Partygate, pressure mounting on Boris Johnson: four close aides step down
As pressure continues to mount against British Prime Minister Boris Johnson following reports of numerous parties at his residence despite the rest of the country was in a strict lockdown, four close aides of the leader, including his chief of staff, resigned London media reported.
Chief of Staff Dan Rosenfield handed in his resignation after Johnson’s director of communications, Jack Doyle, and policy chief, Munira Mirza, quit earlier in the day.
Martin Reynolds also stepped down on Thursday as principal private secretary to the prime minister.
Johnson ”thanked (Rosenfield and Reynolds) for their significant contribution to government and No 10, including work on the pandemic response and economic recovery, a Downing Street spokesperson said.
Several members of Johnson’s Conservative Party have already called for the prime minister to step down following the reports.
BBC reported on Thursday that it was aware of 17 Conservative MPs who had submitted letters of no confidence. A total of 54 letters are required to trigger a leadership contest within the Conservative party.
Mirza cited the prime minister’s barbed comments to opposition leader Kier Starmer on Monday as the reason for her resignation. Johnson made a false claim about the Labour leader during his time as director of public prosecutions, allegedly failing to prosecute notorious pedophile Jimmy Saville.
The comments caused an uproar, with even Johnson’s finance minister, Rishi Sunak, distancing himself from the remarks.
Being honest, I wouldn’t have said it, and I’m glad the prime minister clarified it, Sunak said. The prime minister was forced to backtrack on Wednesday after widespread condemnation.
Saville died in 2011, known mostly as a beloved children’s entertainer. But after his death, it emerged that he had abused hundreds of children without ever facing prosecution.
Chief of Staff Rosenfield has left the job after just one year. Doyle and Reynolds had both been implicated in the so-called partygate scandal.
Reynolds wrote an email to colleagues in May 2020, while the UK was in one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, telling them to bring your own booze” to a gathering.
Doyle has been accused of having attended at least one of the events that are now under investigation by Scotland Yard.
Late Thursday is was announced that Andrew Griffith MP was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary (Minister for Policy and Head of the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit) in the Cabinet Office.