Boris Johnson under pressure to sack ‘openly manoeuvring’ Rishi Sunak over Savile rebuke

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Boris Johnson is being advised to sack Rishi Sunak for distancing himself from the Prime Minister over his attack on Sir Keir Starmer for not prosecuting Jimmy Savile

Under-pressure Boris Johnson is being pushed to sack “on manoeuvres” Rishi Sunak as he faces a cabinet in civil war, it is reported.

The Prime Minister is engulfed in a backlash over alleged illegal parties during Covid lockdown which has led to attacks from backbench MPs and has led to a growing number to submit letters of no confidence.

Along with this, he has faced staff resignations and gas been criticised for accusing the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer of failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile when he was director of public prosecutions.

Both Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Sunak publicly went against Johnson following his attack on Starmer leading to cabinet turmoil.

And some Cabinet members feel Johnson should wield the axe on Sunak who noticeably distanced himself from the Prime Minister with his comments on Starmer, reports The Times.

He said: “Being honest I wouldn’t have said it and I’m glad that the Prime Minister clarified what he meant.”

It comes as the Chancellor and Javid have been accused of posturing for the top position.

One cabinet member told The Times: “He who wields the knife never wears the crown. It’s just so blatant. Once the May elections are out the way there will be a reshuffle. Sunak has to go. I don’t see how he [Johnson] can keep someone who is so openly on manoeuvres.”

Others reportedly held the same view, with one calling Sunak’s comments “pretty sly” and another saying he is being encouraged to “stir things up”.

A minister said: “I think it’s pretty sly of Rishi. Yesterday was a massive earthquake for Boris and the government, he should have supported him. I don’t think Rishi’s happy. He’s looking at the future and he can see the end of Boris on the horizon.”

Speaking on Friday, Javid indicated that he agreed with Sunak.

“Keir Starmer, when he was running the DPP, did a good job and he should be respected for it. It is a tough job and he deserved absolute respect for that,” he told reporters.

Javid acknowledged Johnson had subsequently “clarified” his comments and insisted the prime minister still had his full support.

Former minister Nick Gibb is the latest Tory MP to ask the Prime Minister to go, suggesting he had not been truthful in his explanations of parties reportedly held in No 10 and across Whitehall during Covid measures.

Gibb, who is reported to have submitted a no-confidence letter to Sir Graham Brady, brings the number of Tory MPs who have now publicly called for Mr Johnson to resign to 15.

Privately, the number is expected to be higher.

Writing in The Telegraph, the MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton said that the Conservative Party must face the “hard truths”, and added: “To restore trust, we need to change the prime minister.”

It comes as the Mirror has been told that police have a photograph of the Prime Minister holding a can of a beer at his lockdown birthday party in June 2020.

Johnson is pictured standing next to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who is holding a soft drink, in No10’s Cabinet Room.

It is one of the 300 photos believed to have been handed to the Met in their investigation into 12 alleged gatherings that may have broken Covid restrictions.

On Friday, the prime minister sought to rally Downing Street staff with a line from The Lion King, telling them “Change is good” after the departure of a number of aides.

He was hit with a fifth resignation in less than 24 hours when Elena Narozanski, a special adviser in the No 10 policy unit, walked out on Friday.