Politics

Boris Johnson quotes LION KING to brush off troubles after 5 aides quit in 12-hour bloodbath


BATTERED Boris Johnson today put a brave face on the bombshell resignation of five top aides – quoting the Lion King that “change is good”.

In a rallying cry to Downing Street staff, the PM said “As Rafiki in the Lion King says, change is good, and change is necessary even though it’s tough.”

Boris Johnson compared himself to Rafiki from the Lion King

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Boris Johnson compared himself to Rafiki from the Lion KingCredit: Reuters
Policy chief Munira Mirza quit with an astonishing broadside against the PM

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Policy chief Munira Mirza quit with an astonishing broadside against the PM

He gave his team a pep talk in the Cabinet room following the brutal resignations that threw No10 into a tailspin.

The bombshell departure of loyal lieutenant Munira Mirza last night forced the PM to bring forward a planned clear-out of his chief of staff, comms boss and top mandarin.

And this morning he was rocked by a fifth resignation when a well-respected policy adviser followed Mirza out the door.

But defiant BoJo said, like a footie team, it was time to spit out the half time oranges and crack on.

His spokesperson added: “He reflected on the privilege of working in No 10 in order to deliver for the British people and reiterated his and No10’s commitment to serving the public by keeping people safe, improving lives and spreading opportunity.”

“As he reiterated to the team today, there is an important job to do, the public expects us to be focused on it, whether it is the situation in Ukraine, recovering from the pandemic or, as the Chancellor was setting out yesterday, on issues such as cost of living.”

Ms Mirza stunned No 10 when she walked out with an astonishing broadside against the PM’s jibe that Sir Keir Starmer failed to lock up celeb paedo Savile.

Her shock exit sparked a flurry of resignations from Downing St last night.

Top spin doctor Jack Doyle quit hours later followed by senior civil servant Martin Reynolds — who earned the nickname Party Marty after inviting 100 staff to a lockdown breaking bash.

Around an hour later unpopular Downing Street Chief of Staff Dan Rosenfeld also fell on his sword.

And on an evening of high drama the PM was then publicly knifed by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Downing St today insisted the relationship between No10 and No11 was “good”.

Cabinet ministers picking over the smouldering wreckage reckon there’s only a 50/50 chance the PM will be able to cling on.

One told The Times: “It feels like the end. It’s all falling apart.”

Energy minister Greg Hands put a brave face on events this morning, insisting the departures were all part of a planned “shake up” of No 10.

He said: “We shouldn’t be surprised there are changes overall. This shows the PM is in charge.”

But he also repeatedly refused to answer whether he would have made the same remarks as his boss about Sir Keir.

Downing St will be braced for more resignations today as Boris battles to save his premiership in the wake of the lockdown-breaking scandal.

And there is also concern at the growing public rift between the PM and his Chancellor.

At a press conference last night Mr Sunak mocked Boris’ partygate woes and slammed comments the PM made about Jimmy Savile.

Boris was plunged deeper into a leadership crisis just a day after saying he wanted another eight years in power.

In a double whammy that will trigger a weekend of speculation Mr Sunak is eyeing a move for the top job, the Chancellor breaks cover today to distance himself from the lockdown breaking scandal dogging No10.

Writing in The Sun he hit out at the row engulfing the PM about boozy bashes that are currently being probed by cops.

He says: “We’ve always been the party of sound money, we’ll always continue to be on my watch, and that’s the only kind of party I’m interested in.”

And yesterday he publicly stated that he would not have made the controversial claims that Sir Keir Starmer “failed” over Savile when he was the UK’s top prosecutor. 

On Thursday afternoon longtime BoJo aide Munira Mirza quit No10 after begging the PM to apologise for the  “inappropriate and partisan reference to a horrendous case of child sex abuse”.

Leaking her bombshell resignation letter she said: “You are a better man than many of your detractors will ever understand which is why it is so desperately sad that you let yourself down by making a scurrilous accusation against the Leader of the Opposition.”

Mr Johnson hit back tonight saying he did not agree but was sorry to see her go.

He told Channel 5: “All that I’ve said is that the leader of the opposition apologised for the CPS’s handling of that issue during his tenure and that’s all frankly that needs to be said on that matter.”

But her departure brought forward a slew of resignations from other top staff after discussion with the PM over their future.

Lavishing praise on departed Ms Mirza, Mr Sunak said: “I am sorry to see her leave government, I will miss working with her. 

“And with regard to the comments, being honest, I wouldn’t have said it and I’m glad the PM had clarified what he meant.”

And he heaped pressure on the PM to say sorry for the remarks, suggesting it was “for the prime minister to decide” to do so.

Dominic Cummings, the former chief aide to No 10 who is agitating for the Prime Minister’s removal, said her resignation was an “unmistakable signal the bunker is collapsing”, adding that the “PM is finished”.

He added in a call to Tory MPs: “Now’s your moment, find a flicker of moral courage and push what is falling.”

But Sunak’s own number two at the treasury Simon Clarke defended the PM, telling Newsnight: “I have the highest regard for the Chancellor…but it is my view that it was a perfectly reasonable remark for the PM to have made”.

Quizzed on his ambitions yesterday, the Chancellor told the BBC it’s “very kind” of colleagues to put him forward but insisted there was no vacancy

Martin Reynolds earned the nickname Party Marty after inviting 100 staff to a lockdown breaking bash

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Martin Reynolds earned the nickname Party Marty after inviting 100 staff to a lockdown breaking bash
Unpopular Chief of Staff Dan Rosenfeld also fell on his sword

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Unpopular Chief of Staff Dan Rosenfeld also fell on his sword
Top spin doctor Jack Doyle quit hours later

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Top spin doctor Jack Doyle quit hours later





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