LONDON — Over 50 members of parliament have resigned from U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government since Tuesday, as the unprecedented revolt against the leader from within his own party continues.
After a torrent of resignations Wednesday, more ministers quit early on Thursday morning, including Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis, Treasury Minister Helen Whately and Security Minister Damian Hinds.
A Sky News tally puts the total number of departures at 53 as of 8:15 a.m. London time.
The 50th resignation came from George Freeman, a junior minister for science, research and innovation, at around 7.20 a.m. London time. Pensions minister Guy Opperman resigned shortly after.
In a scathing resignation letter to the prime minister, Freeman said the “culmination of your lack of transparency and candour with Parliament (and willingness to ask your Ministers to mislead Parliament), your removal of key pillars of the Ministerial code, your handling of your appointment of a Deputy Chief Whip who it turns out you knew had a history of sexual abuse allegations, is too much.”
“This is seriously damaging public trust and respect for government, democracy and the law, and this great Party’s long tradition as the party of standards, character, conduct, integrity and duty to office and country before partisan self-interest,” he added.
CNBC has contacted Downing Street for comment. The prime minister has thus far refused calls to resign, vowing to “fight on.”
Johnson has been embroiled in a string of scandals and allegations of misleading the public, but the final straw for many MPs involves Conservative lawmaker Chris Pincher. The former deputy chief whip was suspended last week amid accusations that he drunkenly groped two men at a private members club.
Johnson on Tuesday apologized for appointing Pincher deputy chief whip — a senior party role — despite knowing of an investigation into his behavior in 2019.
This is a developing story and will be updated shortly.