Four key resignations in Downing Street on Thursday are the result of the prime minister “taking charge”, a government minister has told Sky News.
Who has left Number 10?
Number 10 revealed Dan Rosenfield, the PM’s chief of staff, and Martin Reynolds, Mr Johnson’s principal private secretary, are leaving their roles.
Two other key advisers to Mr Johnson – press chief Jack Doyle and policy chief Munira Mirza – have also resigned.
Thursday’s mass exodus came as Chancellor Rishi Sunak – widely touted as a possible successor to the PM – piled pressure on Mr Johnson following the row over his comments this week about Jimmy Savile and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.
PM clear ‘there would be changes’
Asked what is going in Downing Street, Mr Hands said: “Resignations have been made, resignations have been accepted.
“The prime minister was absolutely clear on Monday that there would be changes at the top of No 10 and that is what he has delivered.
“The Sue Gray report update said that there were failings at the top of the operation.
“This is the prime minister taking charge.”
Aide quit over ‘scurrilous’ Savile attack against Starmer
Mr Hands said the departure of Ms Mirza was different from the other three resignations.
In her resignation letter, she criticised PM’s “scurrilous” use of a discredited claim against Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer that he failed to prosecute Jimmy Savile when he was director of public prosecutions.
“The resignation of Munira Mirza is a little bit different. She made clear her reasons for her resignation. The prime minister was equally clear that he disagreed with her,” Mr Hands said.
“The prime minister was also clear on Wednesday that he was referring back to the public apology made by Sir Keir Stamer in 2013.
“These are all events that happened many, many years ago. The time is now to move on.”
Mr Johnson has stepped back from his use of the claim after days of criticism, saying he was not talking about Sir Keir’s “personal record” when he was DPP and “I totally understand that he had nothing to do personally with those decisions”.