SAJID Javid has resigned as Health Secretary, saying in a letter to Boris Johnson that following last month’s vote of confidence “it is clear to me that this situation will not change under your leadership – and you have therefore lost my confidence too”.

Shortly afterwards, Chancellor Rishi Sunak joined Javid in stepping down from the Cabinet.

According to SNP Westminster chief Ian Blackford, this "has to be the end" for Johnson.

"We have no confidence in him and nor does his Health Secretary or Chancellor," he wrote in response to the pair quitting. "Surely it is now just a matter of time, perhaps hours before @BorisJohnson leaves office. It has to be over."

Later, Whitehall sources said Steve Barclay will replace Sajid Javid as Health Secretary.

What Javid said 

In a tweet, he said: “I have spoken to the Prime Minister to tender my resignation as Secretary of State for Health & Social Care.

“It has been an enormous privilege to serve in this role, but I regret that I can no longer continue in good conscience.”

Javid told the Prime Minister that the recent vote of confidence was a “moment for humility, grip and new direction”.

“I regret to say, however, that it is clear to me that this situation will not change under your leadership – and you have therefore lost my confidence too.”

He also told Boris Johnson: “You will forever be credited with seeing off the threat of Corbynism, and breaking the deadlock on Brexit.”

He continued: “The country needs a strong and principled Conservative Party, and the Party is bigger than any one individual. I served you loyally and as a friend, but we all serve the country first.

“When made to choose between those loyalties there can only be one answer.”

The Chris Pincher row

It comes after Johnson admitted “it was a mistake” to give scandal-hit former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher his government role and said: “I apologise for it.”

Pincher quit as deputy chief whip last week following claims that he groped two men at a private members’ club, but Johnson was told about allegations against him as far back as 2019.

Until Tuesday, Number 10 had claimed Johnson had not been aware of any “specific allegations”.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson 'not telling truth' about Chris Pincher scandal

On Tuesday night, ahead of the Cabinet resignations, the Prime Minister acknowledged he should have sacked Pincher when he was told about the claims against him when he was a Foreign Office minister in 2019, but instead Johnson went on to appoint him to other government roles.

Speaking to reporters in his Commons office he did not deny joking: “Pincher by name, Pincher by nature.”

In response to an urgent question earlier on Tuesday, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Ellis told MPs that Johnson had been made aware of the Foreign Office investigation but “no issue” arose about Pincher remaining as a minister because appropriate action was taken.

“Last week, when fresh allegations arose, the Prime Minister did not immediately recall the conversation in late 2019 about this incident,” Ellis said.

“As soon as he was reminded, the No 10 press office corrected their public lines.”

The admission that Johnson forgot about the earlier complaint came after the former top civil servant at the Foreign Office, Lord McDonald, said the original No 10 account was “not true” and the Prime Minister had been briefed “in person”.

What happens now? 

Tory vice-chair MP Bim Afolami resigned live on air, saying the PM should step down.

The MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, said: “(After) recent allegations about the former deputy chief whip and other things that have happened over recent weeks, I just don’t think the Prime Minister any longer has, not just my support, but he doesn’t have, I don’t think, the support of the party, or indeed the country any more.

“I think for that reason he should step down.”

Afolami said he was “probably not” the party’s vice chairman “after having said that”.

Confirming he would be resigning, he continued: “I think you have to resign because I can’t serve under the Prime Minister – but I say that with regret because I think this Government has done some great things.”

An ally of Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, viewed as a potential leadership candidate, said she was “100% behind the PM”.

It was reported by the BBC that deputy prime minister Dominic Raab and Home Secretary Priti Patel would not be leaving their roles.

A source close to Ben Wallace, who has been tipped as a potential successor to Johnson, said: “The Defence Secretary is not resigning.”

Later, it was reported Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove would be staying.

Tweeting her support for Johnson, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: "I’m not sure anyone actually doubted this, however, I am [100%] behind Boris Johnson the PM who consistently gets all the big decisions right.

Alistair Jack also confirmed he is backing the Prime Minister. 

But it is still possible further resignations could occur as Government sources suggested Sunak and Javid’s announcements were not co-ordinated.

ITV’s political editor Robert Peston said Treasury insiders said the Chancellor made his announcement before he knew his colleague would resign.

READ MORE: Tory MPs line up in Commons to condemn Boris Johnson’s handling of Chris Pincher scandal

He tweeted: “Treasury source tells me that first [Sunak] knew that [Javid] was resigning was AFTER he put out his own resignation statement.

“The claim is these resignations were not coordinated. Which makes them 1) more damaging for the prime minister and 2) raises possibility other ministers may resign. If Boris Johnson can survive the resignations of two of the five most important members of his cabinet, including the most important, he can survive anything.”

The 1922 Committee, the powerful backbench committee with the power to hold confidence votes in the Prime Minister, holds its elections soon.

It presents Conservative opponents the opportunity to oust Johnson by changing the committee’s rules to allow another no confidence vote, after a failed attempt earlier this year.