Downing St crisis
‘It feels like the end’ say Tory MPs as fifth aide quits
Boris Johnson’s future as Prime Minister was looking increasingly shaky today as a fifth aide was said to have resigned amid speculation that some ministers may also quit.
Elena Narozanski, a member of the Number 10 Policy Unit, resigned this morning, according to the Conservative Home website.
Members of the Cabinet are now saying if “feels like the end” and that there is a 50/50 chance the PM will be forced out.
Mr Johnson’s allies insist that the departures are evidence that he is “taking charge” and that Downing Street will emerge with a stronger and more disciplined team.
But the overwhelming view in Westminster is that Mr Johnson cannot survive the ongoing drip feed of negative stories and the departure of key staff from Number Ten.
Downing Street announced that the PM’s chief of staff Dan Rosenfield and private secretary Martin Reynolds will be leaving. That came after the departure of his communications chief Jack Doyle and the resignation of one of his closest allies, policy chief Munira Mirza.
She was angered that Mr Johnson did not take her advice after he claimed that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer had failed to prosecute the paedophile TV presenter Jimmy Savile.
Miss Mirza, who had worked with Mr Johnson for 14 years, revealed she had issued him with an ultimatum over his controversial attack on Sir Keir about the failure of the Crown Prosecution Service to bring charges against Savile.
In a partial climbdown yesterday, the PM said he had not been referring to the Labour leader’s “personal record” in his Savile remarks.
But, in an extraordinary resignation letter, Ms Mirza said his words fell short of the apology she had demanded, adding: “You are a better man than many of your detractors will ever understand, which is why it is desperately sad that you let yourself down by making a scurrilous accusation against the Leader of the Opposition.”
It has been claimed that the Prime Minister had to convince minister Alex Chalk, the solicitor-general, not to resign as a number of Tory MPs call for Mr Johnson to go. The threshold for triggering a vote of no-confidence is 54 letters.
Energy Minister Greg Hands told Sky News this morning that the changes in Number 10 are evidence of the PM ‘taking charge’ following the publication of Sue Gray’s Partygate ‘update’ which criticised the leadership and culture in Downing Street.
“The Prime Minister was absolutely clear on Monday that there would be changes at the top of No 10 and that is what he has delivered,” said Mr Hands.
Munira Mirza’s letter: