PM Boris Johnson expected to resign after more than 50 MPs leave the government

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a news conference during the NATO summit on June 30, 2022 in Madrid, Spain.

Yves Herman | Reuters

LONDON: Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to resign on Thursday after more than 50 members of parliament resigned from his government within 48 hours.

A Downing Street spokesman told NBC News that Johnson would make a statement on Thursday, and Sky news reported that it will be around the time of London’s midday.

Unprecedented rebellion against the leader started from within his own party Resignation of two top ministers on Tuesday nightAnd on Wednesday the pace picked up with a torrent of departures.

More ministers resigned on Thursday morning, including Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis, Treasury Minister Helen Whatley and Security Minister Damien Hinds.

a sky news tally Put the total number of departures at 59 as of 10 a.m. London time.

Real hit high after one session Various news outlets started reporting from midday that Johnson was prepared to resign. CNBC and NBC News were unable to independently verify these reports.

The 50th resignation came from George Freeman, a junior minister for science, research and innovation.

In a scathing resignation letter to the prime minister, Freeman said, “Your lack of transparency and candor with parliament (and willingness to ask your ministers to mislead parliament), removing key pillars of the ministerial code, your handling of a The appointment of a Deputy Chief Whip, who finds that you know there is a history of allegations of sexual abuse, is too much.”

Downing Street declined to comment when contacted by CNBC.

New appointments turned on the PM

Chancellor Nadim Zahavi – only appointed on Tuesday following the resignation of Rishi Sunak – publicly called on the prime minister to step down on Thursday, revealing that he and other cabinet ministers had told Johnson that he should ” You should leave with dignity.”

“I am saddened that he did not listen and he is now belittling the incredible achievements of this government at this late stage,” Jahvi said in a public letter on Thursday morning.

“But the country deserves a government that is not only stable, but works with integrity. Prime Minister, you know in your heart what is the right thing to do, and go now.”

The new Education Secretary Michelle Donelan, who was appointed on Tuesday to replace promoted Xahavi, then became the 54th resignation.

She told Johnson in a letter: “I see no way that you can remain in office, but without a formal mechanism to remove you it seems possible that for those of us who To force your hand to stay in the cabinet.”

Johnson has been embroiled in scandals and allegations of misleading the public, but the final straw for many lawmakers includes Conservative MP Chris Pincher. The former deputy chief whip was suspended last week amid allegations that he had thrashed two men under the influence of alcohol at a private members’ club.

Johnson apologized on Tuesday for appointing Pincher as deputy chief whip – a senior party role – despite learning of an investigation into his behavior in 2019.

Johnson was aware of the misconduct allegations against Pincher before his appointment, and his repeated changes to the line coming from No 10 prompted the resignation of Sunak and Health Minister Sajid Javid on Tuesday night.

In a resignation speech in parliament on Wednesday, Javid, who was also a former chancellor, said “the link between loyalty and integrity has become impossible to cross in recent months.”

Johnson narrowly escaped a vote of confidence from Conservative lawmakers last month, but many of those who previously supported his leadership have now dropped their support.

Matt Beach, director of the Center for British Politics at the University of Hull, told CNBC on Thursday that the challenge Johnson faces this time is different because of the “huge proportion of the government payroll vote” that has resigned. . Status as “pretty seismic”.

This is a developing story and will be updated soon.