Five of the prime minister’s top advisers have resigned - leaving the prime minister battling to stay inside No 10.
Ministers tried to argue the exodus from senior aides was part of Boris Johnson “taking charge” as he faces a potential leadership challenge amid allegations of rule-breaking parties.
But Boris Johnson has reportedly rallied Downing Street staff following the departure of four senior aides, telling them “change is good”, his official spokesman said.
So, who are the advisers who have handed in their resignations - and what are their reasons?
Who are the advisers walking out on Boris Johnson?
Munira Mirza, director of the No 10 policy unit, quit first.
Ms Mirza had been one of Mr Johnson’s most loyal allies for more than a decade and was at his side when he was mayor of London.
Then chief of staff Dan Rosenfield, principal private secretary Martin Reynolds and director of communications Jack Doyle followed her out of the door on Thursday.
But it appeared that the resignations were not over, with the Conservative Home website reporting that Elena Narozanski has become the second adviser to quit the No 10 policy unit.
What might be the reasons for the No 10 aides resigning?
Ms Mirza reportedly left in anger over the prime minister’s use of a “scurrilous” Jimmy Savile smear against Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.
She resigned after he refused to apologise for deploying a widely-criticised and debunked claim that Sir Keir “used his time prosecuting journalists and failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile” while director of public prosecutions.
Meanwhile, Rosenfield, Reynolds and Doyle were embroiled in the “partygate” scandal and energy minister Greg Hands suggested their departures were linked to a clear-out after civil servant Sue Gray’s inquiry into the allegations.
Mr Reynolds’ resignation had been expected after he invited at least 100 staff to a “bring your own booze” party in the No 10 garden during the first lockdown.
Mr Rosenfield was also expected to go after Ms Gray’s update on her investigation into partygate criticised “failures of leadership”.
In a resignation speech to staff reported by his former employer the Daily Mail, Mr Doyle said “recent weeks have taken a terrible toll on my family life”.
He is reported to have attended at least two of the 12 lockdown-breaching events in Downing Street and wider government that are being investigated by police.
But the timing of their resignations after Ms Mirza’s damaging departure prompted suggestions the announcement had been brought forward.
What’s been said about the resignations?
Senior Tory MP Huw Merriman, who chairs the Commons Transport Committee, said he was “deeply troubled” by the situation, and told Mr Johnson to improve or leave Downing Street for good.
No 10 did not immediately comment on the reported resignation of Ms Narozanski.
Former No 10 aide Nikki da Costa said Ms Narozanski is “one of the most principled women I know”, adding: “Another big loss to the policy unit.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak publicly criticised the Prime Minister’s remarks over Jimmy Saville in a broadcast from No 10 on the cost of living crisis, saying: “I wouldn’t have said it.”
Will there be a vote of no confidence against the prime minister?
The departures piled fresh pressure on the Prime Minister as he battles to remain in charge, with 13 Conservative MPs publicly calling for his resignation over partygate.
More are believed to have done so privately but the number of letters to the chair of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tories has not yet hit the 54 required to trigger a no-confidence vote.
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