Keir Starmer says government is collapsing after Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid resign

Keir Starmer says government is collapsing after Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid resign

Labour’s leader Sir Keir Starmer has said the government is “collapsing” in the wake of Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid’s resignations.

Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, and Sajid Javid, the Health and Social Care Secretary, dramatically resigned from government on Tuesday evening, telling Boris Johnson they had lost confidence in his leadership.

Their departures came just minutes after Mr Johnson was forced into a humiliating apology for his handling of the Chris Pincher row.

The Labour leader said in a statement: “After all the sleaze, the scandals and the failure, it’s clear that this Government is now collapsing. Tory cabinet ministers have known all along who this Prime Minister is.

“They have been his cheerleaders throughout this sorry saga:– backing him when he broke the law– backing him when he lied repeatedly– backing him when he mocked the sacrifices of the British people.

“In doing so, they have been complicit every step of the way as he has disgraced his office and let down his country. If they had a shred of integrity they would have gone months ago.

“The British public will not be fooled. The Tory party is corrupted and changing one man won’t fix that.

“Only a real change of government can give Britain the fresh start it needs.”

Earlier, Mr Johnson apologised over his handling of the Chris Pincher row after it emerged he had forgotten about being told of previous allegations of “inappropriate” conduct.

Mr Pincher quit as deputy chief whip last week following claims that he groped two men at a private members’ club but Mr Johnson was told about allegations against him as far back as 2019.

The Prime Minister acknowledged he should have sacked Mr Pincher when he was told about the claims against him when he was a Foreign Office minister in 2019, but instead Mr Johnson went on to appoint him to other government roles.

Mr Pincher denies the allegations, saying he is seeking “professional medical support’’.

Speaking earlier, Sir Keir had called for more Cabinet ministers to tender their resignations, calling Mr Johnson a “liar”.

“Should his Cabinet members make sure he leaves office, yes they should,” he told reporters.

“It’s their responsibility, in the national interest, to remove him from office. They know what he’s like, he’s said that he’s psychologically incapable of changing, and therefore they have to do what’s in the national interest and remove him."

Directly addressing remaining Cabinet ministers, Sir Keir said: “They should resign, or force him to resign.

“They have to step up in the national interest now, otherwise they are nodding dogs in this. I would say to them directly: act in the national interest and resign.”

But allies of other senior Cabinet ministers have defiantly insisted they will not also tender their resignations.

The high-profile resignations come just weeks after Mr Johnson’s authority was damaged in a confidence vote in which 41% of his MPs tried to oust him amid anger over the partygate scandal.

In his resignation letter, Mr Sunak said "the public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously".

Meanwhile, Mr Javid said in his resignation letter that the British people “expect integrity from their government" but voters now believed Mr Johnson’s administration was neither competent nor "acting in the national interest".