11 Bonkers Moments As Boris Johnson's Government Imploded

PM insists he's having a "terrific" week despite evidence to the contrary.
Boris Johnson is having quite the day
Boris Johnson is having quite the day
Matt Dunham via AP

Boris Johnson’s government has never looked more precarious than it does today, after 31 resignations and counting.

And it only seems to be gaining momentum, with a growing number of the prime minister’s former allies (including Michael Gove) calling on him to quit.

But it wasn’t all resignations and political posturing – there were many bizarre moments which seemed to be overlooked in the free-for-all, too.

1. A lightning-speed u-turn

Nadhim Zahawi – who was only appointed as the new chancellor last night – is allegedly among the delegation of cabinet ministers who are planning to tell Johnson to go, tonight.

Zahawi was covering the media rounds defending Johnson and his “integrity” only this morning.

He is reportedly going to be joined by Michelle Donelan, who was similarly appointed in her new cabinet role, education secretary, last night.

2. Larry the cat

Larry the cat, a Downing Street resident who has lasted longer than several prime ministers, needed to be soothed by a police officer among today’s chaos. Larry’s whereabouts often seem to become a talking point in times of political upheaval.

3. ‘Bye, Boris!’

The Commons also became a bizarre scene this afternoon.

MPs started chanting, “Bye Boris,” when the prime minister left the House – astonishingly quickly – after a brutal PMQs and Sajid Javid’s detailed resignation speech.

It felt like echo of the song which was being played around parliament this morning, where the words of Bye Bye Baby had been replaced with Bye Bye Boris.

4. Johnson’s ‘terrific’ week

The liaison committee, where Johnson was questioned by other MPs about integrity in politics after PMQs, also came at a surreal time.

The prime minister was fielding questions about policy while his government was crumbling, with the number of resignations mounting with every passing moment – although Johnson seemed in denial.

5. A final flex?

Johnson still said he “cannot for the life of me” see why he should resign in the middle of the liaison committee as well.

In the same meeting, he referred to the current situation as “pointless political disturbance”, and cited his landslide election win from 2019 – despite actually being elected as leader by MPs, not directly by voters.

6. Dumped by text

Tory MP Huw Merriman shared his no confidence letter on Twitter while he was sat opposite the prime minister during the committee meeting. Minutes later, it was his turn to start questioning Johnson.

7. Resignation ratings

In fact, there were so many resignation letters, that a Twitter account called @ResignWell started rating each one out of 20.

8. An unfortunate signature

The parliamentary private secretary for the chancellor, Craig Williams, also seemed to sign his resignation letter in such a rush that his signature reminded several people of something...

9. Who’s next?

Speculation over who might run as Johnson replacement – even as the prime minister refuses to step down – has already begun with momentum. When former chancellor Rishi Sunak’s wife came out to offer journalists tea and biscuits, he was immediately put in the running.

10. ‘Rolling heads’

Even last night – when the long list of resignations had only just started – Lord Moylan was sparring with the ‘Stop Brexit’ man, Steve Bray, when the Conservative hit his head on a lamppost as he was walking away.

11. Dorries loyal to the last

While the writing looked like it was on the wall, one loyalist remained steadfast.

Nadine Dorries seemed to be going against the delegation of cabinet ministers set to tell Johnson to leave.

When asked if the PM’s position was sustainable, the culture secretary told reporters on Downing Street: “It is.”

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