PM resigns but Zahawi remains in post as Chancellorby
Conservative MPs with accounting credentials are already circling Number 10.
7/7/2022 12.40pm Boris Johnson has now resigned as Conservative leader but says he will continue as Prime Minister until a new leader is in place.
A new Cabinet has been announced, with Nadhim Zahawi remaining in post as the newly appointed Chancellor.
Speaking outside Downing Street this afternoon Johnson said that the process of choosing a new leader should begin now and the timetable will be announced next week.
Johnson said: “In the last few days, I tried to persuade my colleagues that it would be eccentric to change governments, when we're delivering so much, when we have such a vast mandate and when we're actually only a handful of points behind in the polls, even in mid term after quite a few months of pretty relentless sledging and when the economic scene is so difficult domestically and internationally.
“I regret not being successful in those arguments, and of course, it's painful not to be able to see through so many ideas and projects myself.
“But as we've seen, at Westminster the herd instinct is powerful when the herd moves, it moves and my friends in politics, no one is remotely indispensable. And our brilliant Darwinian system will produce another leader, equally committed to taking this country forward through tough times.”
With Johnson stepping down, Conservative MPs with accounting credentials are already circling Number 10. Qualified management accountant Liz Truss is returning early from a G20 meeting to reportedly launch her leadership campaign. Former Chancellors Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid and current Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi are also said to be mulling over their next steps and considering their leadership options.
9.15am: Just 30 minutes after Nadhim Zahawi publicly told the Prime Minister to "do the right thing and go now", it is being reported that the Prime Minister has agreed to resign today.
It is expected that he will remain Prime Minister whilst a Conservative leadership race takes place this summer, with a new Prime Minister in place by the autumn.
Less than a day in the new job as Chancellor, Zahawi said in a letter posted on Twitter: "The country deserves a government that is not only stable, but which acts with integrity. Prime Minister, you know in your heart what the right thing to do is, and go now."
Prime Minister: this is not sustainable and it will only get worse: for you, for the Conservative Party and most importantly of all the country. You must do the right thing and go now. pic.twitter.com/F2iKT1PhvC
— Nadhim Zahawi (@nadhimzahawi) July 7, 2022
Reports had suggested that the Prime Minister was hoping to unveil a new economic policy with the Chancellor in the coming days and tax cuts were widely expected to be announced.
Last night The Times exclusively revealed that Zahawi has been 'secretly working' with close allies of Sir Lynton Crosby on a Tory leadership bid for months.
6/7/22 5.20pm According to news sources, the new Chancellor has joined a delegation of ministers in telling the Prime Minister to resign.
6/7/22: Treasury minister John Glenn also handed in his resignation, citing the Prime Minister's "poor judgement".
Former education secretary Nadhim Zahawi has been given the keys to Number 11 following Rishi Sunak’s shock resignation from his post, which threw Boris Johnson’s political future into jeopardy.
Sunak resigned as Chancellor of the Exchequer, posting his letter of resignation on Twitter, just after 6pm Tuesday evening.
He posted an excerpt from his letter which said: “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.”
He shared an image of his letter to the Prime Minister in full below the post.
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.
My letter to the Prime Minister below. pic.twitter.com/vZ1APB1ik1
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) July 5, 2022
The ex-Chancellor told the Prime Minister: “our approaches are fundamentally too different”, adding, “I am sad to be leaving government but I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that we cannot continue like this.”
Sunak’s resignation makes way for Zahawi to become Boris Johnson’s third Chancellor. Zahawi has held a number of ministerial posts including his recent role as education secretary and prior to that as the vaccines deployment minister.
Zahawi inherits a cost of living crisis and is likely to face pressure from the Prime Minister to cut taxes in order to save his political career.
Sunak’s resignation followed hot on the heels of health secretary Sajid Javid, who also told the PM he had lost confidence in his leadership.
Sunak, the MP for Richmond in Yorkshire, does have form in following Javid’s footsteps. He took over the position of Chancellor from Javid in 2020, after his shock exit just four weeks before he had been due to deliver his first Budget.
The pair quit soon after Boris Johnson admitted that he should not have appointed MP Chris Pincher as deputy chief whip in February, following a row over the handling of misconduct claims against him.
Sunak’s exit puts a full stop on a tenure in Number 11 that included the furlough scheme, Covid loans and a non dom scandal involving his wife.
Sunak delivered his first Budget in March 2020, before having to rip it up weeks later when the Covid pandemic forced the government to lock down the country and announce a number of support schemes.