Boris Johnson latest news: Will Quince resigns saying he has 'no choice' after defending PM over Chris Pincher row

·12 min read
Will Quince has resigned as the minister for children and families
Will Quince has resigned as the minister for children and families

Boris Johnson suffered a fresh ministerial resignation this morning as the Prime Minister struggles to stabilise his ailing premiership.

Will Quince announced he had quit as minister for children and families as he said he felt he had “no choice” but to step down because of No 10’s handling of the Chris Pincher scandal.

Mr Quince represented the Government on the morning media round on Monday when he said he had been given a “categorical assurance” by No 10 that Mr Johnson was “not aware of any specific allegation or complaint made against” Mr Pincher when he was made deputy chief whip.

Mr Quince said that has now proven to be “inaccurate” and he can therefore no longer stay in his Government post.

He is the latest on a growing list of Tory MPs to quit the Government following the bombshell resignations of Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid from the Cabinet yesterday evening.

It promises to be a challenging day for Mr Johnson as he scrambles to stay in No 10. He will face Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons at noon before then appearing in front of the powerful Liaison Committee at 3pm.

​​Follow the latest updates below.

09:07 AM

Nadhim Zahawi issues economy warning

Nadhim Zahawi, the new Chancellor, has warned the UK economy is likely to experience a "really hard" 2023.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I opened by saying to you my task is to rebuild the economy and return to growth.

“We’ve had good growth this year – second highest growth in the G7. And then, of course, good growth is forecast for 2024.

“But ’23 is going to be really hard for us. I described that in my earlier remarks. But of course I will continue to share that evidence. I want to make sure we bear down on inflation.”

09:00 AM

'People don’t vote for divided teams'

Nadhim Zahawi said he will tell his Tory colleagues that “people don’t vote for divided teams” after he was asked about the resignation of Will Quince.

The new Chancellor told ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme: “He felt let down, clearly. All I would say to my colleagues is people don’t vote for divided teams.”

Asked why his predecessor, Rishi Sunak, resigned, he said: “You can read his letter… I am focused on rebuilding the economy.”

08:52 AM

Nadhim Zahawi fails to rule out early election

Asked if he could rule out an early general election, Nadhim Zahawi said that was a matter for Boris Johnson.

The new Chancellor told LBC: “The Prime Minister will make a decision on any general election. All I can say to you, my focus … is very much on making sure we rebuild the economy post the pandemic, the cost of the war in Ukraine, the illegal invasion of the Ukraine, people understand there is a cost to that.”

He added: “Ultimately, what the polls say today is a snapshot of public opinion, very much based on seeing a divided party, in my view, that’s heartbreaking and wrong.

“We need to come together and deliver because they will judge us on outcomes, on what we’ve delivered for them in the second half of this Parliament.”

08:51 AM

Labour: 'Boris Johnson has corrupted the Conservative Party'

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has said the Labour Party wants a general election rather than a change of leadership in the Conservatives as she argued that the “country is stuck”.

Ms Reeves told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I don’t think that you’re going to have reinvigoration by just a change at the top of the Conservative Party.

“Boris Johnson has corrupted the Conservative Party and the problem is that his ministers and his MPs are all complicit in it.

“I’ll welcome the fact that some ministers resigned yesterday, but, frankly, what has taken them so long?

“Because all of those ministers, they backed the Prime Minister, when he had to apologise to the Queen for the industrial-scale partying at No 10, when suitcases of wine were being wheeled in, when he broke international law and when he tried to change the rules in Parliament to keep his friend and colleague Owen Paterson as an MP.”

08:32 AM

Pictured: Sajid Javid all smiles after quitting the Cabinet

Former health secretary Sajid Javid left his south-west London home this morning without speaking about his shock resignation from the Cabinet.

A smiling Mr Javid, who quit last night, stepped out of his house in west London and into the glare of waiting press cameras at about 8.15am.

He said: “Morning, thanks for coming. It is good to see you.”

He then got into a waiting car and left.

Sajid Javid smiles as he leaves his home in London today after quitting as health secretary last night - Maja Smiejkowska/Reuters
Sajid Javid smiles as he leaves his home in London today after quitting as health secretary last night - Maja Smiejkowska/Reuters

08:30 AM

Tory MP quits Government role

Laura Trott has resigned her role as parliamentary private secretary to the Secretary of State for Transport.

She said in a Facebook post: “Trust in politics is – and must always be – of the upmost importance, but sadly in recent months this has been lost.

“Thank you to all of you who have written to me expressing your views. I have read them carefully, and taken them into consideration as part of my decision.

“I have, and will always, put the residents of Sevenoaks and Swanley front and centre of my work in Westminster.”

08:28 AM

Will Quince quits as minister for children and families

08:17 AM

Tory MP: PM 'does need to go'

Chris Loder, Tory MP for West Dorset, said he believes the “majority” of people in the Conservative Party want to see “change” after a tumultuous week.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I’m glad to see that some in Cabinet have acted accordingly. But now I think there is a majority in the party that wants to see change.

“I personally have lost confidence in the Prime Minister now and I’m very sorry to say that. I think he does need to go. I think if he chooses not to, I think the 1922 Committee should act and I certainly would support that approach in the forthcoming 1922 elections.”

The 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs will hold elections next week for positions on its ruling Executive. Some candidates are expected to stand on a pledge to change the Tory leadership rules to allow a new vote of confidence on Boris Johnson's leadership to take place.

08:15 AM

'I will look at everything'

As well as hinting that a planned corporation tax hike could be reversed (see the post below at 07.50) , Nadhim Zahawi suggested he could also unveil new personal tax cuts.

The new Chancellor told Sky News: “My task is to rebuild the economy and to grow the economy. I will look at everything to make sure that we continue to be on the side of people.”

08:08 AM

Nadhim Zahawi sticks to teacher pay rise pledge

When he was the education secretary, Nadhim Zahawi asked the Treasury to give teachers pay rises of up to nine per cent in an attempt to see off strike action.

Now that he is Chancellor, Mr Zahawi was asked this morning if he intends to honour that commitment and he said that he does.

He told Sky News: “The pledge I will give teachers is we will do nine per cent for teachers that are starting in teaching this year, 7.7 per cent next year for them and senior teachers will get that five per cent that I have proposed and I will obviously look at the recommendation from the pay review bodies across the board.”

The commitment for teachers will raise major questions about what the Government will agree to on pay for other public sector workers amid fears large increases could further fuel spiking inflation.

08:01 AM

Pictured: Larry the No 10 cat prepares for a busy day in Downing Street

A police officer strokes Larry the cat outside 10 Downing Street today - John Sibley /Reuters
A police officer strokes Larry the cat outside 10 Downing Street today - John Sibley /Reuters

08:00 AM

'There is no vacancy'

Nadhim Zahawi has said his reason for taking the role of Chancellor was not to do with personal ambition.

Asked if he will run for Tory leader when there is a vacancy, he told Sky News: “There is no vacancy.”

Put to him the odds are good for him at the moment, he said: “First of all, I will be working very hard to make sure that this team continues to deliver. The Prime Minister is focused on delivery, delivery, delivery.”

Pressed on whether his reason for taking the job was to do with personal ambition, he said: “No, as I said to you, sometimes walking away may give you some respite, dare I say, but the idea that you have to deliver for the country, I think, is the right thing to do.”

07:57 AM

No 10 handling of Chris Pincher scandal 'appalling'

Former Tory vice-chair Bim Afolami, who resigned last night saying Boris Johnson no longer had his support, said Downing Street’s handling of the Chris Pincher scandal had been “appalling”.

The MP for Hitchin and Harpenden told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The reason why I voted for the Prime Minister (in the confidence ballot) was that he was clear that he felt he earned the right to rebuild trust in him – rebuild trust in the Government – after the issue of parties at Downing Street. I thought that was right, to give him that time.

“But I think that in the last few weeks we’ve seen that things haven’t improved. They’ve got a lot worse.

“I think the behaviour of Downing Street over the Chris Pincher affair was really appalling. And I, personally, just couldn’t think I could defend that sort of behaviour any longer.”

07:54 AM

Lib Dems urge Tory MPs to oust PM today

Sir Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, has said Tory MPs must do their “patriotic duty” and “get rid of Boris Johnson today”.

He said that when the Lib Dems beat the Tories in the recent Tiverton and Honiton by-election it was “very clear” that lifelong Conservative voters were “fed up”, not just of Mr Johnson, but of the whole party.

Sir Ed told BBC Breakfast: “He really must go and the Conservative Party have got to do their patriotic duty and get rid of Boris Johnson today.”

07:53 AM

Nadhim Zahawi insists PM is a man of 'integrity'

Nadhim Zahawi, the new Chancellor, was asked during an interview on Sky News this morning if he believes Boris Johnson has integrity.

He replied: “I do… because he is determined to deliver for this country.”

07:50 AM

'I will look at everything, there is nothing off the table'

Back at the Budget in March 2021, Rishi Sunak announced that corporation tax will increase from the current rate of 19 per cent to 25 per cent from April 2023.

The Government is under pressure to scrap the hike and Nadhim Zahawi, the new Chancellor, today suggested he could consider reversing the move.

He told Sky News: "I will look at everything, there is nothing off the table.”

07:46 AM

Nadhim Zahawi 'did not threaten to resign'

There were reports last night that Nadhim Zahawi had threatened to quit the Cabinet unless he was promoted to replace Rishi Sunak as Chancellor.

Mr Zahawi today denied the claim.

Asked if he had thought about walking away from the Government, he told Sky News: “No, I am just saying to you in life that it is, having to take tough decisions as you do when I was in vaccines, in education, and now in the Treasury, there are no easy answers.

“The most important thing to remember is we have a task ahead of us to rebuild the economy, we have just come out from what is the equivalent of a world war.”

Asked directly if he had threatened to resign, he said: "No, I didn’t. No, I didn’t threaten to resign at all.”

07:41 AM

Nadhim Zahawi appears to criticise Sunak and Javid

Nadhim Zahawi, the newly appointed Chancellor, is on the broadcast round for the Government this morning.

He started his first interview of the day with Sky News by appearing to criticise Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid for quitting the Cabinet.

Asked what had attracted him to take the job last night, Mr Zahawi said: "You don’t go into this job to have an easy life. You make some tough decisions every day. And sometimes it is easy to walk away but actually it is much tougher to deliver for the country.”

07:38 AM

Good morning

Good morning and welcome to today's politics live blog.

It promises to be a box office day in Westminster as Boris Johnson clings to power and desperately tries to stabilise his premiership following the Cabinet resignations of Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid.

The PM will face Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons at noon and then will appear in front of the Liaison Committee from 3pm.

I will guide you through the key developments.