New appointments in Downing Street after PM loses five close aides in two days

Politics

Boris Johnson has replaced two of the five close aides he lost in less than 24 hours as “partygate” allegations continue to threaten his premiership.

Cabinet minister Steve Barclay will be the prime minister’s new chief of staff, replacing Dan Rosenfield.

Mr Barclay, a former Brexit secretary, will also be charged with integrating a “new Office of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Office”, Number 10 said.

He will be making sure the government’s policies are delivered “more efficiently” and that the “levelling up agenda” is enacted at “maximum speed”, Downing Street added.

Guto Harri, who worked for Mr Johnson when he was London mayor, will become the new director of communications.

Mr Harri joined GB News last year but resigned after a row erupted when he took the knee in support of England players protesting against racism.

He replaces Jack Doyle, who reportedly told colleagues that recent weeks in Downing Street had “taken a terrible toll on my family life”.

The new appointments will have the “discipline and focus to drive the prime minister’s priorities and deliver for the country”, Downing Street said.

Sky News correspondent Nick Martin said they were people the prime minister trusts, who he has worked with before, and who will be able to “hit the ground running”.

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‘Health sec is 100% behind PM’

According to reports, however, the prime minister and his wife are beginning to think about life after Downing Street.

Carrie Johnson was “saying she had had enough a couple of weeks ago”, The Sunday Times said.

The same newspaper also reported that Mr Johnson has been “exploring opportunities in the United States, which would allow him to make $250,000 (£184,000) per speech when he leaves office”.

And the problems are still not going away: a new biography of Mrs Johnson by Tory peer Lord Ashcroft is said to claim she is allowed to influence policies and appointments.

A spokesman for Mrs Johnson described those claims as “cruel allegations”, the Daily Mail reported.

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MP calls on cabinet to tell PM to resign

Others who resigned included policy chief Munira Mirza, who cited Mr Johnson’s “scurrilous accusation” that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was to blame for Jimmy Savile, the prolific sex offender, not being prosecuted.

She wrote: “There was no fair or reasonable basis for that assertion. This was not the usual cut and thrust of politics; it was an inappropriate and partisan reference to a horrendous case of child sex abuse.”

The prime minister’s now former chief of staff, Martin Reynolds, wrote the notorious email inviting Number 10 staff to a “bring your own booze” event in the Downing Street garden on 20 May 2020.

Elena Narozanski, a member of the Number 10 Policy Unit, was the last person to quit.

Earlier, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries insisted that 97% of Tory MPs support Boris Johnson.

She made her comments not long after former schools minister Nick Gibb became the 14th Conservative MP to publicly call for the prime minister to resign.

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