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Two of PM Johnson's top Cabinet ministers abruptly resign

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R), Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (C) and Health Secretary Said Javid leave to attend a press conference in Downing Street in London on September 7. Sunak and Javid announced their resignations Tuesday. File Photo by Neil Hall/EPA-EFE
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R), Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (C) and Health Secretary Said Javid leave to attend a press conference in Downing Street in London on September 7. Sunak and Javid announced their resignations Tuesday. File Photo by Neil Hall/EPA-EFE

July 5 (UPI) -- Two of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top Cabinet members resigned abruptly Tuesday, saying they no longer see eye-to-eye with the premier.

Sajid Javid, secretary of state for health and social care, and Rishi Sunak, chancellor of the exchequer, each tendered their resignations via separate letters to Johnson on Tuesday evening.

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Javid wrote in his letter to Johnson that even when the Conservative Party hasn't been popular, they have always acted in the nation's best interest.

"Sadly, in the current circumstances, the public are concluding that we are now neither. The vote of confidence last month showed that a large number of our colleagues agree.

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"It is clear to me that this situation will not change under your leadership -- and you have therefore lost my confidence, too," Javid said.

Johnson replied separately to Sunak and Javid on Tuesday stating he was "sorry" to have received their letters.

Their departures come days after the resignation of another top official, former Deputy Chief Whip Chris Pincher, who was accused of groping two guests at a dinner.

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Johnson has faced criticism for appointing Pincher to a top-level position in February despite the fact that the latter had previously faced sexual misconduct allegations. Johnson's ministers initially said he hadn't known about the allegations, but on Monday, a spokesman said the prime minister knew about the allegations but believed they were "either resolved or did not progress to a formal complaint."

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Earlier Tuesday, Simon McDonald, the former top civil servant at the Foreign Office, sent a letter to Kathryn Stone, parliamentary commissioner for standards, saying Johnson was briefed about Pincher's behavior prior to his February appointment.

"The original No. 10 line is not true and the modification is still not accurate," McDonald wrote of Johnson's various statements.

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"Mr. Johnson was briefed in person about the initiation and outcome of the investigation. There was a 'formal complaint.' Allegations were 'resolved' only in the sense that the investigation was completed; Mr. Pincher was not exonerated. To characterize the allegations as 'unsubstantiated' is therefore wrong," he wrote.

In his letter to Johnson, Sunak said that though he has been loyal to the prime minister, it has become clear "that our approaches are fundamentally too different."

"The public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously. I recognize this may be my last ministerial job, but I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning."

The prime minister responded to Sunak in a letter that highlights actions they have taken together to support the economy amid the pandemic.

"You have provided outstanding service to the country through the most challenging period for our economy in peacetime history," Johnson wrote. "I have enormously valued your advice and deep commitment to public service and will miss working with you in government.

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