Nadhim Zahawi new Chancellor as Boris Johnson forced into reshuffle

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Nadhim Zahawi leaves No 10 on Tuesday night as the new Chancellor - REUTERS
Nadhim Zahawi leaves No 10 on Tuesday night as the new Chancellor - REUTERS

Nadhim Zahawi is the new Chancellor, Downing Street has confirmed, as Boris Johnson reshuffles his broken Cabinet.

He will move from the post of education secretary, to be replaced by Universities Minister Michelle Donelan.

Steve Barclay is understood to have become the new Health Secretary.

The PM is tonight fighting for his political life after the shock departures of Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid. Both camps insisted their exits, which blindsided No 10 late this afternoon, were not coordinated.

In a highly critical resignation letter, Mr Javid wrote: "[The confidence vote] was a moment for humility, grip and new direction.

"I regret to say, however, that it is clear to me that this situation will not change under your leadership - and you have therefore lost my confidence too."

Meanwhile, Mr Sunak said the public "need to know that whilst there is a path to a better future, it is not an easy one... In preparation for our proposed joint speech on the economy next week, it has become clear to me that our approaches are fundamentally too different."

Just minutes earlier, Mr Johnson had admitted it was a "mistake" to appoint Chris Pincher, the former deputy chief whip, at a time he had already been briefed about allegations surrounding inappropriate sexual behaviour.

11:07 PM

And that's all for today...

Boris Johnson has rarely followed political convention. Normally, losing a Health Secretary and Chancellor in a matter of minutes would prove terminal for any occupant of No 10.

Not so for the PM, who on Tuesday night reshuffled his team with Nadhim Zahawi in taking control of the public purse and Steven Barclay becoming the new Health Secretary.

After a planned joint speech was delayed by several weeks, Rishi Sunak told Mr Johnson the gap between their visions for the country was just too great to bridge.

And Sajid Javid took aim at what he suggested was a lack of humility from the Prime Minister in the wake of last month's confidence vote, where 148 Tory MPs opposed him.

Tonight, many more have come out to withdraw their support for Mr Johnson, or repeat their calls for him to go. Four Parliamentary Private Secretaries have resigned. The vice-chairman of the Tory Party decided he would quit not via a tweet, but on live television.

All of this adds up to a comprehensive crisis which could signal the beginning of the end for the Johnson premiership. Can he defy political gravity once again? Join Jack Maidment bright and early tomorrow for all the latest.

11:00 PM

Another resignation as Solicitor General quits

Alex Chalk, the Solicitor General, has just become the third Government minister to quit today.

Mr Chalk, who serves under Suella Braverman, the Attorney General, announced his resignation citing the "cumulative effect of the Owen Paterson debacle, Partygate and now the handling of the former Deputy Chief Whip's resignation".

10:55 PM

Four jobs in a year for Barclay

Steve Barclay said it was "an honour" to take up the role of Health Secretary.

Mr Barclay, who replaces Sajid Javid, said: "This government is investing more than ever before in our NHS and care services to beat the Covid backlogs, recruit 50,000 more nurses, reform social care and ensure patients across the country can access the care they need."

The Telegraph's Ben Riley-Smith points out that it is the fourth different job for Mr Barclay, the MP for North East Cambridgeshire, in less than a year:

10:50 PM

Another resignation as trade envoy quits

Stafford MP Theo Clarke has resigned as trade envoy to Kenya, telling Boris Johnson in a letter he showed a "severe lack of judgment" over appointing Chris Pincher deputy chief whip.

She wrote: "As a loyal member of the Conservative Party, I have always supported this Government, and I have supported you personally over the past few years, including campaigning for you in both of your London mayoral campaigns. However, I no longer have confidence in your leadership.

"As one of the Party's new female MPs and a member of the Women and Equalities Select Committee, I take allegations of sexual misconduct very seriously.

"To learn that you chose to elevate a colleague to a position of pastoral care for MPs, whilst in full knowledge of his own wrongdoing, shows a severe lack of judgment and care for your Parliamentary party. I was shocked to see colleagues defending the Government with assurances that have turned out to be false. This is not the way that any responsible Government should act."

Theo Clarke MP
Theo Clarke MP

10:30 PM

Lord Frost calls for Johnson to go

Lord Frost, the former Brexit minister who under Boris Johnson negotiated Britain's departure from the European Union, had told the prime minister it is time to quit.

Writing in The Telegraph, Lord Frost said Mr Johnson has lost his confidence following the Chris Pincher affair:

“Confronted with a problem which appeared to reflect badly on the Prime Minister’s judgment, we saw once again the instinct was to cover up, to conceal, to avoid confronting the reality of the situation. Once again that instinct, not the issue itself, has become the story and the problem. Worse, this time round, ministers have been sent out repeatedly to defend suspect positions that came apart under closer examination. This is no way to run a government.”

Read more: Lord Frost: It is time for Boris Johnson to go

10:23 PM

Labour: Zahawi is an opportunist

Labour's shadow chancellor has accused Nadhim Zahawi of opportunism after he became the new Chancellor on Tuesday night.

The Labour MP tweeted on Tuesday evening that Mr Zahawi and the Cabinet were propping up a "failing Prime Minister".

"A new Tory Chancellor appointed. Tory ministers and MPs continue to prop up a failing Prime Minister," she said.

"Our country and our economy needs leaders that will act in our best interests. It's clear that the Prime Minister and Chancellor are only acting in theirs".

10:16 PM

New Education Secretary leaves No 10

Michelle Donelan will take over from Nadhim Zahawi as Education Secretary, stepping up from her role as universities ministers.

She smiled for photographers as she left No 10 on Tuesday night with her new job.

Michelle Donelan - GETTY IMAGES
Michelle Donelan - GETTY IMAGES

10:13 PM

70pc of Britons want Johnson gone

Seven in 10 Britons say Boris Johnson should resign, according to a snap YouGov poll of more than 3,000 people.

YouGov said that is an 11-point rise on the number of people in favour of the Prime Minister's resignation when last asked on June 9.

But just 21 per cent of people polled said they thought Mr Johnson will resign.

Meanwhile nearly six in 10 (56 per cent) people said they thought Rishi Sunak was right to resign as chancellor.

10:07 PM

And another one...

09:59 PM

Big promotion for Zahawi

Nadhim Zahawi steps up to Chancellor, a rapid rise for the former Education Secretary and Boris loyalist who has been in the Cabinet barely a year.

Mr Zahawi was appointed vaccines minister in November 2020 and was rewarded for the success of the scheme with the education brief, replacing Gavin Williamson last September. He also served as under-secretary for children and families under Theresa May.

Mr Zahawi on his way in to No 10 on Tuesday nigt - GETTY IMAGES
Mr Zahawi on his way in to No 10 on Tuesday nigt - GETTY IMAGES

09:33 PM

Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid hope that by wielding the knife, they will wear the crown

By resigning within minutes of each other, Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak jointly wielded the knife, and they no doubt hope that in doing so one of them will get to wear the crown.

The hesitancy of Cabinet ministers to lead the charge against Boris Johnson in recent months has been put down to the belief that direct challengers never get the top job. Lord Heseltine’s humiliation after he forced out Margaret Thatcher cast a long shadow over the Conservative Party.

But if Mr Johnson is, ultimately, toppled as a result of Tuesday’s events, it will be impossible to pinpoint whether it was Mr Javid, who quit first, or Mr Sunak, the senior man, who started the landslide.

Both harbour ambitions of becoming the next prime minister, and both will now be calculating that by sharing responsibility for an attempted coup they will avoid the fate of Lord Heseltine and go on to lead the country.

Gordon Rayner has this analysis

09:18 PM

Meanwhile PM's predecessor is out on the town...

Theresa May is at the Royal Opera House with her husband tonight to watch Pagliacci, which translates from Italian to 'Clowns'.

It ends in destruction and misery, with the famous final line "la commedia è finita" – "the comedy is finished".

09:09 PM

Camilla Tominey: At last, the curtain call for the PM

They say it ain’t over until the fat lady sings, but in the end Boris Johnson’s problem was that he was humming a different tune to the rest of his Cabinet.

Like a toddler with his fingers stuck in his ears, screaming: “La, la, la”, the Prime Minister appeared tone deaf to the disquiet among colleagues over his failure to hit the right note in response to a string of scandals.

After the savageries of partygate, only a pitch perfect response to the resignation of Chris Pincher, the deputy chief whip,  would do.

Yet instead what they got today was a Rocky Horror Show with Mr Johnson stuck in a Time Warp of self-delusion. Everyone else could see the show was over but – ever the showman – the Prime Minister was hoping for some sort of cake-and-eat it encore.

Camilla Tominey: PM's performance found wanting at every turn

08:59 PM

Virginia Crosbie becomes fourth PPS to resign tonight

Virginia Crosbie has not exactly held back in her resignation letter as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Welsh Office.

"The party I love, and this government are now facing distraction, scandal, and allegations of cover up," she writes.

"I know the Conservative Party and this government are not broken at the core, but I believe they are now broken at the top... You have achieved much, but I have no confidence you can achieve anything further other than leading the party into opposition and further debasing the office you have the honour to hold."

08:58 PM

You'll be greatly missed, Johnson tells Sunak and Javid

Downing Street has tonight published Boris Johnson's letters sent in response to Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak's resignations this evening.

"You will be greatly missed, and I look forward to your contribution from the backbenches," Mr Johnson wrote to Mr Javid.

And to Mr Sunak, he recapped the economic decisions - such as furlough - he has taken in the last couple of years, and praised him for not shying "from the tough decisions needed" to repair the public purse.

"I have enormously valued your advice and deep commitment to public service and will miss working with you in government."

08:56 PM

Steve Barclay in as Health Secretary

Steve Barclay will replace Sajid Javid as Health Secretary, Whitehall sources have confirmed to the Press Association.

Of course, this means Downing Street will need a new Chief of Staff...

Our own Christopher Hope got there first with the news.

08:49 PM

Donelan and Zahawi currently inside No 10

Michelle Donelan, the universities minister who has been hotly tipped as a rising star of the Tory Party, entered 10 Downing Street moments after Nadhim Zahawi.

The scene as Nadhim Zahawi entered No 10 earlier - Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
The scene as Nadhim Zahawi entered No 10 earlier - Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Like Mr Zahawi, she did not make any comment to reporters gathered outside.

08:43 PM

Boris going nowhere - unless he has to

Boris Johnson is moving quickly tonight to fill the vacancies in his Cabinet right now, writes Christopher Hope.

He is going nowhere unless he is forced out his own MPs.

08:42 PM

Breaking: Steve Barclay expected to be confirmed as Health Secretary

Steve Barclay is the new Health Secretary, writes our own Christopher Hope.

More to follow.

08:37 PM

Argar to step up to the plate?

Tony Diver, our Whitehall Correspondent, is hearing Edward Argar's name being put around as a possible Health Secretary.

He's currently a health minister and generally rated in Whitehall.

Previously in a junior role at the Department for Justice, he has been in his current health minister post since September 2019.

08:35 PM

Nadhim Zahawi goes into Downing Street...

... but as this video clip shows, he's not in a talkative mood:

08:31 PM

Breaking: Nicola Richards becomes third Parliamentary Private Secretary to quit

This takes us up to three Parliamentary Private Secretaries to have resigned and seven resignations in total on this not-so-quiet Tuesday evening.

The sun is still shining in Westminster but things could hardly look stormier for this Prime Minister...

08:27 PM

How Boris Johnson's Cabinet reacted to Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid's resignations

Boris Johnson is facing fresh questions about his leadership on Tuesday after members of his Cabinet resigned over the handling of the Chris Pincher sexual allegations.

Rishi Sunak quit as Chancellor and Sajid Javid resigned as Health Secretary just moments after Mr Johnson admitted it had been a "mistake" to appoint Mr Pincher, the former deputy chief whip, at a time he had already been briefed about allegations surrounding inappropriate sexual behaviour.

Sajid Javid - Justin Tallis/AFP
Sajid Javid - Justin Tallis/AFP

Sir Keir Starmer has since called on members of the Cabinet to resign and when asked if Mr Johnson was a "pathological liar," he said: "Yes, he's a liar."

Other members will now be evaluating if they still have faith in the PM. Mason Boycott-Owen looks at how they have responded so far.

08:25 PM

I'll fight on as a Tory MP, says Angela Richardson

08:20 PM

Sir Keir Starmer: Let's have an election

It is unsurprising Labour are taking all of this in their stride - with Sir Keir Starmer saying he would back an election being called as soon as next week as a "fresh start for Britain".

"He is unfit to be Prime Minister. He is not fit to govern the country," Sir Keir said in a broadcast clip.

Sir Keir Starmer will be wanting an election sooner rather than later as he seeks to capitalise on internal Tory divisions - Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament/Handout via Reuters
Sir Keir Starmer will be wanting an election sooner rather than later as he seeks to capitalise on internal Tory divisions - Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament/Handout via Reuters

"That is dawning on many people across the Conservative party, but they have to reflect on that, that they have backed him for months and months and months.

"Resigning today means nothing against their complicity for all those months when they should have seen him for what he was, they knew who he was."

08:17 PM

'I think it should now be clear to everyone that the Prime Minister must go'

Plenty of Tory MPs are taking the opportunity to tell everyone that they have already submitted a letter of no confidence to the 1922 committee, our Chief Political Correspondent Camilla Turner points out.

One of these is Jo Gideon, who never publicly called for Mr Johnson to go over partygate - but now reveals she was one of at least 54 MPs who wrote to Sir Graham Brady to call for him to quit:

08:15 PM

PM's Pincher response a 'minor mistake' - JRM

Jacob Rees-Mogg has said Boris Johnson has done nothing more than make a "minor mistake".

Addressing the PM's handling of claims about Chris Pincher, the Brexit opportunities minister told Sky News: "There are rumours that swirl around and some of them are false and some of them turn out to be true.

"But a prime minister cannot possibly govern and appoint on the basis of rumour. It simply wouldn't be just."

He said Mr Johnson could not be "expected to remember every last detail" after it emerged the Prime Minister was briefed about allegations facing Mr Pincher back in 2019.

08:10 PM

Therese Coffey stared at the PM's neck, wondering what it would look like with her hands around it

Kudos to anyone who has said "he's finished" in the past three years, because it looks like you're finally right, writes Tim Stanley.

The end was inevitable; the circumstances are a surprise. Boris could've sunk on the iceberg of partygate. Instead he ran aground on an ice cube called Chris Pincher.

At dawn, Dominic Raab got a call on the Bat Phone:

"Boris is in trouble, it's your turn to defend him."

"Yes, sensei!"

Tim Stanley: It's every man for himself as Boris's ship sinks

08:07 PM

The runners and riders who could replace Boris Johnson as the next Tory leader

Boris Johnson’s premiership has been rocked by the resignation of two of his most senior Cabinet ministers within moments of each other.

Tonight the Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, announced he was standing down, closely followed by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak. Mr Javid said he can "no longer continue in good conscience".

Moments later, Rishi Sunak said the public "rightly expect Government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously".

Both resignations came just minutes after the Prime Minister attempted to draw a line under the Chris Pincher scandal by apologising for appointing him as deputy chief whip and admitting it was a "mistake" to hand him a ministerial post despite the allegations about his conduct.

Click here to read the full list

08:04 PM

'I stand with colleagues' who have quit, says Tory MP

Angela Richardson, who resigned from her role over partygate, said she "stands with" her colleagues - six of them so far - who have quit their positions tonight.

"Rather than wrapping myself in the Westminster bubble I've regularly knocked doors in my patch and in many by-elections over many months," she said in a statement.

"I promised at hustings in 2019 to hold the PM to account. I no longer have a role to resign but stand with colleagues who do tonight."

08:01 PM

Therese pleased to stay on - aide

Therese Coffey is staying as Work and Pensions Sec, per her aide, confirms Ben Riley-Smith, our Political Editor.

07:55 PM

Two parliamentary private secretaries resign...

Saqib Bhatti has resigned as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Sajid Javid, writing:

The Conservative party has always been the party of integrity and honour but recent events have undermined trust and standards in public life. It is for this reason that sadly, I must resign.

And Jonathan Gullis, PPS to Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland Secretary, resigned "with a heavy heart":

I feel for far too long we have been more focused on dealing with our reputational damage than delivering for the people of this country and spreading opportunity for all, which is why I came into politics.

07:47 PM

In full: Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid’s resignation letters

Rishi Sunak has resigned as Chancellor, telling Boris Johnson that standards in Government are “worth fighting for”.

Mr Sunak resigned shortly after 6pm today, shortly after Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, had done so.

Sajid Javid was all smiles outside his family home this evening - Jamie Lorriman
Sajid Javid was all smiles outside his family home this evening - Jamie Lorriman

It leaves two major roles in Mr Johnson’s Cabinet empty and plunges the Prime Minister into one of the most serious crises of his leadership.

Here are both ministers’ resignation letters in full

07:36 PM

Breaking: Bim Afolami quits live on television

Bim Afolami, the Conservative Party vice-chair, has resigned from his position live on television.

"I don't think the Prime Minister any longer has not just my support but he doesn't have I don't think the support of the party or the country any more," he told Talk TV. "I think for that reason he should step down."

Asked if he resigning as vice-chairman, he said: "You have to resign, because I can't serve under the Prime Minister. But I say that with regret because this Government's done some great things.

"I think the Prime Minister's got a strong legacy in a huge range of areas... I think it's become clear, particularly after losing the support of two of his closest Cabinet colleagues that the time has come for him to stand down."

That leaves the Tories without a vice-chairman as well as a chairman after Oliver Dowden quit last month.

07:32 PM

Jacob Rees-Mogg: Boris Johnson 'won a large mandate' and must stay

Jacob Rees-Mogg has insisted Boris Johnson "won a large mandate" at the 2019 election and "that should not be taken away from him" because of Cabinet resignations.

He says Sir Roger Gale (see 7.22pm) "has never been a fan of the Prime Minister's" and speaks to the "broad church" of the Conservative Party.

"The Prime Minister won the [2019] vote and the thing about democracy is if you won the vote, you won the vote."

Mr Rees-Mogg notes some former prime ministers have survived resignations in far greater numbers.

Nadine Dorries, the Culture Secretary, has also affirmed her loyalty via Twitter.

07:29 PM

OUT! Our very own Matt's view...

Matt
Matt

07:28 PM

Downing Street takes delivery of a takeaway...

The scene at No 10 as emergency supplies of Wagamama's arrive at the scene - Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
The scene at No 10 as emergency supplies of Wagamama's arrive at the scene - Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

07:25 PM

'I'm just going to spend some time with my family'

Returning home to a press pack outside his house, Sajid Javid - the now former health secretary - says: "Good evening, I'm just going to spend some time with my family. Thank you for coming."

07:22 PM

Alister Jack: I fully support the Prime Minister

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: "I fully support the Prime Minister. I am sorry to see good colleagues resign, but we have a big job of work to do, and that’s what we’re getting on with."

07:22 PM

'He may be gone by the summer recess'

Sir Roger Gale, who first submitted a no-confidence letter during the Dominic Cummings affair more than two months ago, has said Boris Johnson's handling of the Chris Pincher scandal is "beyond the pale".

"This has gone far enough, the Prime Minister has to go," he told Sky News.

On the 1922 Committee rules which currently afford the PM a year's protection, Sir Roger said: "It may take a bit of time, but I don't believe that Mr Johnson will be in office by the autumn, and he may be gone by the summer recess.

"If I was a Cabinet minister tonight - patently, there's no danger of that - but if I were a Cabinet minister, I would be gone by now."

07:16 PM

What a day tomorrow could be...

It's safe to say Boris Johnson has a difficult day ahead of him tomorrow.

He will first face Prime Minister's Questions at noon, followed by a combative two-hour session giving evidence to the cross-party liaison committee of MPs.

Some of Mr Johnson's most prominent Tory critics, including Tobias Ellwood, Tom Tugendhat and William Wragg, are all members of the committee.

They already had quite a choice of questions, and tonight's developments will only add to the pressure on the PM to stand his ground while giving more ammunition to his political opponents.

07:10 PM

Sir Ed Davey: Boris Johnson has got to go

Sir Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat leader, has said Boris Johnson has "got to go" and accused him of a "Government of chaos".

"Families and pensioners are facing a cost of living crisis with no Chancellor, and a healthcare crisis with no Health Secretary. While these crises have ripped through our country the cabinet have spent months trying to save Boris Johnson’s skin.

"The Conservative Party hold full responsibility for this failed government. Ministers are wrapped up in sleaze and scandal while the country has suffered.

“People have been taken for granted for too long, and it's time for a change.”

07:10 PM

'We will see how events unfold'

Sir Robert Syms, the Tory MP for Poole, speaks in the Commons to pay tribute to Rishi Sunak, praising his "interesting" schemes as Chancellor "where the software worked [and] people were helped".

"I think he was very creative in the way he handled a difficult situation. I know it isn't always easy for senior politicians to take decisions such as the ones taken today, but I wish him well... we will see how events unfold."

He adds: "Can I start [my statement] by taking a traditional Conservative position, I don't like windfall taxes."

07:08 PM

Not another one! Anthony Browne sends a second resignation letter

Anthony Browne has said he "fully supports" a 1922 Committee rule change in his second letter of no confidence to Sir Graham Brady within a month:

07:04 PM

Andrew Murrison resigns as trade envoy - albeit with a blurred photo

06:59 PM

Rishi resignation came as a 'shell-shock'

The news of Rishi Sunak's resignation tonight is said to have come as a shock to Treasury workers.

"Everyone is shell-shocked," said one.

06:56 PM

Some MPs are still backing Boris...

This from 2019 intake loyalist Brendan Clarke-Smith:

06:52 PM

Sunak and Javid 'did not coordinate'

It is claimed that Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid did not speak to each other before their resignations and that it was a coincidence they happened within 20 minutes of each other, writes Tony Diver, our Whitehall Correspondent.

Sajid Javid, Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson pictured in happer times last year - Leon Neal/Getty Images
Sajid Javid, Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson pictured in happer times last year - Leon Neal/Getty Images

06:48 PM

Starmer: The British public 'will not be fooled'

It is clear the Government is "now collapsing", Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said.

"Tory Cabinet ministers have known all along who this Prime Minister is," he said in a statement. "They have been his cheerleaders throughout this sorry saga...

"In doing so, they have been complicit every step of the way as he has disgraced his office and let down his country. If they had a shred of integrity they would have been gone months ago.

"The British public will not be fooled. The Tory Party is corrupted and changing one man won't fix that."

06:46 PM

PM 'has no dignity, he has no standards'

Boris Johnson will only "be thinking about how he can save Boris Johnson", a Labour shadow minister has claimed.

Jess Phillips, the shadow domestic violence and safeguarding minister, told Sky News: "Boris Johnson has no dignity, he has no standards. These things [resignations] don't affect in the same way that they affect others.

"So Boris Johnson will only be thinking about how he can save Boris Johnson and in that sense he's uniquely talented."

Ms Phillips said Mr Johnson's apology over his handling of allegations around Chris Pincher was not enough.

06:44 PM

More Tory backbenchers urge PM to go

Kevin Hollinrake, the MP for Thirsk and Malton, writes: "Very sorry to see the resignations of Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid - I am sure very difficult decisions, but the right ones.

"Loyalty to leadership is important, but trust in our leader is vital, sadly I see no way now of the PM rebuilding this."

Mr Hollinrake is far from one of the 'usual suspects' and had been supportive of the PM throughout partygate.

Meanwhile, Anthony Browne, MP for South Cambridgeshire, has said: "It is time for Boris to go.

"This is the letter of no confidence I sent Sir Graham Brady a month ago today, which helped trigger the last leadership. The latest revelations just confirm me in my view: he has to go."

06:42 PM

Unsurprisingly, Jacob Rees-Mogg is staying put

Jacob Rees-Mogg tells Sky News: "The PM won a mandate from the a British people and that is more powerful than cabinet ministers resigning."

06:32 PM

Call a general election, urge Scottish Labour

Anas Sarwar, the Scottish Labour leader, has described tonight's departures as "rats fleeing a sinking ship".

"Boris Johnson must resign and the Tories must call a general election," he wrote.

"Only Labour can replace this morally bankrupt and corrupt Tory government, and build a better future for the UK."

Let's see if Sir Keir Starmer follows suit with his demands for the PM to go to the country...

06:29 PM

'The PM must now resign', says veteran Tory MP of 25 years

"I voted against Boris Johnson in the recent confidence vote, and earlier today reiterated my concerns," writes Laurence Robertson, the veteran MP for Tewkesbury.

He had previously not gone over the top to criticise Boris Johnson over partygate.

"Resignations of Cabinet Ministers show others agree the issues over the past months have become a distraction from the challenges facing the country," he adds in a tweet.

"The PM must now resign."

06:27 PM

Ben Wallace and Kwasi Kwarteng to remain in Cabinet - reports

A source close to Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, tells the Times he is not resigning.

And a source close to Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, says he is staying loyal to the PM.

The same also goes for Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the International Trade Secretary. And sources confirm to the express Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, will also not be moved.

06:25 PM

'Honourable decisions made by honourable men'

Julian Knight, the chairman of the intelligence and security committee, writes on Twitter: "When you have individuals of the calibre of my friend Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak saying enough is enough, then I'm afraid the die is cast. It is time for the Party to take a new direction."

Meanwhile, Mark Harper, the former Chief Whip, adds: "Tonight we have seen leadership from Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid. Honourable decisions made by honourable men.

"The Conservative Party still has so much to offer to our country. It’s time for a fresh start."

06:24 PM

Raab isn't going anywhere

A spokesman for Dominic Raab tells Sky News: "Dom is loyal to the PM."

He is the first member of the Cabinet to publicly state his loyalty. Let's see who follows... and if anyone else follows Mr Javid and Mr Sunak out of the door.

06:22 PM

Analysis: The end of the road?

Boris Johnson has long been seen as a Houdini of Westminster, able to defy the odds and get out of seemingly impossible situations.

It is far harder to see how he gets out of this one. Only a matter of minutes after he apologised for appointing Chris Pincher as deputy chief whip when No 10 knew of accusations about his alleged behaviour, the PM lost both his Chancellor and his Health Secretary.

Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid - both highly respected by backbenchers - is a political body blow for Mr Johnson. It is hard to tell whether any more resignations will follow tonight, but it would not come as a surprise.

Are the ravens finally leaving the tower? Stay with us throughout the evening - and watch this space to see how a Prime Minister facing the biggest political crisis of his leadership reacts.

06:17 PM

Tory MPs react to shocking Javid departure

Gary Sambrook, who supported Boris Johnson over partygate in January, says of Sajid Javid's departure: "A principled resignation from a good man."

Angela Richardson, who quit Government over partygate, said Mr Javid had been "excellent in your work ensuring safety for women and children".

And Tobias Ellwood - ever a critical voice on the Tory backbenches - said: "It’s indeed time for a new direction. Let’s handle this change responsibly. The nation is watching."

06:14 PM

Rishi Sunak: 'To leave ministerial office is a serious matter'

To leave ministerial office is a serious matter at any time. For me to step down as Chancellor while the world is suffering the economic consequences of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and other serious challenges is a decision that I have not taken lightly. However, the public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously.

I recognise this may be my last ministerial job, but I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning. I have been loyal to you. I backed you to become Leader of our Party and encouraged others to do so. I have served as your Chancellor with gratitude that you entrusted me with stewardship of the nation’s economy and finances.

Our country is facing immense challenges. We both want a low-tax, high-growth economy, and world class public services, but this can only be responsibly delivered if we are prepared to work hard, make sacrifices and take difficult decisions.

06:13 PM

Rishi Sunak's comments as he resigns...

The public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously.

I recognise this may be my last ministerial job, but I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning.

I am sad to be leaving Government but I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that we cannot continue like this.

06:12 PM

Breaking: Another one - Rishi Sunak resigns as well!

06:10 PM

'I'm sorry for those who have been badly affected' - but PM denies lying

Boris Johnson has denied lying to his aides about what he knew when around allegations regarding Chris Pincher.

"Let me explain what happened. We are talking about a series of appointments over seven years.

"Chris Pincher came into government as deputy chief whip before I became Prime Minister, he was move to the Foreign Office, he then went on to be a minister for housing and we then moved him back to be deputy chief whip.

"About two and a half years ago I got this complaint, it was something that was only raised with me very cursorily but I wish that we had, I in particular, had acted on it and that he had not continued in government because he then went on, I'm afraid, to behave, as far as we can see, according to the allegations that we have, very, very badly.

"I'm sorry for those who have been badly affected by it."

06:05 PM

Sajid Javid's resignation letter in full

The Health Secretary writes: "I have spoken to the Prime Minister to tender my resignation as Secretary of State for Health & Social Care.

"It has been an enormous privilege to serve in this role, but I regret that I can no longer continue in good conscience."

06:03 PM

Breaking: 'It was a mistake' to appoint Chris Pincher, admits Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has admitted "it was a mistake" to give scandal-hit former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher his Government role in February, and said: "I apologise for it."

More to follow.

05:55 PM

Analysis: Could tonight see another blow for No 10?

Rumours and speculation are swirling in the corridors of Westminster about possible ministerial resignations tonight, although we should caveat that with nothing having been confirmed.

Any departures would further weaken Boris Johnson's authority after a torrid week marred by the ever-changing Downing Street response to allegations about Chris Pincher.

Watch this space to see whether there are any further developments or major shocks tonight.

05:38 PM

The ministers wheeled out to respond to Chris Pincher scandal and what they said

Leading Conservatives taking to the airwaves since the Chris Pincher scandal have been repeatedly quizzed on what the Prime Minister knew and Number 10’s response to the crisis.

Dominic Raab - Justin Tallis/AFP
Dominic Raab - Justin Tallis/AFP

Here is what each minister said

05:27 PM

How No 10's story has changed over the Chris Pincher scandal

Downing Street has been urged to “come clean” about what the Prime Minister knew about Chris Pincher as he comes under growing pressure over the handling of the affair.

On Monday morning Boris Johnson was accused of "telling the truth and crossing your fingers at the same time" over its handling of the scandal.

But how exactly has Number Ten’s story changed?

Here, Camilla Turner examines the key claims that have been made ever since the story first broke on Thursday night.

05:14 PM

Nick Gibb: 'I think the public have lost trust in the PM'

Nick Gibb has joined the ranks of Tory MPs urging the Cabinet to act against Boris Johnson.

Mr Gibb, who called for the PM to go over the partygate scandal, told BBC Radio 4: "I have lost trust in the Prime Minister and I think now it is for the cabinet to stand up for what they believe in as well.

"I think now the matter does move to the cabinet to decide where they stand and the consequence of them not taking a principled view on this issue is that they will be sent out to the defend the indefensible, on the airwaves and at a time when trust in British politics really is at an all-time low.

Asked whether it feels like we are going through a democratic crisis at the moment: "I do. Yes, I think you cannot have a successful democracy where there is a lack of trust and that's what this is about. It's about restoring public confidence in our political institutions."

05:02 PM

And another Johnson critic...

05:00 PM

Former chief whip: We can't go on like this

Another Tory critic of Boris Johnson piles in.

Mark Harper, the former chief whip, tells Sky News: "Everyone in 10 Downing Street, from the very top, has a duty to tell the truth. To their own ministers as well as the public.

"We can’t go on like this."

This could get rather bleak for the PM rather quickly. Let's see if we hear from him soon...

04:48 PM

Breaking: Anthony Mangnall urges Cabinet to resign

This from Mr Mangnall, a member of the 2019 intake who submitted a letter of no confidence in the PM earlier this year:

04:39 PM

No 10 knew of two separate Chris Pincher claims before reshuffle

Downing Street has confirmed it was aware of two separate allegations against Chris Pincher at the time of his promotion to deputy chief whip in February.

No 10 was aware of claims against the former deputy chief whip while he was in post at the Foreign Office in 2019.

"And there’s a further allegation that was looked into on the day of the reshuffle, an allegation that wasn’t taken forward," the Prime Minister's official spokesman added.

04:29 PM

Lord McDonald: The former civil servant who ‘never saw eye to eye’ with Boris Johnson

A former civil servant publicly accusing a Prime Minister of lying is a rare event, but Baron McDonald of Salford is unlikely to have had any pangs of guilt about calling out the man who effectively ended his career.

During his time as Boris Johnson’s Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, Lord McDonald - or Sir Simon, as he was then - was suspected by Mr Johnson of running a spying operation and orchestrating damaging leaks about the then foreign secretary.

Mr Johnson believed that media stories accusing him of being lazy and failing to attend properly to his red boxes of ministerial papers were being briefed by Lord McDonald’s department.

When the Foreign Office merged with the Department for International Development, Mr Johnson, by then Prime Minister, saw to it that Lord McDonald was squeezed out.

​Gordon Rayner has this profile

04:14 PM

No 10 asked: Has anyone spoken to Chris Pincher since Thursday night?

"I don’t know on that point.

"It might be one for the Whips’ Office, but I don’t know what conversations he’s had."

04:13 PM

Will the PM say sorry tomorrow?

Dominic Penna here taking over from Jack Maidment to guide you through the rest of the day.

Will Boris Johnson apologise tomorrow over No 10's handling of the Chris Pincher allegations?

The PM is to face a difficult day, first at Prime Minister's Questions in the chamber and then before the cross-party liaison committee, which is renowned for its tough scrutiny in its tri-annual sessions.

"I don’t know what he will say at the top of PMQs on this," the Prime Minister's official spokesman told reporters. "I’m sure he will be asked but I haven’t discussed with him what he’s planning to say."

03:50 PM

PM backs Ukraine to re-take territory lost to Russia

Boris Johnson told Volodymyr Zelensky during a phone call today that he believes the Ukrainian military can "retake territory recently captured by Putin’s forces".

The two world leaders spoke this morning (see the post below at 12.03) and Downing Street has issued a readout of what was said.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “The Prime Minister spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky this morning to update on progress and discussions held at G7 and NATO last week.

“President Zelensky set out the current situation in Ukraine, and recent Russian advances, and the Prime Minister updated on the latest UK military equipment, including 10 self-propelled artillery systems and loitering munitions, which would be arriving in the coming days and weeks.

“The Prime Minister said the world was behind Ukraine, and he believed President Zelensky’s military could retake territory recently captured by Putin’s forces."

03:39 PM

‘Soul searching’ needed in No 10

Boris Johnson and his Downing Street team need to engage in “real soul searching” to change the way in which they communicate, a former head of the civil service has said.

Lord Kerslake told the BBC: “I do think there is no substitute here for the Prime Minister and his No 10 team having a real soul searching about how they are handling these situations and how they need to change the way that they communicate when they occur.

“They are doing themselves no favours and they are damaging trust in government.”

03:34 PM

Ex-civil service boss suggests No 10 should apologise

Lord Kerslake, the former head of the civil service, said No 10 could “bring the story to a head” on Chris Pincher by apologising over its handling of the row.

He told the BBC: “There must be a complete openness and transparency from No 10 and the Prime Minister. We do need to understand why action was taken to appoint Chris Pincher to be a deputy chief whip, a role that is after all about the wellbeing of MPs as much as anything.

“Why was that appointment made? And if needs be an apology. I think what would bring the story to a head is if we got honesty and accuracy from the Government in the way that Simon has shown in his letter.

“There would be a chance then to move on to the really serious issues that we face in this country.”

03:15 PM

Lord Kerslake labels Lord McDonald intervention 'very unusual'

Lord Kerslake, the former head of the civil service, said Lord McDonald's decision to intervene in the Chris Pincher row is "very unusual".

But he said he welcomed the letter published by Lord McDonald which he described as a "model of clarity" (see the post below at 08.46).

Speaking to the BBC's World at One programme, the crossbench peer said: “It is very unusual for a former civil servant to write in this way and I can’t think of many examples where it has happened.

"I actually welcome the letter. It is a model of clarity in what has been days of changing stories and indeed inaccuracies from No 10.”

02:51 PM

PM orders ministers to hold regular press conferences

Boris Johnson has ordered ministers to hold regular press conferences to set out the Government's efforts to counter the rising cost of living.

Regular ministerial press conferences were a feature of the coronavirus pandemic and the decision to restart them is a sign that No 10 is concerned about the public mood in the face of the squeeze on living standards.

Downing Street said the decision to hold televised briefings in the same way as during the Covid-19 crisis showed rising prices were being “treated with the same level of seriousness in terms of trying to address the problem”.

The regular press conferences are expected to be held over the next six months.

02:05 PM

MPs from across Commons blast Government

Senior Tory MP John Penrose, the Government’s former anti-corruption tsar, asked Michael Ellis, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he would finally say “enough is enough” and no longer defend the Government.

Mr Penrose said Lord McDonald’s letter made it “clear” that No 10 has “not been honest in what they have said”.

William Wragg, the Tory chairman of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee, told Mr Ellis that ministers should ask themselves if “they can any longer tolerate being part of a Government which, for better or worse, is widely regarded of having lost its sense of direction”.

Labour’s Chris Bryant, the chairman of the Commons Standards Committee, said he knew of “many decent Conservative MPs” who feel “terribly ashamed by everything that is happening in this sordid process”.

01:50 PM

PM 'did not immediately recall' briefing on 2019 Pincher complaint

Michael Ellis, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, said Boris Johnson "did not immediately recall" last week that he had previously been briefed on a 2019 investigation into a complaint made against Chris Pincher.

Answering an urgent question in the House of Commons, Mr Ellis said: "The Prime Minister was made aware of this issue in late 2019, he was told that the permanent secretary had taken the necessary action, no issue therefore arose about remaining as a minister.

“Last week when fresh allegations arose, the Prime Minister did not immediately recall the conversation in late 2019 about this incident. As soon as he was reminded, the No 10 press office corrected their public lines.

“So, the position is quite clear. Further enquiries will be made but the position is the Prime Minister acted with probity at all times.”

01:37 PM

Minister defends appointment of Chris Pincher

Michael Ellis, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, defended Boris Johnson's decision to appoint Chris Pincher to the role of deputy chief whip in February as he answered an urgent question on the scandal in the House of Commons.

He told MPs: “I ask the House to accept that bearing in mind the member in question (Chris Pincher) had been reappointed to government by a previous prime minister in 2018, and then that he’d been appointed in 2019 as a Foreign Office minister and then, crucially, he was appointed for a third time in February, I doubt whether anyone could in knowledge of those facts say that this Prime Minister should have acted otherwise than he did.

“It is the morally fair thing to do in any case to assess the situation based on evidence, not unsubstantiated rumour. It is incumbent on all of us in this House, as it is in society generally, to act fairly.

“If there is no evidence at the time, if there is no live complaint, no ongoing investigation, surely it is not unreasonable to consider making an appointment.”

01:32 PM

No 10 rejects lying accusation

Lord McDonald, the former permanent secretary at the Foreign Office, claimed this morning that No 10 has not been "telling the truth" about the Chris Pincher scandal.

The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman rejected the accusation of lying at lunchtime.

The spokesman was asked if he was "planning on telling us the truth today". The spokesman replied: "Yes, in short, as ever I will always seek to provide the information I have available to me at the time of each briefing."

01:23 PM

No 10 suggests PM forgot about briefing on Pincher complaint

No 10 said that the briefing received by Boris Johnson on the 2019 complaint made against Chris Pincher "dates back a number of years".

Asked directly if Mr Johnson had forgotten about it, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman said: "That is not how I would characterise it, I think I would simply say that at some times these issues are raised and I don’t believe, but I haven’t confirmed, this was part of a formal meeting or a formal update.”

A rough suggested timeline of events was put to the spokesman of the PM being unable to remember being briefed on Friday, officials then discovering he was briefed, another conversation then being had with the PM, him then remembering which then prompted No 10 to change its line yesterday.

The spokesman said: "Broadly. Although I would add the caveat that this was related to a conversation, what I believe to be a brief conversation, that took place around three years ago.”

Asked again if he was saying that the PM could not initially remember the briefing, the spokesman said: "I haven’t asked him directly but he didn’t recall it at that time.”

01:16 PM

Downing Street confirms PM was briefed on 2019 Pincher complaint

Downing Street has confirmed that Boris Johnson was briefed about a 2019 complaint made against Chris Pincher when he was a Foreign Office minister.

Asked if the PM was briefed, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman said: "I don’t have a date for you. On the FCDO case I can confirm he was briefed on that about the complaint relating to Mr Pincher in the Foreign Office which was resolved. I don’t believe that that was a formal meeting to inform him of it.”

Told that on Friday No 10 had said the PM was not aware of any "specific allegations" against Mr Pincher when he was appointed deputy chief whip in February, the spokesman said: "We always seek to provide the information we have at the time. The allegation, the Prime Minister at the time when he offered the job, was not aware of any new specific allegations that were being looked at.”

The spokesman said "some of the facts around this have taken some time to establish".

01:03 PM

Angela Rayner criticises PM's handling of Pincher row

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner has asked an urgent question in the Commons on the Chris Pincher row.

Ms Rayner has said Boris Johnson is either “negligent or complicit” in the handling of the allegations.

Speaking in the Commons, she said that since the resignation of the PM’s ethics adviser last month there was “an even bigger ethical vacuum in Downing Street with no accountability in place”.

12:17 PM

Cabinet ministers appear grim-faced at morning meeting

Some of my lobby journalist colleagues have pointed out on Twitter that Cabinet this morning does not appear to have been a particularly cheerful event.

12:03 PM

PM holds talks with Zelensky

11:39 AM

Tory MP would rather 'dip my head in a bucket of sick' than do broadcast interviews

Dominic Raab suffered a bruising media round this morning as he was grilled about Downing Street's handling of the Chris Pincher scandal.

There had been speculation that senior Cabinet ministers could refuse to agree to broadcast interviews this week, forcing junior ministers to speak for the Government instead.

One Tory MP told The Telegraph he would rather "dip my head in a bucket of sick" than have to go on the radio or television defending the Government's handling of the scandal.

11:25 AM

Senior Tory MP accuses PM of asking ministers to 'defend the indefensible'

Senior Tory backbencher Sir Roger Gale, a long-standing critic of Boris Johnson, said Lord McDonald’s letter showed the Prime Minister had lied.

He said he would now support a change of the rules of the Conservative 1922 Committee to allow a fresh vote of confidence in the Prime Minister to go ahead within 12 months of the previous one.

“Mr Johnson has for three days now been sending ministers – in one case a cabinet minister – out to defend the indefensible, effectively to lie on his behalf. That cannot be allowed to continue,” he told the BBC.

He added: “I have been saying for days now that I was not in favour of changing the rules of the 1922 Committee to permit another vote of confidence within the one-year timescale. Lord McDonald’s letter has changed my view.

“It is so blatant a lie it has to be acted upon as swiftly as possible by my party.”

11:08 AM

Labour granted Commons urgent question on Pincher row

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner has been granted an urgent question in the Commons on the Chris Pincher row. It should get underway just after 12.30pm.

Ms Rayner will ask Cabinet Office Minister Michael Ellis to “make a statement on the mechanisms for upholding standards in public life”.

10:49 AM

Government 'taking the steps that are necessary' on cost of living

Boris Johnson said a national insurance cut which will be rolled out from tomorrow showed the Government is using its “fiscal firepower” right now to help address the cost-of-living crisis.

He also said the Government is "taking the steps that are necessary to bear down on costs in the medium and the long-term as well”.

“Reforming our energy market, reforming our housing markets, tackling the cost of transport as we are now, tackling the cost of government, and everywhere always making sure that we get business, get international investors, to come and invest in this country in the way that they are, at an enormous scale,” the Prime Minister said.

Boris Johnson is pictured addressing Cabinet this morning - Justin Tallis /PA
Boris Johnson is pictured addressing Cabinet this morning - Justin Tallis /PA

Mr Johnson singled out Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey for praise at the Cabinet meeting.

“Tiz (Ms Coffey) did succeed in fulfilling her pledge, she got 500,000 from January off welfare into work. What that did was that saved the taxpayer billions of pounds, it helped employers find the workforce that they need and, of course, it transformed the lives of half-a-million people.”

10:44 AM

PM focuses on cost of living at Cabinet

Boris Johnson focused on the economy and taxation as he opened Cabinet this morning as he sought to move on from the Chris Pincher scandal.

Speaking ahead of a cut in national insurance contributions which comes into effect from tomorrow, the Prime Minister said it was part of a package to help people grapple with the rising cost of living.

Boris Johnson addresses his Cabinet in No 10 this morning  - Justin Tallis/AFP
Boris Johnson addresses his Cabinet in No 10 this morning - Justin Tallis/AFP

He told the Cabinet: “It will be in people’s pay packets from tomorrow onwards and amongst other things it is there to help people up and down the country with the cost of living.

“It’s part of the £37 billion that we are able to spend to help people through the current pressures on food prices, on energy prices, that we are seeing.

“It shows that the Government is firmly on the side of the British people.”

10:40 AM

How have the opposition parties responded to Lord McDonald’s letter?

Labour

Angela Rayner, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, said: “Boris Johnson’s desperate attempts to cover up what he knew about sexual assault complaints against Chris Pincher before appointing him have been blown out the water.

“It is now clear that the Prime Minister knew about the seriousness of these complaints but decided to promote this man to a senior position in government anyway. He refused to act and then lied about what he knew.”

Liberal Democrats 

Daisy Cooper, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: "Lord McDonald has shone a new light on this murky cover-up. Boris Johnson needs to own up to his web of lies and finally come clean today. Every day this carries on our politics gets dragged further through the mud.”

SNP 

Brendan O'Hara, the SNP’s shadow Cabinet Office spokesman, said: "This evidence from a former senior official in the Foreign Office demolishes Boris Johnson's claims and raises serious questions over whether he has lied and broken the ministerial code. There must now be a full investigation.”

10:34 AM

Dominic Raab 'not aware' PM was briefed on Pincher complaint

Dominic Raab said he was "not aware" of Boris Johnson having been "briefed directly” about a complaint made against Chris Pincher when he was a foreign office minister in 2019.

Lord McDonald, the former permanent secretary at the Foreign Office, said this morning that Mr Johnson was briefed "in person".

But Mr Raab told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “In relation to what happened in 2019, I’m not aware that the Prime Minister was briefed directly about it."

10:18 AM

‘I dispute the use of the word “resolved”’

Downing Street said yesterday that Boris Johnson was aware of claims made against Chris Pincher before he was appointed to the role of deputy chief whip but they had either been “resolved or did not progress to a formal complaint”.

Lord McDonald, the former permanent secretary at the Foreign Office, said he would “dispute” the use of the word “resolved” given the 2019 investigation into Mr Pincher.

He told the BBC: “I dispute the use of the word ‘resolved’. For me ‘resolved’ is too positive a word. It sounds as though a happy and agreed conclusion was reached.

“No, the complaint was upheld so to leave the impression that in some way Mr Pincher was exonerated is wrong.”

10:15 AM

‘Categorical assurance was wrong’

Will Quince, the minister for children and families, said yesterday that No 10 had given him a “categorical assurance that the Prime Minister was not aware of any specific allegation or complaint made against the former deputy chief whip” when Chris Pincher was made deputy chief whip in February.

Lord McDonald said that “categorical assurance was wrong”.

He said: “I do not think that is the way to behave. It is very unusual for a retired official to do what I have done this morning, I did it by myself because what I have seen and read over the last few days, I knew to be wrong.

“And things get to a point where you have to do the right thing.”

10:04 AM

Lord McDonald insists PM was briefed 'in person' on Pincher complaint

Lord McDonald, the former permanent secretary at the Foreign Office, said he is sure Boris Johnson was briefed "in person" about a complaint made against Chris Pincher when he was a Foreign Office minister in 2019.

Asked how the investigation was communicated to No 10, Lord McDonald said: "I briefed the relevant senior official in the Cabinet Office. You will understand that such complaints about ministers are very rare, very sensitive, they are dealt with at the very top level and so I had the help and support of the Cabinet Office through the investigation.”

Asked if he was sure that Mr Johnson was told, Lord McDonald told the BBC: "I know that the senior official briefed the Prime Minister in person because that official told me so at the time.”

Simon McDonald is pictured alongside Boris Johnson at an event in the Foreign Office in July 2016 when he was permanent secretary at the department  - Andrew Matthews/PA
Simon McDonald is pictured alongside Boris Johnson at an event in the Foreign Office in July 2016 when he was permanent secretary at the department - Andrew Matthews/PA

09:44 AM

No 10 must 'come clean'

Lord McDonald, former permanent secretary at the Foreign Office, said Downing Street needed to “come clean” over its handling of questions about the Prime Minister’s awareness of allegations against Chris Pincher.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think they need to come clean. I think that the language is ambiguous, the sort of telling the truth and crossing your fingers at the same time and hoping that people are not too forensic in their subsequent questioning and I think that is not working.”

09:19 AM

Dominic Raab 'did not tell PM about Pincher complaint'

Dominic Raab, the Deputy Prime Minister, said he did not tell Boris Johnson about the complaint made against Chris Pincher when the latter was a Foreign Office minister in 2019.

Mr Raab, who was foreign secretary at the time, said he did inform the chief whip.

Asked if he told the PM about the investigation, Mr Raab told Sky News: “No, and I wouldn’t expect to in relation to something that fell below the bar of disciplinary action.

“What I did do was inform the chief whip because I do think it is important that we keep a proper record and I referred it to the Cabinet Office Propriety and Ethics Team because I wanted the assurance and that is not to say that I disagreed with the view of the permanent secretary or the Civil Service but because I attach such importance to those around and those who work with us having the confidence in the processes which are there to protect them.”

08:48 AM

Dominic Raab declines to set out nature of complaint

Dominic Raab was asked what the complaint was that was made against Chris Pincher when he was a Foreign Office minister in 2019.

But the Deputy Prime Minister refused to be drawn, telling Sky News: “Just because I am respecting the confidentiality of the processes and those involved I don’t think it is right for me to go into that.”

08:47 AM

Dominic Raab confirms Pincher Foreign Office complaint

Dominic Raab, the Deputy Prime Minister, confirmed this morning that Chris Pincher was the subject of a complaint of “inappropriate behaviour” when he was a Foreign Office minister in 2019.

Mr Raab, who was the foreign secretary at the time, said the complaint was investigated “under the Civil Service’s auspices” and it “did not recommend formal disciplinary action”.

Mr Raab said: “I spoke to Chris Pincher about the inappropriate behaviour and made it clear in no uncertain terms it should desist, it must never be repeated, so did the permanent secretary.

“For additional assurance, because I take this so seriously, I also referred it to the Cabinet Office propriety and ethics team which also looked at it for example to see whether action was warranted under the ministerial code, they didn’t, they agreed that it didn’t warrant that.

“So although there was a complaint made about inappropriate behaviour it did not trigger the disciplinary action either at the Civil Service level or the Cabinet Office level in relation to the code of conduct.”

08:46 AM

Lord McDonald's letter in full

08:45 AM

Ex-Foreign Office chief: PM was briefed 'in person' about Pincher complaint

Lord Simon McDonald, the former permanent secretary and head of the Diplomatic Service at the Foreign Office, has claimed Boris Johnson was briefed "in person" about an investigation into an allegation of "inappropriate behaviour" against Chris Pincher when the latter was a Foreign Office minister in 2019.

Lord McDonald of Salford has submitted a formal complaint to Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone saying the account given by Downing Street of Mr Johnson's handling of the scandal was “not true”.

In his letter Lord McDonald said: “Mr Johnson was briefed in person about the initiation and outcome of the investigation. There was a ‘formal complaint’.

“Allegations were ‘resolved’ only in the sense that the investigation was completed; Mr Pincher was not exonerated."

Downing Street had said yesterday that Mr Johnson knew of concerns about Mr Pincher’s conduct when he made him deputy chief whip in February this year but the claims the PM knew about were “either resolved or did not progress to a formal complaint”.

08:26 AM

Good morning

Good morning and welcome to today's politics live blog.

Boris Johnson is under growing pressure over his handling of the Chris Pincher scandal.

The PM will host a meeting of his Cabinet this morning but he is struggling to stabilise his premiership after the resignation of the deputy chief whip last week.

It promises to be a busy day in Westminster and I will guide you through the key developments.