Nadhim Zahawi becomes chancellor and Steve Barclay health secretary, replacing Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid – as it happened

Javid/Sunak resignations – snap analysis

It could all be over for Boris Johnson – although quite how long it will take his enemies to finish him off is not at all clear and his defenestration does not look immediate. The two byelection defeats almost two weeks ago prompted calls for cabinet ministers to mount a coup against Boris Johnson, and it finally it seems to be happening.

We have not had confirmation yet, but it is impossible to believe that the resignations of Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak were not coordinated. Perhaps there are more to come.

The Sunak resignation is the most serious of the two. Since the spring statement, the chancellor has not been the obvious heir apparent he once was. But he is still a powerful figure in the party. The resignation of Nigel Lawson helped to bring down Margaret Thatcher, although it took just over a year for that to eventually play out.

Even if there are no more resignations, the mood in the Conservative party has already turned against Johnson – perhaps decisively.

Under current rules Johnson is safe from another leadership challenge until next summer. But the executive of the 1922 Committee can change the rules whenever it wants. A new anti-Johnson executive is expected to be elected next week, but even the current executive – more evently split between loyalists and critics – could act now if it felt there was a consensus in the party.

Johnson is famously stubborn, and he is unlikely to quit just because two ministers have decided to go. But increasingly Conservative MPs believe they have no chance of winning the next election under his leadership. Ultimately that assessment should prove decisive.

Key events:

Keir Starmer: Tory ministers ‘complicit’ as the PM disgraced his office – video

A summary of today’s developments

  • On a bruising day for Boris Johnson, the chancellor, the health secretary, four parliamentary private secretaries, the Conservative vice-chair, two trade envoys and the solicitor general all resigned this evening.
  • Sajid Javid triggered the exodus, resigning as health secretary, followed a few minutes later by the chancellor, Rishi Sunak. Javid said: “I regret that I can no longer continue in good conscience,” while Sunak said the government should be run “properly, competently and seriously”. Most of the remaining members of the cabinet expressed support for Johnson to continue as PM.
  • Nadhim Zahawi was appointed as the new chancellor. Steve Barclay was announced as the new health secretary, while Michelle Donelan was appointed the new education secretary.
  • Bim Afolami MP announced his resignation as Tory vice-chair live on TalkTV.
  • Jonathan Gullis, Virginia Crosbie, Nicola Richards and Saqib Bhatti MP all resigned as parliamentary private secretaries while Alex Chalk resigned as solicitor general.
  • A snap poll by YouGov this evening found that 69% of Britons say Boris Johnson should resign. This is 11pts higher than when the pollsters asked the same question on 9 June.

Richard Adams

Michelle Donelan takes over from Nadhim Zahawi as education secretary after just two years as a minister, rewarded for her loyalty and her embrace of the culture wars and curbing of universities that have been a hallmark of Boris Johnson’s administration.

Moving up from her current role of higher and further education minister, Donelan will have to quickly take charge of a mess of unfinished business left by Zahawi in his brief 10-month tenure, most notably the schools bill that last week the new chancellor was forced to gut after opposition from former ministers and supporters in the Lords.

But Donelan has impressed those who work with her for her no-nonsense attitude, and as someone who – unlike Zahawi or Johnson – isn’t interested in the trappings of office or making friends.

The new chancellor of the exchequer, Nadhim Zahawi, in his office at No 11 Downing Street.
The new chancellor of the exchequer, Nadhim Zahawi, in his office at No 11 Downing Street. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/No10 Downing Street

Boris Johnson appoints Nadhim Zahawi as the chancellor of the exchequer in the Cabinet Room of No 10 Downing Street.
Boris Johnson appoints Nadhim Zahawi as the chancellor of the exchequer in the Cabinet Room of No 10 Downing Street. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/No10 Downing Street

Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell, a former chief whip, has compared Boris Johnson with Rasputin.

“It’s a bit like the death of Rasputin. He’s been poisoned, stabbed, he’s been shot, his body’s been dumped in the freezing river and still he lives,” Mitchell told BBC Newsnight.

He was also adamant that it was “over” for the prime minister.

“This is an abnormal prime minister – brilliantly charismatic, very funny, very amusing, big, big character, but I’m afraid he has neither the character nor the temperament to be our prime minister.”

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