Boris Johnson hit with slew of resignations before entering No.10

PUBLISHED: 17:23 24 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:56 24 July 2019

New prime minister Boris Johnson waves outside 10 Downing Street. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire/PA Images

New prime minister Boris Johnson waves outside 10 Downing Street. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

A series of Cabinet resignations from opponents to a no-deal Brexit took place before Boris Johnson had passed through the doors of number 10 - and he's quickly got down to the job of sacking other ministers.

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Johnson has received resignations from international development secretary Rory Stewart, chancellor Philip Hammond, justice secretary David Gauke, minister for skills and apprenticeships Anne Milton, and chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster David Lidington. All have made their feelings clear in opposing exiting the Eu without a deal, which Johnson and his "do or die" Brexit has kept on the table.

Gauke accompanied his resignation with a bit of lighthearted trolling by tweeting: "some of us hope to return ... one day" along with a picture of himself and Stewart with artificially aged faces.

Hammond said the new PM should be "free to choose a chancellor who is fully aligned with his policy position" in his resignation letter. He has long been critical of Johnson's spending plans, saying that the "fiscal headroom" built up in public finances will be wiped out by a no-deal Brexit.

Also standing down was the chief whip in the Lords, Lord Taylor of Holbeach, but a source has told the Press Association that this was long-planned and not related to the "political situation".

These resignations, which were submitted just after Theresa May's last session of prime ministers' questions, were preceded by Sir Alan Duncan who put in his notice earlier in the week.

READ: Sir Alan Duncan resignation letter bemoans 'the dark cloud of Brexit'

PMQs Review: The last day of May

There is also speculation around business minister Greg Clark, who also opposes a no-deal Brexit.

Also out of the cabinet are trade secretary Liam Fox, and transport secretary Chris Grayling - but at time of publication it is unclear if they have resigned or whether they've been pushed.

Defence secretary Penny Mordaunt, who supported Jeremy Hunt in the leadership race, has confirmed that she is "returning to the backbenches" after failing to secure a cabinet position from Johnson. Meanwhile, education secretary Damian Hinds is also out, as is housing minister James Brokenshire.

Johnson is already rumoured to have made two controversial appointments, in the form of Priti Patel and former Leave campaign director Dominic Cummings.

Patel, an arch-Brexiteer and rightwing Tory, was forced to step down as international development secretary in 2018 after she held off-the-books meetings with Israeli officials without informing the foreign office.

Cummings, who was immortalised in a Channel 4 documentary about Brexit, was held in contempt of parliament in 2017 for refusing to give evidence at a committee of MPs investigating fake news. He is now tipped to be a senior advisor to Johnson.

READ: Brexiteer and Boris Johnson loyalist Priti Patel set for top cabinet job

READ: Disgraced Vote Leave director set to become key Boris Johnson advisor

There is still much speculation around Jeremy Hunt, who Johnson defeated in the leadership race.

However, Mr Johnson is likely to be faced by a gaggle of Brexiteer ministers who resigned from May's government now jostling to get back in - including Dominic Raab, Esther McVey and Andrea Leadsom.

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Further sackings and appointments are expected tonight.

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