Four senior aides to Boris Johnson have resigned from their Downing Street roles within hours of one another as the Prime Minister’s administration was plunged into further turmoil.
Mr Johnson’s principal private secretary Martin Reynolds, chief of staff Dan Rosenfield and head of communications Jack Doyle have all resigned from their Downing Street posts.
Their resignations came just hours after Munira Mirza, who was a long-term ally of Mr Johnson, quit from her role as head of policy in Number 10 as a result of claims the Prime Minister has made in relation to Sir Keir Starmer’s role in the failure to prosecute Jimmy Savile.
The resignations then continued into Friday (4 February), with the Conservative Home website reporting that Elena Narozanski has become the second adviser to quit the No 10 policy unit following Ms Mirza.
At a glance: 5 key points
- More of Mr Johnson’s senior aides have quit from their Downing Street, with Martin Reynolds, Dan Rosenfield and Jack Doyle all tendering their resignations
- Ms Mirza resigned earlier today as the Prime Minister’s head of policy in a shock move
- She has been a long-term ally of Mr Johnson however, she said that she made her decision to quit after the Prime Minister claimed that Sir Keir was personally responsible for the failure to prosecute Jimmy Savile
- Mr Reynolds, Mr Rosenfield and Mr Doyle have so far not given a reason for their resignations
- The situation has put pressure on Mr Johnson, who is already battling calls for his resignation after Sue Gray published her limited findings on the ‘partygate’ scandal
Who has resigned from Downing Street?
Resignations came thick and fast on Thursday (3 February) evening.
While he had already been hit by the shock resignation of Ms Mirza earlier in the day, Mr Doyle was the next senior aide to quit from his post of Head of Communications.
Shortly after this, Mr Rosenfield tendered his resignation from his post as Chief of Staff, with Mr Reynolds quitting as Mr Johnson’s Principal Private Secretary.
Mr Reynolds was embroiled in the ‘partygate’ scandal after an email written by him inviting around 100 staff to a “bring your own booze” gathering in the Number 10 garden in May 2020 was leaked.
The reason for either Mr Doyle’s, Mr Rosenfield’s or Mr Reynold’s resignation has not been made public.
A No 10 spokesman said: “Jack Doyle has left government. He has made a huge contribution and the Prime Minister is immensely grateful for the work he has done.”
Later, a Number 10 spokeswoman added: “Dan Rosenfield offered his resignation to the Prime Minister earlier today, which has been accepted.
“Martin Reynolds also informed the Prime Minister of his intention to stand down from his role as Principal Private Secretary and the Prime Minister has agreed to this.
“He has thanked them both for their significant contribution to government and No 10, including work on the pandemic response and economic recovery.
“They will continue in their roles while successors are appointed, and recruitment for both posts is underway.”
Mr Reynolds will move from his current role back to a Foreign Office role, Downing Street has confirmed.
Why did Munira Mirza quit?
Earlier today Ms Mirza issued her resignation from her head of policy post.
She explained her reasons in a letter in The Spectator, saying: “I believe it was wrong for you to imply this week that Keir Starmer was personally responsible for allowing Jimmy Savile to escape justice.”
Mr Johnson had earlier this week claimed that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer “used his time prosecuting journalists and failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile” while he served as Director of Public Prosecutions and Head of the Crown Prosecution Service between 2008 and 2013.
The Prime Minister did not apologise but later clarified his comments, saying: “Let’s be absolutely clear, I’m talking not about the Leader of the Opposition’s personal record when he was DPP and I totally understand that he had nothing to do personally with those decisions.
“I was making a point about his responsibility for the organisation as a whole.
“I really do want to clarify that because it is important.”
Ms Mirza continued in her letter: “There was no fair or reasonable basis for that assertion. This was not the usual cut and thrust of politics; it was an inappropriate and partisan reference to a horrendous case of child sex abuse. You tried to clarify your position today but, despite my urging, you did not apologise for the misleading impression you gave.
“You are a better man than many of your detractors will ever understand which is why it is so desperately sad that you let yourself down by making a scurrilous accusation against the Leader of the Opposition.
“I appreciate that our political culture is not forgiving when people say sorry, but regardless, it is the right thing to do. It is not too late for you but, I’m sorry to say, it is too late for me.”
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our email newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day.