Another aid has left Number 10, taking the total number of departures in less than 24 hours to five.
Number 10 Policy Unit member Elena Narozanski is the latest aid to leave Boris Johnson‘s Downing Street operation amid the continuing fallout from the partygate allegations.
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Who else is leaving?
Her departure comes after Number 10 revealed Dan Rosenfield, the prime minister’s chief of staff, and Martin Reynolds, Mr Johnson’s principal private secretary, are leaving their roles.
Two other key advisers to Mr Johnson – press chief Jack Doyle and policy chief Munira Mirza – have also resigned.
The exodus comes as Chancellor Rishi Sunak – widely touted as a possible successor to the PM – piled pressure on Mr Johnson following the row over his comments this week about Jimmy Savile and Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer.
The PM continues to come under pressure over Downing Street gatherings during COVID restrictions in 2020 and 2021, 12 of which are being investigated by the Metropolitan Police.
A total of 12 Tory MPs have now publicly called for the PM to gowith seven revealing they have submitted letters of no confidence in him.
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Three departures were ‘mutual decisions’ – Number 10
Downing Street has said the departures of Mr Rosenfield, Mr Reynolds and Mr Doyle – who had become embroiled in the partygate scandal – had been agreed before Ms Mirza’s surprise resignation and the trio were departing by “mutual consent”.
The PM’s spokesman said he did not believe the same applied to Ms Narozanski, adding: “I have seen that departure reported. My understanding is that it is correct.”
He said Mr Johnson addressed Downing Street staff in the Cabinet Room on Friday and told them “change is good”, using a line from the Disney film The Lion King.
Speaking to Sky News before Ms Narozanski’s reported resignation was revealed, energy minister Greg Hands claimed the departures were evidence of the PM “taking charge”.
“The prime minister was absolutely clear on Monday that there would be changes at the top of No 10 and that is what he has delivered,” he said.
“The Sue Gray report update said that there were failings at the top of the operation. This is the prime minister taking charge.”
Javid distances himself from PM’s Savile ‘slur’
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the PM “absolutely” retains his support.
He added that Mr Johnson had promised to change his Number 10 operation and “he’s started making those changes already”.
The health secretary also distanced himself from the PM’s attack on Sir Keir, saying the Labor leader had done a “good job” as director of public prosecutions and deserved “absolute respect” for that work.
He said it was “important” Mr Johnson had “clarified” his remarks.
The PM has stepped back from his use of the discredited claim that Sir Keir failed to prosecute Savile when he was director of public prosecutions after days of criticism.
Mr Hands said the departure of Ms Mirza was different from the other resignations.
In her resignation letter, she criticized the PM’s “scurrilous” use of a discredited Savile claim against Sir Keir.
“She made clear her reasons for her resignation. The prime minister was equally clear that he disagreed with her,” Mr Hands said.
“The prime minister was also clear on Wednesday that he was referring back to the public apology made by Sir Keir Stamer in 2013.”
Labour’s Ed Miliband told Sky News what is going on in Downing Street is like a “captain trying to throw crewmates overboard to stop the ship sinking”.
What did the PM say about shaking up Number 10?
Speaking in the Commons on Monday in the wake of the release of a partial version of Sue Gray’s report, the PM promised a shakeup of his Number 10 operation.
The report said Downing Street lockdown gatherings represented a “serious failure” and were “difficult to justify”.
Mr Johnson told MPs he was making changes to the way Downing Street and the Cabinet Office are run “so that we can get on with the job that I was elected to do and the job that this government was elected to do”.
It has been speculated that Mr Johnson was forced to bring forward his plans following the surprise departure of Ms Mirza, who has been replaced by Arundel and South Downs MP Andrew Griffith, a loyal ally of the PM.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.