A junior UK Treasury minister resigned on Wednesday, a day after Finance Minister Rishi Sunak quit his his post, piling more pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson who faces mounting criticism of his integrity in office.
John Glen, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, joined a growing list of junior ministers and aides turning on Johnson after he was found to have made misleading claims about what he knew about prior sexual harassment claims against disgraced former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher.
Anti-Johnson rebels were working to alter Conservative party rules in order to call another vote of confidence against him before the parliamentary summer recess. A meeting of the party’s backbench 1922 committee will be held at 1700 BST.
More than 40% of Tory MPs voted to oust Johnson in a confidence vote last month, but under current rules a ballot can only happen every 12 months.
In his resignation letter, Glen said he could “no longer reconcile my commitment to the role…with the complete lack of confidence I have in your continuing leadership of our country”.
Glen said “recent events concerning the handling of the appointment of the former deputy chief whip, and the poor judgment you have shown, have made it impossible for me to square continued service with my conscience”.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid also quit on Tuesday, following Sunak out the door within minutes, and echoing his criticism of Johnson’s leadership.
They were followed on Wednesday morning by the children’s minister Will Quince, who was sent out on media interviews on Monday to state that Johnson had been unaware of previous allegations against Pincher when he appointed him as deputy chief whip.
“With great sadness and regret, I have this morning tendered my resignation to the prime minister after I accepted and repeated assurances on Monday to the media which have now been found to be inaccurate,” Quince said in his resignation letter.
Laura Trott, MP for Sevenoaks, also quit on Wednesday as parliamentary private secretary to the Department of Transport.
“Trust in politics is – and must always be – of the upmost importance but sadly in recent months that has been lost,” she said on Facebook.
Justice minister Victoria Atkins and schools minister Robin Walker have also walked away
While the recent resignations are relatively junior, they are significant as they come from so-called “payroll” MPs – those expected to toe the party line and show loyalty to Johnson – as opposed to the 148 backbench rebels who called for the PM to go in a recent confidence vote.