Kit Malthouse told reporters: “I am not commenting any further.”
Tories need to love each other, says Boris Johnson, as Cabinet ministers demand he quit No 10.
Jonathan Djanogly, MP for Huntingdon, tweeted: “In politics, values and ethics do really matter and Britain deserves better, which is why I have again tendered a letter requesting a vote of confidence in the Prime Minister.”
Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the Tory 1922 Committee, was seen heading towards Downing Street.
He is thought to have entered through the side entrance on Whitehall rather than going through the famous black door of No 10.
His presence comes after a meeting of the committee where Tory MPs made their views known about the Prime Minister’s future.
Sir Graham is the keeper of the letters submitted by Conservative MPs calling for the Prime Minister to go.
The 35 MPs who have resigned from the Government in the past 24 hours.
James Sunderland, Tory MP for Bracknell, has resigned as parliamentary private secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
He said in a statement posted to Facebook: “I have today resigned as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Defra. I would like to thank everyone who has taken the trouble to share their views with me in recent months.
“I continue to serve the people of Bracknell, Crowthorne, Finchampstead, Sandhurst and Wokingham Without to the best of my ability.”
Jonathan Lord, the MP for Woking, tweeted: “It is clear to me that the Prime Minister has lost the confidence of his parliamentary colleagues & therefore must stand down.
“He has several notable successes to his name including great leadership on the vaccine & Ukraine, but now it is time for new leadership for our country.”
Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid has resigned as a trade envoy.
In a statement, he said: “In light of recent events, I believe the Prime Minister’s position is now untenable.
“Having indicated my concerns internally earlier this week, it is my intention to stand down from my position as Fisheries Envoy and Trade Envoy for Angola and Zambia.”
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has pulled out of a planned media round on Thursday morning amid the crisis over Mr Johnson’s leadership.
BBC Breakfast’s Twitter account posted that he he had been due to appear on the show but had withdrawn.
Asked if the PM’s position was sustainable, Nadine Dorries told reporters on Downing Street: “It is.”
Mr Johnson will be advised it would be “inappropriate” to seek a snap general election if there is a Tory leadership contest pending, a senior Conservative MP has said.
The MP, who did not want to be named, said senior officials would advise the Prime Minister that it would put the Queen in a “difficult position” if he requested a dissolution of Parliament.
The Institute for Government think tank’s data scientist Philip Nye said 14% of ministers who were in place yesterday had quit.
The 14 ministers who quit on Wednesday, plus Rishi Sunak, Sajid Javid and Alex Chalk, who resigned on Tuesday, amount to around one in seven of those who were in the ministerial ranks at the start of yesterday.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has arrived at Downing Street.
Ruth Edwards resigned as parliamentary private secretary at the Scottish Office.
Peter Gibson, MP for Darlington, said he was resigning from his role as parliamentary private secretary to the Secretary of State for International Trade.
He highlighted his experience as a gay MP, saying: “On Saturday last week I marched with LGBT+ Conservatives at London Pride.
“As a gay MP, that should have been a liberating, enjoyable experience, instead due to the damage our party has inflicted on itself over the failure to include trans people in the ban on conversion therapy, it was a humiliating experience and signalled to me the immense damage that has been so needlessly inflicted after years of hard work by many to rebuild the damage of Section 28.
“It is of the upmost importance that the Office of Prime Minister represents all the high standards required of public life, which I do not believe it presently does.”
Elections to the 1922 Committee will take place on Monday, Tory MP Alec Shelbrooke said.
After a meeting of the full committee at Westminster, Mr Shelbrooke said they had been told nominations will open on Wednesday and close at midday on Monday.
Voting will take place on Monday afternoon and the result will be announced in the evening.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps arrives in Downing Street.
Ruth Edwards, the Tory MP for Rushcliffe, has resigned as parliamentary private secretary at the Scottish Office, saying Boris Johnson’s Government “turned a blind eye to allegations of sexual assault within its own ranks”.
In her letter to the Prime Minister, Ms Edwards wrote: “I was heartbroken to learn on Wednesday that you were made aware of serious allegations of sexual assault against Chris Pincher and that, despite this, you went on to appoint him, not just to another government role, but to a role of such sensitivity, where he would deal with both vulnerable colleagues and members of staff who may have been victims of such assaults themselves.
“I know my resignation will carry little weight in the grand scheme of things. But when I leave this job, either of my own will or that of my constituents, I need to be able to do so with my self respect intact. I am deeply saddened to say that this is no longer compatible with continuing to serve in a government whose leadership has turned a blind eye to allegations of sexual assault within its own ranks.”
Mr Johnson has arrived at Downing Street by a back entrance.
The Prime Minister entered in a Range Rover shortly after 5pm.
Shaun Bailey, MP for West Bromwich West, said he can “no longer support the Prime Minister’s leadership”.
In a statement posted to Twitter, he added: “It is clear that it is in the interests of the Country, of the Conservative Party and for my communities that we have fresh leadership.
“It saddens me to reach this conclusion and I have not done so lightly but the information which has come to light, has led me to no other alternative than to believe that a new leader is the only way in which we can win the next election and stop the travesty that would be a Labour government.”
The PM faced a tough time under questioning by the Liaison Committee.
Mr Johnson said the Conservative Party needed to “love each other”.
“I have been very clear with you. I see no reason whatever for a general election now. On the contrary, what we need is a stable government, loving each other as Conservatives, getting on with our priorities,” he told the Liaison Committee in his final words to the MPs after a gruelling encounter.
“I love all my colleagues in the House of Commons,” Sir Bernard Jenkin replied.
Mr Johnson ruled out calling a snap general election, telling the Liaison Committee the earliest he can see for one is 2024.
The Prime Minister said “of course, I rule it out”, adding: “The earliest date that I can see for a general election is two years from now or 2024, I think it is the most likely date for the next election.
“We have a huge amount to deliver. We are going to get on and do it.”
Mr Johnson denied claims by Conservative colleague Caroline Nokes that alcohol was an excuse.
Liaison Committee chairman Sir Bernard Jenkin, a critic of Mr Johnson’s handling of the Pincher affair, asked the Prime Minister: “How much consideration are you giving to the prospect of your resignation?”
Mr Johnson replied: “I am happy to tell you I am getting on with the job I am elected to do, and that’s what I am going to do.
“People are very keen to get me off the subjects I want to talk about.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel has arrived at Downing Street by the side entrance.
The Liaison Committee hearing has ended.
Louie French, MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup, said: “I have never sought to defend the indefensible and I have carefully listened and weighed up what I believe to be in both our local and national interest.
“I believe that the Prime Minister’s position is unsustainable and that he should resign.”
Boris Johnson said there was “a problem with alcohol” in Westminster.
He told the Liaison Committee: “I have given this a lot of thought and I do think there is a problem with alcohol, and I have always resisted this conclusion in the past.
“But it feels to me that some people simply cannot take their drink and we need to think how we work that in Parliament.
“There is also an issue about standards of behaviour. I should have been more stringent in my approach.”
Mr Johnson also conceded it was “a fair point” that Chris Pincher had been let down by not being given the help he needed for his issues.
The Prime Minister, appearing at the Liaison Committee, was told there was a delegation of Cabinet ministers waiting for him at Downing Street to tell him to quit.
In response to Labour MP Darren Jones, he repeated the line that he was “not going to get into a running commentary on political events”.
Tory MP for Hyndburn Sara Britcliffe has resigned as parliamentary private secretary at the Department for Education, citing “continuous firefighting of self-inflicted issues” in the Government.
In her letter to the Prime Minister, she wrote: “It has been a great honour and privilege to have been the PPS for the Department of Education for the last 18 months. But after careful reflection, I have concluded that I cannot continue in that role and so am tendering you my resignation as a PPS.
“I am afraid after much reflection, I cannot remain part of the Government as I believe the Government risks becoming so subsumed in continuous firefighting of self-inflicted issues, that it will detract from our ability to deliver on this critically important agenda – and therefore it is time to draw a line.”
It is a matter for Chris Pincher whether he should resign from Parliament, Mr Johnson told the Liaison Committee.
The Prime Minister was asked by Labour’s Chris Bryant, chairman of the Commons Standards Committee, whether the MP for Tamworth should quit.
Mr Johnson insisted he took the whip away from Mr Pincher and said “it’s a matter for him”.
On whether another Tory MP, Neil Parish, was right to resign after being caught watching pornography in Parliament on his phone, Mr Johnson said: “It was his decision. I think that he was doing something that it is not normal or tolerated in most places.”
Shadow Cabinet Office minister Conor McGinn said he understood the Government has adjourned or “effectively cancelled” committee hearings organised for Thursday as they are “unable to provide ministers”.
Raising a point of order, he told the Commons: “It seems very much to me that this is a Government that has ceased in its ability to govern.”
– Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is among a group of Cabinet ministers prepared to tell Boris Johnson he should quit, the PA news agency understands.
Chris Pincher is the man at the centre of much of the questioning being aimed at Mr Johnson.
Mr Johnson has failed to deny at the Liaison Committee whether he said “all the sex pests are supporting me” and “Pincher by name, pincher by nature”.
Asked by Labour former minister Chris Bryant whether he said “all the sex pests are supporting me, or words to that effect”, Mr Johnson replied: “People attribute all sorts of things to me. I don’t remember saying those words. But people ascribe all sorts of things to me.”
Mr Bryant, the chairman of the Commons Standards Committee, went on: “That sounds like a yes to me. Did you say he is a ‘bit handsy’?”
Mr Johnson said “it’s not a word I use”, and when asked if he ever said “Pincher by name, pincher by nature”, the PM said: “I’m not going to get into some trivialising discussion of what I may or may not have said. This is a serious matter.
“The member has had, I believe, a complaint made against him. And that is where I propose to leave it.”
Mark Fletcher, the Tory MP for Bolsover who witnessed Chris Pincher’s actions at the Carlton Club last week, has resigned from his role as parliamentary private secretary to Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, describing Mr Johnson’s response to the incident as “crass and insensitive”.
“As you are aware, early last Thursday morning I had to intervene in a very serious situation at the Carlton club involving the former deputy chief whip,” he wrote in a letter to the Prime Minister.
“I reported the events immediately to the Chief Whip, who took appropriate action and handled the situation with superb levels of seriousness and care. On Friday, upon my raising concerns around Mr Pincher still having the whip, you and I spoke about the events that had happened on Thursday morning.
“I was reassured that shortly after our call you did the right thing and suspended the whip for Mr Pincher. However, in our conversation in the tearoom yesterday, you suggested that the events of that night were the fault of the colleagues who were present for allowing him to drink so much.
“Such a view seems to me an attempt to absolve Mr Pincher of his actions. I am unable to accept such a crass and insensitive interpretation of what happened that night.
“I have reached the conclusion that any person who suggests that anyone other than Mr Pincher is solely responsible for what happened that night is unfit to lead our country. To take any other position does a severe disservice to the victims of his behaviour, on both this and previous occasions. I am therefore writing to tender my resignation as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for BEIS.
“It has been the greatest of honours to work alongside Kwasi Kwarteng and his exceptional team of ministers and special advisers. I am tremendously proud of how much we have achieved in the past two years and I thank you for the opportunity to do so. But I cannot continue to serve within your government and defend the indefensible.”
Brandon Lewis is said to be preparing to tell Boris Johnson to leave No 10.
Mr Johnson repeated his regret that Chris Pincher was made deputy chief whip, telling the Liaison Committee: “I can see, with the benefit of hindsight, I think that appointment was a mistake.”
He said Mr Pincher, like others, “had excellent administrative skills”, and the PM did not outright deny suggestions Mr Pincher was behind “Operation Save Big Dog”, the plan to support Mr Johnson.
Asked whether there were any conditions under which the Queen could decline the Prime Minister’s request for a dissolution of Parliament, Mr Johnson said: “You’re asking about something that’s not going to happen, unless everybody is so crazy as to… you know…
“We are going to get on – I don’t think the people of this country…
“I think history teaches us that the best way to have a period of stability in government and not to have early elections is to allow people with mandates to get on.”
A delegation of Cabinet ministers is preparing to tell Mr Johnson that he needs to resign, the BBC reported.
The broadcaster said Welsh Secretary Simon Hart was among the group.
– Brandon Lewis is preparing to tell Boris Johnson to leave No 10, believing his position is “now untenable”, a source close to the Northern Ireland Secretary has told the PA news agency.
Mr Johnson said governments cannot solve problems by “threatening to call elections”.
“If you go back to the 90s, then you don’t solve problems by threatening to call elections.
“You have got to get on with what you’re elected to do.”
Asked by Tory MP William Wragg if he accepted the Lascelles Principles, a British constitutional convention on the dissolution of Parliament, Mr Johnson said: “Insofar as they are designed to prevent pointless wildcat elections, they sound sensible to me.”
William Wragg, a Tory MP who described the PM’s position as “untenable” in January, asked Mr Johnson at the Liaison Committee: “At which point does it become impossible for the Queen’s government to be continued?”
Mr Johnson said: “I really think you are underestimating the talent, energy and sheer ambition of Members of Parliament, and they want to get things done.
“The Government of this country is continuing with ever-increasing energy.”
Mr Wragg said even more Tories had resigned in the time Mr Johnson had faced the committee, and asked whether the PM thought there was sufficient supply “of those young thrusters on the back benches” to replace them.
Mr Johnson said: “I think it highly likely, yes.
“Maybe we are all deluded in our ambitions, but I think most people who come to this place – in spite of what everybody says about MPs – are actuated by the highest motives.”
Government resignations: Who has quit?
Mr Johnson insisted he did not recall plans to make Chris Pincher chief whip.
“Not to my recollection,” the Prime Minister told the Liaison Committee. “I think the suggestion was he’d be deputy chief whip.”
Mr Johnson insisted the truth and accuracy of language are important to him during questioning by a senior Tory MP.
Opening the Liaison Committee’s questioning on “integrity in politics”, Bob Neill asked: “How important is the truth to you, Prime Minister?”
“Very important, Bob,” Mr Johnson replied.
Mr Neill added: “And accuracy of language and statement?”
“Also very, very important,” Mr Johnson said.
Mr Neill then questioned why inaccurate statements about Chris Pincher were issued by No 10.
Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, having previously voted no confidence in the Prime Minister, said: “As I stated following that vote, I had sincerely hoped that the Prime Minister and the Cabinet would reflect on this result closely and act accordingly.
“Unfortunately, since this vote, news has since come to light of allegations of serious misconduct by the then deputy chief whip, and the subsequent knowledge of the Prime Minister prior to his appointment to the position. I want to make clear that as I have said previously on matters relating to the Prime Minister, I will not defend the indefensible.
“I hope that following these further developments, the Prime Minister will take the right and moral step and resign. However, if this is not forthcoming, then I believe it would be an appropriate step for the Parliamentary Party to facilitate another vote of confidence.”
In his resignation letter, Conservative MP for Finchley and Golders Green Mike Freer cited “an atmosphere of hostility for LGBT+ people”.
“It is with deep regret that I must write to resign as both Minister for Exports and Minister for Equalities,” he wrote.
“I feel that we are moving away from the One Nation Conservative party joined, not least in creating an atmosphere of hostility for LGBT+ people and I regret can no longer defend policies I fundamentally disagree with.
“Since my election in 2010, I have striven to work to represent my constituents with the support of my local party and members. I now feel that we have let down our constituents and our supporters.
“Representing Finchley & Golders Green, I have to ask myself what Mrs Thatcher would have done. I have decided I must prioritise the diverse constituency of Finchley & Golders Green, One Nation conservatism, as well as my passion for equalities.”
The Prime Minister said it would not be “responsible” for him to leave No 10, given the scale of the challenges facing the country.
Labour MP Darren Jones told him it was not “funny” for him to remain in power, adding: “It is not a game.”
Mr Johnson said: “I think the country is going through tough times. You are making a point about duty.
“I look at the issues this country faces. I look at the pressures that people are under and the need for the Government to focus on their priorities.
“I look at the biggest war in Europe for 80 years and I can’t for the life of me see how it is responsible just to walk away from that. Particularly not when you have a mandate of the kind that we won two, three years ago.”
Mike Freer has quit as minister for exports and minister for equalities, telling Mr Johnson: “I can no longer defend policies I fundamentally disagree with.”
Senior Conservative Huw Merriman challenged Mr Johnson on whether a new leader should come in to run Downing Street “properly”.
Mr Merriman, who tweeted his letter calling for Mr Johnson to stand down during the Liaison Committee hearing, suggested there is “inertia” in No 10 over taxation policy because of faltering leadership.
“Nonsense,” said the PM.
Mr Merriman, who chairs the Transport Committee, replied: “You say it’s nonsense but it’s actually a nonsense that we’ve been waiting three months just for someone to sign off on something which fills 4% of the Exchequer – that’s the nonsense.
“Do you not agree that something should be done – or if you can’t do it do you think that someone should come in and run it properly?”
The Government is “certainly” focusing on the issues that matter, Mr Johnson said when asked about ministerial resignations during a cost-of-living crisis.
Welsh Affairs Select Committee chairman Stephen Crabb told the Liaison Committee: “Do you accept, Prime Minister, and forgive me for asking, at a time of such economic crisis for the country, for many families up and down the country, that what the country needs is a Government with the very best team, the very best of focus, absolutely squarely focused on tackling these issues and when you see, Prime Minister, people like John Glen leaving Government, people like Kemi Badenoch, people like Neil O’Brien, one of the intellectual architects of levelling up, do you not feel, Prime Minister, the very ability, capacity of this Government to address these enormous overhanging issues is deteriorating as we speak?”
The Prime Minister replied: “The Government is certainly focusing on the issues that matter, and today we are cutting taxes for everybody, about £330 for 30 million people.”
Mr Johnson claimed he was having a “terrific” week despite a slew of Tory resignations in the previous 24 hours.
Labour MP Darren Jones asked the Prime Minister at the Liaison Committee: “How’s your week going?”
Mr Johnson replied, supressing a smile: “Terrific, like many others.”
But the Prime Minister declined to be drawn on suggestions that Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove had asked him to resign on Wednesday morning.
“I’m here to talk about what the Government is doing,” Mr Johnson said. “I’m not going to give a running commentary on politic events.”
Government aides Samantha Cohen, Guto Hari and David Canzini outside 10 Downing Street.
Jo Gideon, MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, said she has submitted a new letter to Sir Graham Brady, adding: “We must be able to move forward.
“The appalling circumstances surrounding the resignation of the former Deputy Chief Whip seriously call into question again the judgment of the Prime Minister, who not only appointed him to a role where he had direct responsibility for the pastoral care of colleagues, but also sought to justify it.”
Mr Johnson said “of course” he will still be Prime Minister on Thursday.
The Prime Minister was questioned at the Liaison Committee by SNP MP Angus Brendan MacNeil about his future in No 10.
The PM declined to speculate, telling the committee he would not give a “running commentary” on his career.
Tory MP for Crawley Henry Smith, who backed Mr Johnson in June’s confidence vote, called for the Prime Minister to resign, citing “unnecessary personal decision errors which have been made in Downing Street”.
In a letter Mr Smith praised Mr Johnson, saying he has “continued to get the significant policy decisions right” on topics such as Brexit and the conflict in Ukraine, adding: “However, in spite of these achievements, the unnecessary personal decision errors which have been made in Downing Street mean that for the sake of our country we now need new leadership.
“Our country must be able to realise the benefits of the significant achievements won by this government without the distractions or personal mistakes and to continue addressing global cost of living pressures, plus countering Russia’s war on Ukraine.
“Therefore, I believe it is in the interests of our country for Boris Johnson to resign as Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party.”
Mark Logan, MP for Bolton North East, said he was resigning as parliamentary private secretary to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
In a letter posted to Twitter, he said: “The events over an extended period of time have not sat well with me.
“There is only so much anyone can expect my constituents to accept or ignore… It is out of respect for them, along with our dedicated Councillors, public servants and everyone who is focused on making Bolton better that I come to this decision. They deserve more from leadership.”
In her letter resigning as minister for safeguarding, Tory MP for Redditch Rachel Maclean said recent events demonstrate that while the Prime Minister remains in office the “woefully low rate of prosecutions for sexual offences” will not improve.
She wrote: “It is with great regret that I am resigning from your Government. When you appointed me to serve in the Home Office, you tasked me – as Minister for Safeguarding – with improving the woefully low rate of prosecutions for sexual offences.
“However, I have regretfully concluded that recent events demonstrate that while you remain in office, it will not be possible to make progress with this vitally important task.
“The victims of sexual harassment I work with tell me that every single time the biggest obstacle they face in coming forward to tell their heartbreaking and traumatic stories is that they fear they will not be believed, or that the system will cover up for the perpetrator.
“These crimes are almost always about power, because individuals know that the power they have over their victims means they will be protected and can act with impunity. I have defended you to the hilt to my constituents and to the public. You have been an incredible leader of our party through some very difficult times but you must now resign for the good of the country and our party.
“Values, principles, integrity and decency matter more than anything and I cannot continue to stand by and do nothing. I ask you now to step aside so that we can get on with the important task of serving the country and providing it with the leadership it so badly needs.”
Home Office minister Rachel Maclean has announced she is resigning, saying Mr Johnson must go “for the good of the country and our party”.
Mr Johnson told the Liaison Committee the public does not want MPs to be “electioneering now or in the immediate future”.
Asked a technical detail about holding an election by Angus MacNeil, the Prime Minister said: “I really don’t think that anybody in this country wants politicians to be engaged in electioneering now or in the immediate future.
“And I think we need to get on with serving our voters and dealing with the issues they care about.”
The 28 MPs who have resigned from the Government in the past 24 hours over Mr Johnson’s leadership.
Akshata Murthy, wife of former chancellor Rishi Sunak, hands out tea to the waiting media outside their home in central London following his resignation on Tuesday
MP for Montgomeryshire Craig Williams said he is resigning as parliamentary private secretary to the Chancellor.
In a letter posted to Twitter, he said: “After the recent vote of confidence, I had given my support to you, with one last benefit of the doubt. I believed it was right that we draw a line under previous events and focus on rebuilding trust with the public and focusing on delivering good policies.
“It has now become apparent over recent days, that this is becoming impossible.
“It is therefore with deep regret that I resign from your Government.”
Fay Jones, Conservative MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, has said she will resign as parliamentary private secretary to Mark Spencer, the leader of the House of Commons, if Mr Johnson is still Prime Minister on Thursday.
In her letter to Mr Spencer, Ms Jones wrote: “It is with deep regret that I urge you to press the Prime Minister to go. I have drafted this letter a number of times; after the vote to protect Owen Paterson and when the full extent of Partygate revelations became clear.
“Despite my anger at the Prime Minister’s handling of those events, in January, I believed his promise to deliver a change of culture in 10 Downing Street, and I fully believed he could do it. It is clear to me now that my faith in him was miscalculated.
“It saddens me greatly that the Conservative Party is so wounded, I no longer believe the Prime Minister capable of mending those wounds.
“If the Prime Minister fails to leave office by tomorrow, I will be formally resigning my role as PPS. When I became the Member of Parliament for Brecon and Radnorshire, I won first prize in the lottery of life. They deserve to be served by a government fully capable of delivering the vision we promised them.”
The Liaison Committee is chaired by Tory MP Sir Bernard Jenkin.
MP for Bishop Auckland Dehenna Davison said she has submitted a second letter to Sir Graham Brady, adding “enough is enough”.
In a letter posted to Twitter, she said: “I wrote to you some months ago expressing my lack of confidence in the Prime Minister.
“In the time that has followed, nothing has improved – in fact, further lies have been peddled, and more good colleagues have been sent out to defend the indefensible. Things have got worse, and our country deserves better.
“The Prime Minister must go. I write to ask for a vote of no confidence as soon as possible to allow us to finally draw a line under this sorry saga.”
The Liaison Committee consists of the heads of the 32 Commons select committees and the chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights.
Duncan Baker has resigned as a parliamentary private secretary in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
In a statement on Facebook, the MP for North Norfolk said: “As I said just a couple of weeks ago, we must not dismiss the by election results as ‘mid term’ blues. They were not and they were a clear indicator of how the country feels.
“The breakdown in trust from the last six months is abundantly clear. The latest situation to unfold regarding Chris Pincher only compounds those feelings, with many now recognising the situation is clearly unsustainable.
“In my short time as the MP for North Norfolk, I have spoken out time and time again on matters relating to integrity, leadership and trust. I must remain true to my values and principles. I have felt for a considerable while that the situation cannot go on.
“I do not have confidence in the Prime Minister and resign my role as a PPS in the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. It has been a real privilege in such a short time to serve in that position and steer through important reforms to help not only my constituency but the country too.”
The Prime Minister appearing in front of the Liaison Committee.
Under the current rules of the 1922 Committee, the Prime Minister cannot face another challenge within a year of his shaky victory in a confidence vote last month.
But this could be torn up if the group’s executive goes ahead with a proposed change to the rules as Mr Johnson’s authority evaporates.
Sir Graham Brady is chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers.
MP for Poole Sir Robert Syms tweeted: “It is clearly time for the Prime Minister to accept he has lost the confidence of the Parliamentary Party and go with dignity.
“I have submitted a letter to Graham Brady MP calling for a change in rules and a ballot.”
More video from the Commons, with Sajid Javid saying “enough is enough” as he delivers his resignation statement to MPs.
Mr Johnson is facing questions from MPs on the Liaison Committee.
Video from Prime Minister’s Questions, as Sir Keir Starmer said resigning Tory MPs do mot have ‘a shred of integrity’.
Oliver Heald, the MP for North East Hertfordshire, tweeted: “Loss of confidence – Boris Johnson won a major election & made decisions to help the UK in the pandemic. He has been a stalwart friend to Ukraine and tried to help with the global inflation crisis.
“But recent revelations & events have led to a loss of confidence including mine.”
Tory backbenchers including Anna Firth, Aaron Bell, Nickie Aiken and Andrew Bowie have requested a new vote of confidence in Mr Johnson’s leadership and asked him to resign.
Mr Bowie, MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, wrote on Twitter: “Three weeks ago I said, despite my vote, we needed to focus on the issues facing the country, not internal fights in the Party… But Government is not functioning.”
Ms Aiken, MP for Cities of London and Westminster, wrote in her letter: “It is clear that trust in both the Government, the Conservative Party and politics more widely has been seriously damaged.”
Newcastle-under-Lyme MP Mr Bell tweeted: “Last month I gave the Prime Minister ‘time and space’ to turn the situation around after the vote of no confidence… but things have only got worse, with No 10 continuing to try to lie their way out of difficult situations.”
Ms Firth, the MP for Southend West, said: “Following the recent revelations, I am very sad to say that I can no longer support Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.
“I had hoped to see a fundamental change in leadership style, but sadly this has not happened.”
Northampton South MP Andrew Lewer said the five ministers who sent their resignation letters together are “five of the most talented people in the whole Government”, adding on Twitter: “The PM must resign.”
Craig Tracey has called for the Prime Minister to go, saying “we need new leadership”.
In a post on Facebook, the Tory MP for North Warwickshire wrote: “Whilst I have not revealed how I voted in the recent vote of confidence, I discussed with the whips’ office that if I did decide to support the Prime Minister, then it would be his final opportunity to ‘right the ship’. This was a message I also relayed directly to him.
“Unfortunately, revelations over the last week or so show that there has been a clear lack of judgment again by the Prime Minister and as such the condition I set down has already been broken.
“With this in mind and in order to re-assert our party values and implement on the manifesto we received such a resounding majority to deliver, it is abundantly clear that we need new leadership.
“All the good that can be done, and is being done, by those in Government is currently lost in the noise surrounding the Prime Minister, which is both unsustainable nor in the wider best interests of the country.
“In view of this, it is with great regret that I have to advise that I do not believe that Boris Johnson is the right person to be leading our party and, as a result, to be Prime Minister.”
The 21 MPs who have resigned from the Government in the past 24 hours over Mr Johnson’s leadership.
Former cabinet minister Dr Liam Fox has called on the Prime Minister to resign, saying: “I am today withdrawing my support for you.”
In a letter posted on Twitter, he said: “The events of recent days… have convinced me that unfortunately, you cannot continue to lead the Conservative Party and more importantly our country.
“We have lost too many good people from the Government who could not reconcile their loyalty to you with their conscience. I share their feelings.
“Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that I am today withdrawing my support for you as I no longer have confidence in you as our leader. I urge you to do the right thing and resign.”
Cabinet minister Michael Gove has reportedly told the Prime Minister he must step down.
The Daily Mail reported that the Levelling Up Secretary delivered the message at a meeting on Wednesday morning, citing sources.
The newspaper said a spokesman for Mr Gove did not dispute this.
The five ministers said in a joint letter that “the Government cannot function” as they called for Mr Johnson to step down.
“It is with great regret that we are resigning as members of the Government. It has been an honour to serve in your administration and we remain extremely grateful for the opportunity you have given us to serve our country,” they wrote.
“However, it has become increasingly clear that the Government cannot function given the issues that have come to light and the way in which they have been handled. In good faith, we must ask that, for the good of the Party and the country, you step aside.”
Ministers Kemi Badenoch, Julia Lopez, Mims Davies, Lee Rowley, Neil O’Brien and Alex Burghart have announced they are resigning.
The odds have been shortening on the end of Mr Johnson’s premiership.
Ben Spencer has called for the Prime Minister to resign.
In a letter shared on Twitter, the Tory MP for Runnymede and Weybridge said “leadership means taking responsibility for one’s actions”.
He wrote: “The appointment of a person to a senior position in Government, a role which included safeguarding the welfare of others, when there existed allegations of sexual misconduct and previously upheld complaints about his behaviour, is simply inexcusable.
“In response we have seen obfuscation and deflection around the facts surrounding his appointment, depressingly similar to that seen to the ‘partygate’ scandal.
“We rightly expect the highest standards in Government, and leadership means taking responsibility for one’s actions.
“The Prime Minister should resign.”
MP for East Devon Simon Jupp called on the Prime Minister to resign.
In a letter posted to Twitter, he said: “Too many of the challenges faced by the Prime Minister are a result of self-inflicted wounds.
“Leaders must demonstrate integrity, honesty, and set a high standard that we can all be proud of.
“The current situation is a grotesque distraction from the many challenges we face as a nation.
“I cannot tolerate this any longer… in order to restore trust in the highest office of the land, the Prime Minister must do the decent thing and resign.”
Conservative former housing secretary Robert Jenrick has called for Mr Johnson’s resignation, saying he has suffered an “irretrievable loss of trust”.
Mr Jenrick, who served in the Prime Minister’s cabinet until September, said he had written to 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady to say he wants Mr Johnson to go.
The MP wrote: “I have always wanted the Prime Minister to succeed and I gave him every opportunity to do so. However it has become painfully clear that we are failing to provide the coherence, grip and direction that the country needs and deserves in these challenging time.
“More fundamentally there has been a significant and, I fear, irretrievable loss of trust with the public, confirmed by the mishandling of serious allegations in recent days. If we continue along our present path we risk doing lasting damage to the reputation of the Conservative Party for competence and good government and, more importantly, to the standing of politics generally.
“I can no longer, in all good conscience, support this.”
Senior Conservative MP Huw Merriman said Mr Johnson would resign if he had “any dignity left”.
The previously supportive chairman of the Commons Transport Select Committee told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme: “My position today after what’s happened over the last few days, in particular with the Prime Minister blatantly either lying or being incompetent in terms of failing to remember what happened to the deputy chief whip, that just makes his position untenable, in my view.
“So, I no longer support him, I’ve put a letter into Sir Graham Brady submitting my no confidence. I’ve also said that I hope Sir Graham will take my letter and the letters of others to either change the rules so we can have another leadership contest, or tell the Prime Minister that the rules will end up being changed unless he himself does the right thing and steps down.
“So, I’ve lost all faith and I think the last few days have been absolutely appalling for public life and for politics in general, and so we can’t go on like this.
“If the Prime Minister has any dignity left he will realise what’s happening, what he’s created, the buck stops with him and he will stand down.”
Asked if Labour would welcome any Tory MPs who chose to defect amid the leadership crisis, a party spokesman declined to comment.
“I’m not going to speculate on private conversations,” he said.
David Johnston has quit as a ministerial aide in the Department for Education.
He said: “I cannot defend what has taken place these past few days – or indeed these past few months.”
The Wantage MP added: “It is very important to me that we do all we can to encourage good people into politics so that the country is well served, but events in recent months have made the view of politics and politicians worse and will only put more people off entering it, which I deeply regret.
“I know from my inbox that there are different views about the Prime Minister, but I do not believe he can provide the leadership the country needs.”
After previously backing the Prime Minister, as he believed a Conservative leadership race would be a distraction from international issues such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Tory MP for Elmet and Rothwell Alec Shelbrooke said Mr Johnson’s premiership can “go on no longer”.
He said in a statement posted to Twitter: “It is now clear to me that the Prime Minister’s leadership of the Conservative Party can go on no longer as it is causing a distraction from the serious international issues we face as a country.
“Honesty and integrity should be the watchwords of all politicians, and it remains so for the large majority of Conservative MPs. I no longer believe, after several resets, that these values can be re-embedded under the current leadership.”
Labour is not currently planning to table a confidence vote in the Prime Minister, according to a spokesman.
He said: “The process is that it is for the Conservative Party to determine the future of the Prime Minister. That is their responsibility in this situation.”
Labour would welcome a general election, the spokesman added.
“The country needs a fresh start, we need a real change that isn’t just a change at the top of the Conservative Party. This would be the fourth leader in 12 years and we’ve still got the same fundamental problems that we’ve had throughout all of that period.”
Claire Coutinho has resigned as a parliamentary private secretary to the Treasury.
She wrote on Facebook: “I firmly believe that what we need now, as we deal with the twin challenges of war in Europe and global inflation, is a laser-like grip on reforming our public services so that they work better for our constituents and focus on charting a path to prosperity through what is an increasingly challenging global outlook.
“I think the events of recent weeks and months are preventing us from doing that. I, of course, look forward to continuing to serve all of you to the best of my abilities.”
Selaine Saxby has resigned as a ministerial aide.
The Tory MP tweeted a photograph of her resignation letter, adding that “with much regret” she “can no longer continue” in her role as a parliamentary private secretary.
Asked to set the record straight on whether Mr Johnson used the phrase “Pincher by name, pincher by nature”, the PM’s press secretary said she would not “get into those kinds of reports”.
Mr Johnson is confident he will be able to fill the posts of all the ministers and parliamentary aides who have resigned, the Prime Minister’s press secretary said.
“There will be further appointments over the coming days,” she said.
Mr Javid told MPs: “I am deeply concerned about how the next generation will see the Conservative Party on our current course. Our reputation after 12 years in government depends on regaining the public’s trust.”
He said if the Conservative ideals of “decency” and personal responsibility and the rule of law could not be upheld, “the Conservative mission to extend freedom and prosperity and opportunity is all at risk”.
The Prime Minister’s press secretary said Mr Johnson is confident he still has the support of his backbench MPs.
She also said he would contest another confidence vote if one were held, but described last month’s ballot as “clear and decisive”.
Asked if the PM is confident he has the support of his backbenchers, she said simply: “Yes.”
In an apparent message to members of the Cabinet who have stayed, Mr Javid said “not doing something is an active decision”.
He told MPs: “Last month I gave the benefit of doubt one last time… I have concluded that the problem starts at the top and I believe that is not going to change, and that means that it is for those of us in a position who have responsibility to make that change.
“I wish my Cabinet colleagues well and I can see they have decided to remain in the Cabinet. They will have their own reasons.”
Laughter could be heard in the chamber as Mr Javid went on: “But it is a choice. I know just how difficult that choice is. But let’s be clear, not doing something is an active decision.”
Mr Javid told the Commons he gave the Prime Minister the benefit of the doubt on partygate, but added that “the reset button can only work so many times”.
He said: “When the first stories of parties in Downing Street emerged late last year I was personally assured at the most senior level by my right honourable friend’s then team that, and I quote, ‘there had been no parties in Downing Street and no rules were broken’.
“So I gave the benefit of doubt. And I went on those media rounds to say that I’d had those assurances from the most senior level of the Prime Minister’s team.
“Then we had more stories. We had the Sue Gray report, a new Downing Street team. I continued to give the benefit of the doubt.”
After saying “enough is enough”, Mr Javid said he appreciated the Prime Minister’s “kind and humble words, and his humble spirit when I went to see him yesterday”.
He added: “But 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.”
Mr Johnson says the job of a prime minister is to keep going.
Mr Javid told the Commons that “enough is enough”.
He said: “This week again, we have reason to question the truth and integrity of what we’ve all been told. And at some point we have to conclude that enough is enough.
“I believe that point is now.”
Mr Johnson joked “there is a ready supply of skilled labour in the upper reaches of the Conservative Party” when he was asked about resignations.
His comment came as Labour’s Peter Dowd (Bootle) said: “Given that the Prime Minister doesn’t like walkouts and strikes, what legislation will he be introducing to stop further walkouts and strikes amongst his Cabinet colleagues and (junior) ministers?”
Mr Johnson replied: “I think that the whole House would have observed the brilliant performance on radio this morning by the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, and that’s no disrespect to the former chancellor of the exchequer, but what I think it shows is that, in common with many sectors of the UK economy, there is a ready supply of skilled labour in the upper reaches of the Conservative Party.”
Mr Javid told the Commons: “I also believe a team is as good as its team captain and a captain is as good as his or her team. So loyalty must go both ways.
“The events of recent months have made it increasingly difficult to be in that team.
“It’s not fair on ministerial colleagues to go out every morning defending lines that don’t stand up and don’t hold up.
“It’s not fair on my parliamentary colleagues who bear the brunt of constituents’ dismay in their inboxes and on the doorsteps in recent elections.
“And it’s not fair on Conservative members and voters who rightly expect better standards from the party they supported.”
Conservative former cabinet minister David Davis called on Mr Johnson to “put the interests of the nation before his own interests”.
The MP for Haltemprice and Howden said: “Six months ago I called on the Prime Minister to resign because even then it was clear that his approach to leadership and integrity was already creating a pipeline of problems that will paralyse proper government.
“Today I ask him to do the honourable thing, to put the interests of the nation before his own interests and before, in his own words, it does become impossible for government to do its job.”
Mr Johnson replied: “I just couldn’t disagree with him more. Look at what the Government is doing today, cutting taxes… we’ve just completed a programme to get half a million people off welfare into work, thanks to the strength of our economy.”
In his resignation statement, with Mr Johnson watching on, Mr Javid told MPs: “It is incumbent on all of us to set high standards for ourselves and to take action when they are not met by others.”
Former health secretary Sajid Javid, making a personal statement, said he is “instinctively a team player” but told the Commons: “Treading the tightrope between loyalty and integrity has become impossible in recent months.
“I will never risk losing my integrity.”
A Conservative MP has called for the Prime Minister to resign after citing an example of him constantly trying to blame other people for his mistakes.
Birmingham Northfield MP, and executive secretary of the 1922 Committee, Gary Sambrook, told MPs that in an “attempt to boost morale in the tearoom”, the Prime Minister said that “there were seven people, MPs, in the Carlton Club last week and one of them should have tried to intervene to stop Chris from drinking so much”.
He added: “As if that wasn’t insulting enough to the people who did try and intervene that night. And then also to the victims that drink was the problem.
“Isn’t it the example that the Prime Minister constantly tries to deflect from the issue, always tries to blame other people for mistakes, and that leaves nothing left for him to do other than to take responsibility and resign?”
His comment was met with an applause by the Opposition benches, which was immediately scolded by Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle.
Mr Johnson replied: “There is a very simple reason why they want me out, and that is because they know that otherwise we are going to get on and deliver our mandate and win another general election. And that is the reality.”
Stuart Andrew has resigned as housing minister, saying “our party, particularly our members, and more importantly our great country, deserve better”.
Kate Griffiths, the Tory MP for Burton and Staffordshire, has withdrawn her support for Mr Johnson, saying she is “furious” about this week’s Chris Pincher revelations and the Prime Minister should “do the right thing and allow the party to move forward”.
“As constituents know, I have supported the Prime Minister over recent months because I believe that he had got all the big decisions right and his leadership had steered us through some difficult times both home and abroad,” she said in a statement.
“I had hoped that following the confidence vote, we would be able to move ahead and tackle the crucial issues affecting us all. However, like many colleagues, I have had to reassess my position after events of the past couple of weeks.
“It is clear that under the Prime Minister we are not making the progress the country, and crucially, my constituents expect.
“As someone who has been the victim of abuse, at the hands of an MP who told me his position would mean no-one would believe me over him, I am furious that it has now come to light the Prime Minister was aware of the allegations against Chris Pincher, and promoted him to a Government position anyway.
“I promised I would be a voice for victims in Parliament and I cannot do that when the Prime Minister does not take these allegations seriously.
I hope the Prime Minister will do the right thing and allow the party to move forward and deliver what we set out to do.”
Mr Johnson tried to draw the focus back to efforts to help the economy as Mr Blackford told him “it really is over”.
The SNP MP said: “He really ought to see the faces behind him because, Prime Minister, it really is over. The Prime Minister is desperately clinging on to his own fantasy.
“But the public can’t afford to put up with this farce of a Government a minute longer. Today we should be talking about the Tory cost-of-living crisis, soaring inflation and the growing cost of Brexit. But, instead, it’s always about him.
“How many more ministers need to quit before he finally picks up his pen and writes his own resignation letter?”
The Prime Minister said he thought the question was “excellent when he was talking about the economy because that is the issue that the country faces”.
He added: “That is where this Government is introducing, I think, the most important (solutions), helping… families up and down the country with £1,200 going into their bank accounts right now, cutting taxes for 30 million people, £330 tax cut, and helping half a million people into work through the way to work scheme.
“That is a fantastic thing to be getting on and doing. That is the priority of this Government and that’s what I’m going to focus on. I’m glad he likes it.”
Mr Blackford said: “My goodness, nothing to see, we should all move on if we live in the world of the Prime Minister.”
The Prime Minister dismissed a question over reports that he wanted to build an expensive treehouse in the grounds of Chequers as “fantasy”.
Labour MP Matt Western (Warwick and Leamington) stressed that public-sector workers like teachers and nurses were struggling on current salaries.
He said: “They, and indeed working people everywhere, are struggling to pay their rents and their mortgages. Given they can barely afford a £150,000 mortgage on a new home, can he tell this House how he can afford a £150,000 treehouse?”
Mr Johnson replied: “What I can tell him is that up and down the country, rather than talking about fantasy infrastructure, I can tell him about real infrastructure, we are helping to unite and level up the people of this country with £650 billion of investment.”
Mr Johnson told MPs his job is to “keep going” after a Conservative backbencher asked in what circumstances he would resign.
Conservative former minister Tim Loughton asked: “Does the Prime Minister think there are any circumstances in which he should resign?”
The Prime Minister replied: “Clearly if there were circumstances in which I felt it was impossible for the Government to go on and discharge the mandate we have been given, or if I felt, for instance, we are being frustrated in our desire to support the Ukrainian people, or over some related point, then I would.
“But frankly, Mr Speaker, the job of a Prime Minister in difficult circumstances when he has been handed a colossal mandate is to keep going and that is what I am going to do.”
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford urged Mr Johnson to call a general election if he will not resign.
Asking his second question, Mr Blackford said: “A few weeks ago I compared the Prime Minister to Monty Python’s Black Knight, actually turns out I was wrong – he’s actually the dead parrot.
“Whether he knows it or not, he’s now an ex-prime minister. But he will leave behind two deeply damaging legacies. I hope the dishonesty of his leadership follows him out of the Downing Street door.”
Sir Keir said: “What a pathetic spectacle, the dying act of his career is to parrot that nonsense.
“As for those who are left – only in office because no-one else is prepared to debase themselves any longer. The charge of the lightweight brigade. Have some self-respect.
“For a week he’s had them defending his decision to promote a sexual predator… anyone with anything about them would be long gone from his frontbench. In the middle of a crisis, doesn’t the country deserve better than a Z list cast of nodding dogs?”
Mr Johnson replied: “It’s exactly when times are tough and when the country faces pressures on the economy and pressures on their budgets, and when we have the biggest war in Europe for 80 years, that is exactly the moment that you’d expect a Government to continue with its work, not to walk away, and to get on with our job and to focus on the things that matter to the people of this country.”
Sir Keir said: “Awful behaviour, unacceptable in any walk of life, it’s there for all to see but he ignores it.
“It was the same when his ally was on the take from the lobbyists. It was the same when his Home Secretary was bullying staff. It was the same when taxpayers’ money was being abused and it was the same when he and his mates partied their way through lockdown.
“Anyone quitting now after defending all that hasn’t got a shred of integrity. Isn’t this the first recorded case of the sinking ships fleeing the rats?”
Mr Johnson replied: “He talks about integrity and he wanted to install the member for Islington North (Jeremy Corbyn) into Number 10… imagine what our country, what the world, would be like now.
“He voted 48 times to overturn the will of the British people and take us back into the EU.”
Mr Johnson told MPs: “The job of a Prime Minister in difficult circumstances when he has been handed a colossal mandate is to keep going and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Mr Johnson said that in “hindsight” he should have realised that Chris Pincher would have not changed.
His comments came as Sir Keir asked him: “No denial, and he says the matter was resolved when he means it was upheld.
“They’re all sitting there as if this is normal behaviour. When that young man reported his attack to a Government whip, she asked him if he was gay. When he said that he was, she replied ‘that doesn’t make it straightforward’.
“Will he apologise for those disgraceful comments on behalf of this Government?”
The Prime Minister replied: “I have already said that I regret very much that the member for Tamworth continued to hold office after the complaint was made against him in the Foreign Office, and it was resolved in the Foreign Office, his apology was accepted, but clearly that was not enough. And, in hindsight, I should have realised that he would not change.”
However, Mr Johnson insisted that when he was given the information that Sir Keir read out about the complaint that was made he “acted immediately”.
The Labour leader asked: “None of that explains why he promoted him in the first place. And we have heard it all before. We know who he really is. Before he was found out, he has reported to have said, ‘he is handsy. That’s the problem. Pincher by name, pincher by nature’.
“Now, has the Prime Minister ever said words to that effect? And I’m not asking for bluster and half-truth. We’ve all had enough of that. Yes or no?”
The Prime Minister replied: “I am not going to trivialise what happened. Yes, because the very serious complaints have been raised against the member for Tamworth, and they’re now being investigated. It is true. It is true that the complaint was raised when he was in the Foreign Office and the matter was resolved. It is absolutely true.
“It’s absolutely true that it was raised with me. I greatly regret that he continued in office, and I have said that. I have said that before. I have said that before, but it is now a subject of an independent investigation, and that is the right thing.”
Opening Prime Minister’s questions, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer read out the testimony of a man who accused a Conservative former minister of sexual assault.
After reading out the evidence of the man who accused Tamworth MP Christopher Pincher of assault, Sir Keir said: “I accept that is not easy listening, but it is a reminder to all those propping up this Prime Minister just how serious this situation is.
“He knew the accused minister had previously committed predatory behaviour but he promoted him to a position of power anyway. Why?”
Mr Johnson replied that Mr Pincher no longer had his Government job or the Conservative whip.
The Prime Minister added: “I want to say to him that I abhor bullying and abuse of power anywhere in Parliament, in this party or in any other party.”
Mick Whelan, general secretary of the train drivers’ union Aslef, said: “It is clear to even the most fervent fan of Boris Johnson, as it has been clear to many of us for years, that there is a moral vacuum at the heart of Government.
“With even previously loyal ministers deserting the sinking ship, it is time for the Prime Minister to do the right thing and step down. Not so much for the party – which is uppermost in the minds of most of those Tory MPs who have called on him to – but for the country.
“Nadhim Zahawi and Steve Barclay should be careful, as they accept promotion by a discredited PM, revealed as a serial liar, that they do not get tarnished by the Boris Johnson brush.”
Ms Churchill said in her resignation letter to the Prime Minister: “Recent events have shown integrity, competence, and judgment are all essential to the role of Prime Minister, while a jocular self-serving approach is bound to have its limitations.
“Our beloved country is facing an uncertain future and strong headwinds, a clear, self-less vision is needed. The country and party deserve better and so with a heavy heart I have decided to resign.”
Jo Churchill has resigned as a minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
In a tweet she said: “It is with a heavy heart that I have this morning tendered my resignation to the Prime Minister. I will not be doing media interviews on this matter.”
Boris Johnson has arrived in the Commons chamber for Prime Minister’s Questions.
Robin Walker said he fears Mr Johnson has become a “distraction” from the Government delivering on its priorities.
He told Times Radio: “I want, absolutely, (the) Conservative government to be able to deliver on the priorities for which we were elected, but I fear that, sadly, Boris Johnson has now become a distraction from that.
“I do think we now need to move forward and find a new leader who can bring the party together and deliver on those key priorities that I think the public really want to see us focusing on.”
In her letter of resignation, MP for Louth and Horncastle Victoria Atkins said: “It is with sadness and regret that I resign as Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice.
“Values such as integrity, decency, respect and professionalism should matter to us all. I have watched with growing concern as those values have fractured under your leadership, through Paterson, partygate and Pincher. I have given you the benefit of the doubt at each turn, out of loyalty to you as Prime Minister and to our great party.
“The events of this week, however, have made these contortions impossible. The casual mistreatment of Minister Will Quince and the revelations contained in Lord McDonald’s letter highlight just how far your government has fallen from these ideals. I can no longer pirouette around our fractured values. We can and must be better than this.
“This is at a time when our constituents face grave cost-of-living pressures not experienced for decades. These challenges demand resolute focus and we must take the country with us. We cannot provide that focus at present.”
Robin Walker said it would be “sensible” for Mr Johnson to quit today after his own resignation as schools minister.
Asked what prompted him to step down, he said the departures of Mr Sunak and Mr Javid were “the straw that broke the camel’s back”.
He told Times Radio: “I think there’s been a hope for a long time that when the Prime Minister has said repeatedly that he was making changes at No 10, he was seeking to change the culture and move forward and focus on the people’s priorities, I like many others wanted to give him the opportunity to do that.
“But I think what we’ve seen is week after week, month after month, the revelations and the approach of decisions that have been made at the centre, and the way in which they’ve been made, have been undermining good colleagues who wants to deliver on those priorities.
“I think, for me, the resignations of Sajid and Rishi this week really were the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
Asked if the Prime Minister should quit today, he said: “I think that would be the sensible thing to do.”
Victoria Atkins has resigned as a justice minister, telling Boris Johnson “I can no longer pirouette around our fractured values” and “we can and must be better than this”.
Ipswich Conservative MP Tom Hunt has submitted a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister and called for him to resign, saying “events of the past week have been the straw that has broken the camel’s back”.
“I have come to the conclusion, like a large number of my colleagues, that it’s in the best interests of my constituents, the country and the Conservative Party for the Prime Minister to step down,” he said in a statement posted to Facebook.
“A continuation of the status quo cannot continue and, regretfully, I believe that the Prime Minister’s tenure in office has run its course. Up until now I’ve continued to support the Prime Minister… however, events of the past week have been the straw that has broken the camel’s back.
“In a sense, one of the worst things about the revelations at the Carlton Club last week was how unsurprising they were to many colleagues. I personally find it hard to believe that the Prime Minister wasn’t aware of the extent of concerns about the former deputy chief whip.
“I strongly believe that the situation which occurred last week could have been avoided and I also think that the handling of it subsequently was deeply disappointing.
“I foresee things descending to new depths and I do not think that under the Prime Minister’s leadership it will be possible to unite the Conservative Parliamentary Party and give us the best chance possible of winning the next general election.
“There is no good in blaming sections of the media for the situation we find ourselves in. They’ve been giving the ammunition time and time again.”
Lord Gavin Barwell said the departure of Mr Javid and Mr Sunak from the Cabinet will lead to more Conservatives losing faith in the Prime Minister.
The former chief of staff to Theresa May said he believed Mr Johnson could be gone by the summer, adding that the upcoming elections to the 1922 Committee may lead to a second vote of confidence before recess.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We’ve seen some further junior resignations this morning, we may soon be getting to a point where the Prime Minister is not going to be able to fill all the spots within the Government.
“I suspect what we will see is that the elections for the executive, the 1922 Committee, will give a majority to his opponents, they will change the rules and we may well have a ballot shortly before the summer recess.
“I find it very hard to believe that the resignation of two such senior ministers, who’ve clearly changed their minds since the confidence vote, isn’t going to lead to a significant number of MPs having changed their mind.”
In her letter of resignation, Kensington MP Felicity Buchan said: “It is with great sadness that I tender my resignation as Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
“It has been a huge honour to have served in this department at a time when energy security and the transition to net zero are so critical.
“However, I am afraid that you have lost the confidence of my constituents and me. The current situation is untenable.
“I believe passionately in Conservative values and want to ensure that we are implementing Conservative policies without distractions. That requires fresh leadership and it requires a new vision for the country. That vision must be a country of low taxes and high growth; we must be the party of aspiration.”
In his letter of resignation, Treasury minister John Glen, the Tory MP for Salisbury, said Mr Johnson’s “poor judgement” made it “impossible for me to square continued service with my conscience”.
“After much thought and with deep regret I must inform you that I have made the difficult decision to resign from the government,” he wrote.
“It has been a great privilege to serve as Economic Secretary to the Treasury under three Chancellors, but I can no longer reconcile my commitment to the role and to the financial services sector with the complete lack of confidence I have in your continuing leadership of our country.
“Recent events concerning the handling of the appointment of the former Deputy Chief Whip, and the poor judgement you have shown, have made it impossible for me to square continued service with my conscience.
“The country deserves better, and I must return to the backbenches to dedicate myself to the service of the people of Salisbury and South Wiltshire.”
Tory peer and pollster Lord Hayward said there is “absolutely no doubt” Boris Johnson has lost his “curious” attachment to the public.
He told Sky News: “I think this whole row is damaging the Conservative Party very badly.
“I’m not a great fan of snap polls, but YouGov’s poll overnight is absolutely clear – 54% of people who voted Conservative in 2019 are saying that Boris Johnson should go and just over 20% are saying he should stay.
“So there is absolutely no doubt that Boris Johnson, who had this curious built-in attachment to the public at large, has lost that link and lost it very clearly indeed.”
Kensington MP Felicity Buchan has resigned from her role as parliamentary private secretary to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
In a letter posted to Twitter, she said “the current situation is untenable”.
Treasury minister John Glen has resigned, telling Mr Johnson “I can no longer reconcile my commitment to the role” with “the complete lack of confidence I have in your continuing leadership of our country”.
New Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi called for unity in the Conservative Party.
Sir David Lidington added that the Government is at risk of losing the support of the electorate following the latest issues faced by the Conservative Party.
The former Cabinet Office minister told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The problem with the impact of partygate, Pincher and so on, people stop me in the high street and actually say they’ve always been Conservative voters but they no longer feel that the Government speaks for them.
“It’s thinking about the interests of people in the Government, and in-fighting, not about putting the country first.
“I think the credibility of the Government has been much more seriously and deeply damaged than some of the people around the Prime Minister in No 10 seem to think at the moment.”
Lee Anderson, the Tory MP elected in 2019 for the Red Wall seat of Ashfield, questioned the Prime Minister’s integrity as he withdrew support for Mr Johnson.
“I have remained loyal to the Prime Minister since being elected in 2019,” he said.
“However my position has changed over the past few days since the incident which led to the deputy chief whip (Chris Pincher) losing the party whip.”
He said giving Mr Pincher the job, having been told about earlier inappropriate behaviour, was “not a good appointment” by Mr Johnson.
He highlighted the initial denial that the Prime Minister had been told about earlier allegations and then the change in the Government’s position to say Mr Johnson simply forgot.
“I cannot look myself in the mirror and accept this. It is my belief that our PM has got all the big decisions right and guided us through the most difficult time in my life time and I have always backed him to the hilt.
“That said, integrity should always come first and sadly this has not been the case over the past few days.”