Downing Street resignations: Which key figures have left Boris Johnson’s top team? | Politics News

Boris Johnson’s premiership has been rocked by a series of high-profile resignations from Downing Street – all within the space of a few hours.

The departure of four key figures from Number 10 raises major questions over the prime minister’s grip on power, after the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, openly distanced himself from Mr Johnson at a news conference.

Earlier this week, the PM told Tory MPs he would reshape the team around him in response to the “failures of leadership” identified by senior civil servant Sue Gray in her report on alleged lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street and Whitehall.

But this wave of resignations does not appear to have been choreographed.

So who has gone?

Munira Mirza, former director of the Number 10 policy unit

Munira Mirza

Having worked with Boris Johnson at least 14 years, Munira Mirza has long been seen as one of his closest and most trusted advisers.

But in her resignation letter, published by The Spectator, she said she had urged the prime minister to apologise for his Jimmy Savile slur against Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

She wrote: “I believe it was wrong for you to imply this week that Keir Starmer was personally responsible for allowing Jimmy Savile to escape justice.

“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.

“You tried to clarify your position today but, despite my urging, you did not apologise for the misleading impression you gave.”

Number 10 announced that Tory MP Andrew Griffith would replace Ms Mirza as head of the Downing Street policy unit.

Deputy press secretary Jack Doyle in Downing Street, London, the morning after Lee Cain announced he is resigning as Downing Street's director of communications and will leave the post at the end of the year.
Former director of communications, Jack Doyle

Jack Doyle

The former Daily Mail journalist was appointed director of communications in April 2021, replacing James Slack, who quit to become deputy editor-in-chief at The Sun newspaper.

Mr Doyle is alleged to have attended a Downing Street party on 18 December, addressing staff members who were at the event and giving out awards.

ITV News claimed there were 50 people at the gathering.

Mr Doyle was surrounded by controversy earlier on in the role after Dominic Cummings accused him of having been the Number 10 source who briefed newspapers that the PM’s former senior adviser had been responsible for a series of damaging leaks.

Chief of Staff to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Dan Rosenfield walks outside Downing Street in London, Britain, January 25, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Former chief of staff, Dan Rosenfield

Dan Rosenfield

Mr Rosenfield was appointed Downing Street’s chief of staff in January 2021, following the resignations of the PM’s key aides Lee Cain and Dominic Cummings, and the departure of his long-time strategic adviser Sir Edward Lister.

According to a report in The Times, Mr Rosenfield may have attended a Christmas quiz in December 2020, as a chance to meet other staff before formally starting his role. Downing Street denied the allegations.

Conservative MPs have been critical, claiming he does not understand the parliamentary party, and have urged Mr Johnson to replace him.

Mr Rosenfield was private secretary to former chancellors Alistair Darling and George Osborne, but had worked as a consultant in the private sector before taking up his current role.

Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister. Martin Reynolds
PIC:UK Government
Former principal private secretary to the prime minister, Martin Reynolds. Pic: UK government

Martin Reynolds

The prime minister’s principal private secretary was thrust into the spotlight as the man behind the notorious “bring your own booze” email sent to Downing Street staff, inviting them to “socially distanced drinks” in the Number 10 garden on 20 May 2020.

The leaked email, seen by ITV News, placed Mr Reynolds – who was appointed to his role in October 2019 – firmly at the centre of the Downing Street partygate row.

The same month, according to an initial report by The Guardian, Mr Reynolds was seen in the Downing Street garden alongside the PM and several other staff at a time when the guidance said people could only meet one person who they did not live with outdoors.

On 11 January, a Number 10 spokesperson said that the PM had “full confidence” in Mr Reynolds and that he will continue in his role despite calls to resign.

As the PM’s principal private secretary, Mr Reynolds is a prominent adviser to the PM and leads operations inside Number 10.

He previously worked his way up the Foreign Office ranks to become principal private secretary to the foreign secretary, a role which he held when Mr Johnson headed the department as foreign secretary from 2016 to 2018.

He is understood to be returning to the Foreign Office.

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