Welsh Secretary Quits After Michael Gove Sacked By Boris Johnson
The Welsh Secretary Simon Hart has quit after Boris Johnson sacked Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, despite most of his Cabinet and a growing number of Conservative MPs calling for him to resign himself.
In a shock move, the Prime Minister sacked the cabinet minister after he reportedly approached Johnson earlier today and encouraged him to resign. A Number 10 source told the BBC: “You can’t have a snake who is not with you on any of the big arguments who then gleefully tells the press the leader has to go."
The sacking was followed, hours later, by the resignation of Welsh Secretary Hart, who wrote "colleagues have done their utmost in public and private to help you turn the ship around, but it is with sadness I fear we have passed the point where this is possible."
This resignation was in turn followed by that of Health minister Ed Argar, who wrote that "a change was needed" for the Tory party.
It comes after a Downing Street source told PoliticsHome that Johnson is "fighting on", setting up a fresh confidence vote in his leadership – potentially as soon as next week.
The source said the PM believed Tory MPs faced a choice – either a Summer of “navel gazing & uncertainty” in a leadership contest, or he and Zahawi “conquering” the cost of living together.
The Prime Minister is in the most perilous moment of his leadership. Nearly 40 Conservative MPs had quit their government roles at the time of writing, including Rishi Sunak has resigned as Chancellor and Sajid Javid who resigned as Health Secretary.
The announcement was swiftly followed by the resignation of Danny Kruger as DLUHC PPS, after Jacob Young had resigned as Housing PPS.
A "delegation" of Cabinet ministers had gone to Downing Street warning Johnson that they would resign if he dod not quit. It included Nadhim Zahawi, who replaced Sunak as Chancellor last night, as well as Home Secretary Priti Patel, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Welsh Secretary Simon Hart.
Brandon Lewis, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and close ally of Johnson, also believes he must quit. A source close to him told PoliticsHome: "He believes the situation is now untenable and has made his views clear to the chief whip."
Cabinet Office minister Jacob Rees Mogg and Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries still support Johnson, despite the majority of the parliamentary Tory party seemingly turning against him.
Earlier tonight, the 1922 Committee of senior Tory MPs confirmed that an election will be held on Monday to determine its new membership. Anti-Johnson Conservative MPs are expected to take control of the committee, setting up a fresh vote of no confidence in the embattled Prime Minister.
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe