Boris Johnson begins cabinet reshuffle ahead of resignation speech – live updates | Politics

James Cleverly has been appointed the new education secretary, replacing Michelle Donelan, who herself was only appointed on Tuesday to replace Nadhim Zahawi when be became chancellor. Cleverly was a minister of state at the Foreign Office.

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No 10 has confirmed that Greg Clark, the former business secretary who currently chairs the Commons science committee, is the new levelling up secretary.

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The Conservative MP Steve Brine told BBC News that he had been speaking to colleagues in the Commons tearoom this morning and that there was a “gathering view” that it would not be sustainable for Boris Johnson to to remain as PM until the autumn.

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He also said that he hoped the party would set a high threshold for candidates wanting to enter the first ballot, so that only MPs with significant support get considered. He said:

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We can’t just have a wacky races of 20 candidates here. We need those that are serious about being the next prime minister and have a chance of doing so, and doing so credibly.

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At the last leadership election in 2019 candidates needed to be nominated by at least 5% of MPs to be on the ballot in the first round. Ten MPs were in the contest at that point. Given the current size of the party, the 5% threshold would mean candidates requiring the backing of 18 MPs to be nominated.

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Brine said the executive of the 1922 Committee was meeting this morning to discuss the rules for a contest.

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In the Commons Michael Ellis, the Cabinet Office minister, is responding to an urgent question from Labour on the functioning of government. Here are the main points from his opening statement.

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  • Ellis said “the bussiness of government continues”, and that ministers were still in place, “including in all great offices of state”. He said:
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The government continues to function … Any necessary ministerial vacancies can and will be filled. Other secretaries of state can make decisions if necessary. There is a rich reserve of people who are both dedicated and talented.

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  • He said “calmness and professionalism” were now required. That prompted laughter from opposition MPs.
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  • He confirmed that Boris Johnson would make a statement shortly, but he would not say what Johnson would say.
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But he failed to impress Angela Rayner, the deputy Labour leader, who opened her response to him saying: “I hate to break it to the minister, but we don’t have a functioning government.” She said the events of the last few days had serious consequences.

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  • Rayner said bill committees were being cancelled because ministers were not available.
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  • She said the Department for Education does not have ministers in it from the Commons.
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  • She said, following the resignation of the Northern Ireland secretary, only two ministers were available authorised to sign warrants for the security services using intelligence powers.
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There is a live feed of the UQ at the top of the blog.

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Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, says the new Tory leader should be in place “as soon as practicable”.

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The No 10 briefing earlier suggested that Boris Johnson would like to stay as prime minister until around the time of the Conservative party conference, which starts on Sunday 2 October. It is looking increasingly unlikely that the party will tolerate that.

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Organising a ballot of Conservative party members, and allowing time for hustings, takes a while, but it would probably be feasible for the party to et a contest all over by August.

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Alternatively, some Tories are arguing for someone – probably Dominic Raab, the deputy PM, to take over as interim prime minister in the meantime. Britain has not had a formal interim PM in the past but there have been times – such as when Churchill was ill – when the prime minister’s duties have been fulfilled by a colleague or colleagues for several weeks.

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Rebecca Pow has resigned as environment minister. She has been at home with Covid, and it looks as if she drafted her letter before Boris Johnson announced his resignation. In the letter she says that she thinks Johnson’s position is “no longer tenable”. Johnson has now come to the same conclusion himself.

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It seems that Johnson’s resignation came too late to avert a resignation that was already in the pipeline.

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Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, says she thinks it is “not sustainable” for Boris Johnson to remain prime minister until the autumn. She has posted these on Twitter.

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Two ex-ministers have told the Guardian they think it not possible for Johnson to stay till the autumn.

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One said: “He needs to be gone by tonight, Raab should take over.” Another said: “He needs to hand in the seals of office today and go. So we can have a caretaker PM.”

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Another highly senior Tory source who has been with Johnson over the past 48 hours said his behaviour meant it was dangerous for the country for him to stay. The source said:

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His behaviour in the last 48 hrs and been reckless and erratic. He cannot be trusted to lead the country until the autumn. God knows what he will do.

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One former government adviser said it was “dangerous” for Johnson to stay in post. Another ex-minister called him “a disgrace”.

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Boris Johnson spoke to Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee, and agreed to stand down, No 10 sources are saying. The decision was reportedly taken at about 8.30am.

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Boris Johnson has agreed to resign, the BBC’s Chris Mason reports. He says he wants a new Tory leader to be in place by the party conference. He wants to stay on as PM until then.

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Here is a full list of ministerial resignations this week.

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By 9am on Thursday, we had had 27 resignations in total – five at cabinet level, and 22 at below cabinet level.

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In addition, one other minister, Michael Gove, has been sacked as levelling up secretary, taking the total number of ministerial departures to 28.

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There have also been dozens more PPS resignations, but these are far less important. Government can function without PPSs, but not without ministers.

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Cabinet level

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On Tuesday

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Rishi Sunak, chancellor

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Sajid Javid, health secretary

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On Wednesday

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Simon Hart, Welsh secretary

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Today

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Brandon Lewis, Northern Ireland secretary

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Michelle Donelan, education secretary

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Below cabinet

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Tuesday

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Alex Chalk, solicitor general

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Wednesday

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Will Quince, minister for children and families

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Robin Walker, schools minister

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John Glen, Treasury minister

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Victoria Atkins, prisons minister

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Jo Churchill, environment minister

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Stuart Andrew, housing minister

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Kemi Badenoch, equalities minister

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Julia Lopez, media minister

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Lee Rowley, business minister

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Neil O’Brien, levelling up minister

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Alex Burghart, skills minister

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Mims Davies, employment minister

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Rachel Maclean, minister for safeguarding

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Mike Freer, equalities minister

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Edward Argar, health minister

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Today

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Helen Whately, Treasury minister

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Damian Hinds, security minister

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George Freeman, science minister

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Guy Opperman, pensions minister

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Chris Philp, tech minister

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James Cartlidge, courts minister

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Michelle Donelan was appointed education secretary on Tuesday night, to replace Nadhim Zahawi. After less than 48 hours in office, she has quit.

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Here is the text of Nadhim Zahawi’s letter. In his tweet Zahawi makes it clear that this message is addressed to Boris Johnson, but his letter – on Treasury notepaper – reads like a press release. It is not addressed to anyone.

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This may be one of the first documents Zahawi has signed on Treasury notepaper.

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n

My number one priority has and always will be this great country. When asked to become chancellor, I did it out of loyalty. Not to a man, but loyalty to this country and all it has given me.

n

The challenges Britain faces, be it inflation or Putin’s war in Ukraine, will not pause for anything, and it is vital that the major offices of state continue to functi through a national crisis. If people have thought poorly of me for that decision, it is criticism I am willing to shoulder.

n

Yesterday, I made clear to the prime minister alongside my colleagues in No 10 that there was only one direction where this was going, and that he should leave with dignity. Out of respect, and the hopes that he would listen to an old friend of 30 years, I kept this counsel private.

n

I am heartbroken that he hasn’t listened and that he is now undermining the incredible achievements of this government at this late hour. No one will forget getting Brexit done, keeping a dangerous antisemite out of No 10, our handling of covid and our support for Ukraine in its hour of need.

n

But the country deserves a government that is not only stable, but which acts with integrity.

n

Prime Minister, you know in your heart what the right thing to do is, and go now.

n

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Nadhim Zahawi was promoted from education secretary to chancellor only on Tuesday night, replacing Rishi Sunak who resigned.

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Today Zahawi is calling on Boris Johnson to resign.

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n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/nadhimzahawi/status/1544950219657330688″,”id”:”1544950219657330688″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”f046b5bb-e6a7-48bf-b37c-8d0eb5cefb84″}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”summary”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1657179961000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”03.46 EDT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1657180060000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”03.47 EDT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1657180060000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”03.47 EDT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”03.47″,”title”:”New chancellor Nadhim Zahawi urges Johnson to ‘do the right thing and go now'”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 7 Jul 2022 06.56 EDT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Thu 7 Jul 2022 02.17 EDT”},{“id”:”62c68b658f08ae7c894440a5″,”elements”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

James Cartlidge has resigned as courts minister. In his resignation letter he says it is now “no longer even remotely possible” for Boris Johnson to “change and reset”.

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n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/jcartlidgemp/status/1544941714925912065″,”id”:”1544941714925912065″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”b5663f03-1263-42e0-886f-1ea433ebdeaf”}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”summary”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1657178981000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”03.29 EDT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1657179201000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”03.33 EDT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1657179201000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”03.33 EDT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”03.33″,”title”:”James Cartlidge resigns as courts minister, saying it is now ‘no longer remotely possible’ for PM to recover”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 7 Jul 2022 06.56 EDT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Thu 7 Jul 2022 02.17 EDT”},{“id”:”62c68a3e8f089a79171d43a9″,”elements”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Last night Braverman said she would stand in the Tory leadership contest when Boris Johnson goes.

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When it was put to her that she did not have enough experience, Braverman did not accept that. She said she had run a government department, the attorney general’s department.

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She said she wanted to be leader to deliver on the promises contained in the party’s manifesto, particularly on Brexit.

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UPDATE: Here is the clip on ITV’s Peston last night saying she would like to run for the Tory leadership.

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On the Today programme Suella Braverman, the attorney general, is being interviewed now. Normally when a minister is one the programme it is because they have been nominated by No 10. But last night Braverman said Boris Johnson should stand down, and this morning she is on the programme freelancing.

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Despite calling for Johnson to go, Braverman has not resigned – and she has not been sacked.

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Asked if Britain still has a functioning government, Braverman replies: “Technically, yes we do.”

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She says she chose not to resign because, as attorney general, she has duties to fulfil on behalf of the country.

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Chris Philp has resigned as minister for tech. In his resignation letter, he says he cannot serve under Boris Johnson any longer because of the importance of “integrity, honesty and trust” in politics.

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Lord Frost, the former Brexit minister, says Boris Johnson should resign immediately.

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He also suggests the Conservative 1922 Committee executive should meet again soon to bring forward another no confidence vote if Johnson does not quit. The executive met yesterday afternoon, but decided against an immediate change to the rules. Instead it made arrangements for the election of a new executive on Monday, after which the rules could be changed.

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It has been widely assumed that, after announcing his resignation, Johnson will stay on in office while a new Tory leader is elected. This is what has always happened in the past. When Conservative MPs elected their leader, the handover took place quickly, but party members now vote on the leader and this meant Theresa May remained in office for several weeks while her successor was chosen.

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Frost says this should not allowed to happen this time. He says Johnson cannot credibly stay on as a caretake prime minister, and that Dominic Raab, the deputy PM, should stand in for him during the leadership contest.

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n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/DavidGHFrost/status/1544930122654187520″,”id”:”1544930122654187520″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”cf489f37-1579-410b-b14e-2f8d7e4524ed”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TweetBlockElement”,”html”:”

n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/DavidGHFrost/status/1544930125653102592″,”id”:”1544930125653102592″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”bd5c36ff-94af-4f33-82ab-6bad788dd2ee”}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”summary”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1657177191000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”02.59 EDT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1657177686000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”03.08 EDT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1657177687000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”03.08 EDT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”03.08″,”title”:”Lord Frost says Johnson should not be allowed to stay on as caretaker PM while leadership contest takes place”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 7 Jul 2022 06.56 EDT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Thu 7 Jul 2022 02.17 EDT”},{“id”:”62c683428f089a79171d4368″,”elements”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Guy Opperman has resigned as pensions minister. In his resignation letter, he tells Boris Johnson “the government simply cannot function with you in charge”.

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n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/GuyOpperman/status/1544936960954884097″,”id”:”1544936960954884097″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”d23e49bb-a40a-4091-bd9d-ddd4f9c33c41″}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”summary”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1657176898000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”02.54 EDT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1657177000000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”02.56 EDT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1657177000000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”02.56 EDT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”02.56″,”title”:”Guy Opperman resigns as pensions minister, telling Johnson ‘government cannot function with you in charge'”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 7 Jul 2022 06.56 EDT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Thu 7 Jul 2022 02.17 EDT”},{“id”:”62c67d778f088ba9fc80df01″,”elements”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

And George Freeman seems to have quit as science minister. He has written a coruscating letter saying that Boris Johnson is presiding over a “constitutional crisis” and that he no longer has confidence in Johnson’s “leadership of our country, government or party”. He tells the PM:

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n

I’m afraid the culmination of your lack of transparency and candour with parliament (and willingness to ask your ministers to mislead parliament), your removal of key pillars of the ministerial code, your handling of your appointment of a deputy chief whip who it turns out you knew had a history of sexual abuse allegations, is too much. This is seriously damaging public trust and respect for government, democracy and the law, and this great party’s long tradition as the party of standards, character, conduct, integrity and duty to office and country before partisan self-interest.

n

Your leadership, the chaos in No 10, breakdown of cabinet collective responsibility and collapse of public confidence in government represents a constitutional crisis. It is also now seriously undermining our authority in key negotiations on the world stage at a time of urgent international crises.

n

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n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/GeorgeFreemanMP/status/1544929459286966272″,”id”:”1544929459286966272″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”a9df8b19-0480-446b-bd73-716a209c7d50″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Freeman also says in the letter he is writing to Sir Graham Brady, chair of the Conservative 1922 Committee, calling for a fresh no confidence vote in Johnson.

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But, although the letter reads like a resignation letter, Freeman does not explicitly say in it that he is resigning. (This is not the first time that Freeman has left some ambiguity in a public statement about his position on Boris Johnson.)

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UPDATE: Freeman later confirmed he was resigning.

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Damian Hinds has resigned as security minister. Hinds, who served in cabinet as education secretary under Theresa May, says in his resignation letter there has been a “serious erosion” of standards in public life under Boris Johnson. And he says:

“,”elementId”:”2b1a2424-c540-4f70-b938-39e1352711d3″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement”,”html”:”

n

More important than any government or leader are the standards we uphold in public life and faith in our democracy and public administration.

n

Because of the serious erosion in these, I have come to the conclusion that the right thing for our country and for our party is for you to stand down as party leader and prime minister.

n

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Good morning. Boris Johnson is still prime minister. For weeks many Tories have been urging the cabinet to mount a coup against him, and force him out. A minimalist version of that happened yesterday, but Johnson saw them off and now he remains head of a government that appears fatally weakened, bereft of credibility – and much smaller than usual (because of all the ministers who have resigned).

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Here is our overnight round-up.

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Two cabinet ministers resigned on Tuesday night (Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid), yesterday a third was sacked (Michael Gove), and a fourth resigned (Simon Hart). And within the last few minutes a fifth has gone – Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland secretary. In his resignation letter Lewis said Johnson’s government was now “past the point of no return”.

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This morning another more junior minister has resigned too. In her letter explaining why she quit her post as Treasury minister, Helen Whately, said there were only so many times the PM could apologise for something that went wrong and hope to move on.

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Lewis’s resignation means 22 ministers have now left the government. (Many more PPSs have quit, but they are much less important.) It is debatable whether the government can even function with some many jobs left vacant. But Johnson may well continue in office until next week, when it seems certain that the Conservative backbencher 1922 Committee will change the rules to allow another no confidence vote in Johnson, which he would lose.

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Quite what will happen today is anyone’s guess, but we will be covering all the developments here.

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Key events:

MP for High Wycombe Steve Baker considers running for prime minister – video

‘We don’t have functioning government,’ says Labour as Ellis answers Commons urgent question

In the Commons Michael Ellis, the Cabinet Office minister, is responding to an urgent question from Labour on the functioning of government. Here are the main points from his opening statement.

  • Ellis said “the bussiness of government continues”, and that ministers were still in place, “including in all great offices of state”. He said:

The government continues to function … Any necessary ministerial vacancies can and will be filled. Other secretaries of state can make decisions if necessary. There is a rich reserve of people who are both dedicated and talented.

  • He said “calmness and professionalism” were now required. That prompted laughter from opposition MPs.
  • He confirmed that Boris Johnson would make a statement shortly, but he would not say what Johnson would say.

But he failed to impress Angela Rayner, the deputy Labour leader, who opened her response to him saying: “I hate to break it to the minister, but we don’t have a functioning government.” She said the events of the last few days had serious consequences.

  • Rayner said bill committees were being cancelled because ministers were not available.
  • She said the Department for Education does not have ministers in it from the Commons.
  • She said, following the resignation of the Northern Ireland secretary, only two ministers were available authorised to sign warrants for the security services using intelligence powers.

There is a live feed of the UQ at the top of the blog.

Micheal Ellis says UK government is fully functioning despite resignations – video

My colleague Peter Walker has spoken to a minister who has resigned who will not return back to government until Boris Johnson has left office.

One of the (many) resigned ministers tells me they would happily go back to their post to keep government going – but only if Johnson is no longer the PM. His desire to stay on as caretaker could become another impasse.

— Peter Walker (@peterwalker99) July 7, 2022

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One of the (many) resigned ministers tells me they would happily go back to their post to keep government going – but only if Johnson is no longer the PM. His desire to stay on as caretaker could become another impasse.

— Peter Walker (@peterwalker99) July 7, 2022

If Johnson had agreed to a departure timetable yesterday morning then I don’t think him staying while a successor was chosen would have been an issue, as that happened with Cameron/May. But he might have burned that bridge.

— Peter Walker (@peterwalker99) July 7, 2022

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If Johnson had agreed to a departure timetable yesterday morning then I don’t think him staying while a successor was chosen would have been an issue, as that happened with Cameron/May. But he might have burned that bridge.

— Peter Walker (@peterwalker99) July 7, 2022

Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, is cutting short a trip to Indonesia and returning to the UK, my colleague Jessica Elgot reports. Truss is one of the frontrunners in the contest to succeed Boris Johnson.

Liz Truss returning from Indonesia – statement shortly

— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) July 7, 2022

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Liz Truss returning from Indonesia – statement shortly

— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) July 7, 2022

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