Downing Street was forced to deny Boris Johnson had “lost control” today after five senior aides quit in 24 hours.
When the prime minister’s official spokesman faced journalists on Friday morning the first question he was asked was: “Has the PM lost control of 10 Downing Street?”
He replied simply: “No.”
The spokesman also confirmed that Johnson quoted from Disney’s Lion King in a Downing Street staff meeting this morning, telling them: “Change is good.”
According to the Mirror, the PM said: “As Rafiki in the Lion King says, change is good, and change is necessary even though it’s tough.”
It comes after a torrid week for Johnson who is facing calls to quit from his own MPs as well as resignations at the heart of No10.
Elena Narozanski, from the No10 Policy Unit, was the latest resignation this morning.
The drama kicked off yesterday afternoon with the shock resignation of one of Johnson’s closest allies - policy chief Munira Mirza.
No10 went into meltdown as the PM ordered a clear-out in a bid to shore up his troubled premiership.
It soon emerged that the PM’s communications chief Jack Doyle was also departing and later in the evening it was announced that the PM’s chief of staff Dan Rosenfield and private secretary Martin Reynolds were leaving.
The PM’s spokesman insisted that the resignations of Doyle, Rosenfield and Reynolds were all “mutually agreed” before Mirza’s announcement.
“The departures of those three individuals were agreed with the prime minister ahead of Munira’s departure yesterday,” he said.
“Those were mutual decisions, you saw on Monday the prime minister said he would be saying more in the coming days about work to address some of the issues raised - including on the No10 operation.”
Not only is Johnson under fire over the partygate scandal, he has faced fierce criticism over comments he made about Labour leader Keir Starmer.
Earlier this week, the PM attacked Starmer during a debate on the partygate scandal, accusing him of “failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile” while he was director of public prosecutions.
Despite a backlash, the PM has refused to apologise for the comment - something Mirza directly linked to her departure.
Johnson was yesterday publicly rebuked by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who told a press conference: “Being honest, I wouldn’t have said it.”
Health Secretary Sajid Javid also distanced himself from the PM’s criticism of Starmer, saying the Labour leader deserved “absolute respect” for the job he did as director of public prosecutions.
And in a further hint at the fury engulfing the Conservative party, a Tory MP said Johnson must “shape up or ship out”.
Huw Merriman, the chairman of the Transport Select Committee, told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme: “I’m deeply troubled by what’s going on.”
It comes after a number of Conservative MPs publicly called for Johnson to go or signalled their disapproval.