Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, yesterday resigned from his post in a bitter attack on the Prime Minister after it was revealed Boris Johnson was aware of groping allegations made against deputy chief whip, Chris Pincher, despite having previously denied all knowledge.
Javid, who was appointed to the post of Health Secretary in June 2021, joined Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, in resigning from his post over the Prime Minister’s misleading comments over the Pincher scandal.
Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen, who has publicly called for Mr Johnson to go over the past few months, told Sky News that the pair were pushed over the edge by the fact that ministers were briefed to tell the media on Tuesday morning that Johnson did not know about a previous allegation against Pincher when he did.
It is alleged that Pincher, who was appointed as deputy chief whip in February, groped two men.
Javid has been replaced by Steve Barclay, Johnson’s chief of staff; while Sunak’s replacement is former Education Secretary, Nadhim Zahawi.
In his resignation letter, Javid, stated: “It is with enormous regret that I must tell you that I can no longer, in good conscience, continue serving in this Government.
“I am instinctively a team player, but the British people also rightly expect integrity from their Government.
“The tone you set as a leader, and the values you represent, reflect on your colleagues, your party, and ultimately the country.
I served you loyally and as a friend, but we all serve the country first. When made to choose between those loyalties there can only be one answer
“The country needs a strong and principled Conservative Party and the party is bigger than any one individual.
“I served you loyally and as a friend, but we all serve the country first. When made to choose between those loyalties there can only be one answer.”
Commenting on his work over the past year, he added: “The UK has led the world in learning to live with COVID.
“Thanks to the amazing rollout of our booster programme, investment in treatments, and innovations in the way we deliver healthcare, the British people have enjoyed months more freedom than other comparable countries.
“We have also made important strides in the recovery and reform of NHS and adult social care and I have been working hard on wider modernisation of the NHS.”
Responding to his letter, Johnson said: "You have used your personal experience to bring about change in government, from fixing the injustices of Windrush to setting out recently a plan to address suicide. You will be greatly missed."
Following the resignations, several junior ministers also quit their posts, while Alex Chalk left his role as solicitor general.
A YouGov poll of more than 3,000 people following yesterday’s announcements revealed 70% of Britons think Johnson should resign, but just 21% thought he would.
Steve Barclay, the Prime Minister's former chief of staff, will take over the post from today
Who is Steve Barclay?
Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire, has worked under both Boris Johnson and Theresa May.
An MP since 2010, he took on a series of junior frontbench roles before May made him Brexit secretary in 2018 after David Davis resigned in protest at her planned EU departure deal.
He remained in post when Johnson took over and, following Brexit, in January 2020 he accepted a demotion to No 2 in the Treasury, before moving back to the cabinet 18 months later as Cabinet Office minister.
In February this year, a reshuffle saw Barclay made the PM’s chief of staff, with the cabinet role of chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, before he was made Health Secretary in yesterday’s reshuffle.
Barclay said of his new role: “It is an honour to take up the position of Health and Social Care Secretary.
“Our NHS and social care staff have showed us time and again – throughout the pandemic and beyond – what it means to work with compassion and dedication to transform lives.
“This government is investing more than ever before in our NHS and care services to beat the COVID backlogs, recruit 50,000 more nurses, reform social care, and ensure patients across the country can access the care they need.”