Boris Johnson vows to fight on despite record resignations

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson is fighting to stay on as British Prime Minister despite his support collapsing in another dramatic day of resignations.

The PM was defiant despite many previously-loyal supporters - including Priti Patel and Grant Shapps - calling for him to step down on Wednesday.

Welsh Secretary Simon Hart became the latest cabinet minister to quit, while Attorney General Suella Braverman launched a leadership challenge.

But the PM insisted he had a "colossal mandate to keep going" from voters.

Taking aim at his critics, the prime minister sacked Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove in a shock move, with a Downing Street source calling him a "snake" who "gleefully briefs the press that he has called for the leader to go".

Mr Gove, a former ally in the Brexit campaign but who derailed Mr Johnson's first bid for the Tory leadership, had urged the PM to resign earlier in the day.

His sacking on Wednesday evening came after more than 40 ministers and aides resigned - a record for a 24-hour period.

Even late into the night, the resignations continued, with Welsh Secretary Mr Hart standing down just before 23:00 BST.

Mr Hart said he had "no other option left", adding that colleagues had done their utmost in private and in public "to help you turn the ship around, but it is with sadness that I feel we have passed the point where this is possible".

He had been among a group of cabinet members who attempted to persuade the prime minister to stand down, which also included Mr Johnson's former close allies Home Secretary Ms Patel, Transport Secretary Mr Shapps and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

Mr Johnson - who is facing his most serious leadership crisis of his premiership - now has around 20 ministerial posts it needs to fill after an unprecedented number of resignations.

Later on Wednesday night, former loyalist Ms Braverman joined the calls for Mr Johnson to stand down, telling ITV's Peston that he had handled matters "appallingly" in recent days.

She said she would not resign as it was her duty to carry on in her current job - but said: "If there is a leadership contest, I will put my name into the ring."

Former Health Secretary Matt Hancock also withdrew his backing for the PM, saying he had "supported him through thick and thin" but he now needed to go.

Mr Hancock - who said he would not be running for the leadership - predicted Mr Johnson would not be leader for much longer, "whether that's tomorrow or next week".

Source:
BBC