DfT aides resign as Shapps tipped to tell Johnson to stand down

Two parliamentary private secretaries have resigned from their roles in the Department of Transport amid a mass walk-out of government officials.

The news came as transport secretary Grant Shapps was named in national media reports as being part of a group of cabinet ministers expected to tell prime minister Boris Johnson to resign his post.

Huw Merriman, chair of the Transport Select Committee, put out a statement of no confidence in Johnson as he was part of a group of MPs questioning the prime minister in Westminster.

He said in his letter that the events of the past few days have “demonstrated a further failure on the part of the prime minister, in terms of judgement, competency and integrity”.

He added: “We cannot continue like this. The current situation is causing inertia in government and if we allow standards expected of those in public service to fail, we will lose the trust of the public.”

Merriman also said he has written to the chair of the 1922 Committee requesting the rules are changed to bring forward a leadership contest.

Nicola Richards (pictured left) and Laura Trott (right), who both acted as aides to Shapps, have resigned alongside at least 25 other ministers and aides.

The most high-profile resignations came last night from chancellor Rishi Sunak and health secretary Sajid Javid, who have been replaced by Nadhim Zahawi and Steve Barclay, respectively.

The resignations were triggered by Johnson’s handling of sexual misconduct claims against former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher.

Both Shapps and tourism minister Nigel Huddleston remain in their roles.

Last night, Richards, MP for West Bromwich East since 2019, tweeted a picture of her resignation letter, in which she criticised the Conservative Party for becoming “skewed by poor judgement”, saying it is now “unrecognisable”.

She wrote: “At a time where my constituents are worried about the cost of living and I am doing my best to support them, I cannot bring myself to serve as a PPS under the current circumstances, where the focus is skewed by poor judgement that I don’t wish to be associated with.”

She captioned the picture: “I will always remain loyal to my constituents and the Conservative Party. Tonight I’ve made the tough decision to resign as a PPS.”

Trott, MP for Sevenoaks since 2019, cited the loss of trust in the prime minister as the reason for her resignation.

She wrote on Facebook: “Trust in politics is – and must always be – of the utmost importance, but sadly in recent months this has been lost.

“Thank you to all of you who have written to me expressing your views. I have read them carefully and taken them into consideration as part of my decision.”

Other resignations have come from education ministers Will Quince, Robin Walker and Alex Burghart, justice minister Victoria Atkins, levelling-up ministers Kemi Badenoch and Neil O’Brien, and culture minister Julia Lopez.

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