This evening Boris Johnson has attempted to get a grip on the crisis engulfing his government. Only after two senior members of his cabinet resigned, it appears to be a case of too little, too late.
In an interview with the BBC, the Prime Minister said that he had made a mistake in appointing Chris Pincher as deputy chief whip – following allegations over his inappropriate behaviour. It’s a clear change in tack from Downing Street’s initial response to the allegations whereby senior members of the No. 10 team implied that Pincher, too, was a victim.
Johnson also did not deny that he once joked ‘Pincher by name, Pincher by nature’. Ultimately the Prime Minister tried to use the interview to express his regret in order to draw a line under the incident. The problem for Johnson is that the damage is already done. After a former senior civil servant accused the Prime Minister’s team of putting out an inaccurate version of events, the mood has turned.
Johnson couldn’t even finish the interview without resignations emerging – with Sajid Javid announcing that he has quit. Since then the Chancellor Rishi Sunak has followed suit. Johnson’s premiership has never been in so much peril. MPs had been urging ministers to resign – it will be hard for the Prime Minister to continue to govern with so many in his party now lacking faith in his leadership.