IN light of the mass resignations which have followed in the wake of Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid's announcements, it is worth bearing in mind that ignominious resignations have been a regular feature of Tory government for the past 10 years.

We look back on some of the most shocking and damaging of these, if only as a reminder that ministers who step down may reappear just as easily…

Sajid Javid

It may seem a long time ago now, but it was only a little over two years ago that Javid first unexpectedly resigned as chancellor in the middle of a Cabinet reshuffle, just four weeks before he was due to deliver the Budget. Although Javid ostensibly resigned over his refusal to fire his team of aides, it followed rumours of tensions with Dominic Cummings.

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Douglas Ross

In May 2020, the then-parliamentary under secretary of state for Scotland resigned in protest over Dominic Cummings continuing to act as Johnson’s adviser after breaching Covid travel restrictions. Very few people noticed.

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Dominic Cummings

Though not a minister, few resignations from Johnson’s government have been more dramatic than the forced and belated exit of the erstwhile architect of the Vote Leave campaign, and No 10’s answer to Rasputin, in November 2020. Since then, Cummings has been infamously vituperative in his reflections of Johnson’s administration.

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Matt Hancock

Covid restrictions would claim another member of Johnson’s government when video emerged of the health secretary breaching social distancing guidance by kissing a colleague, with whom he was having an extramarital affair.

When he resigned in June 2021, Hancock stated that "those of us who make these rules have got to stick by them" – a sentiment that would return to haunt Johnson’s government.

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Priti Patel

It is difficult to know where to begin with resignations under Theresa May, the amount of which were described as “unprecedented” by the Institute of Government.

In less than three years, May’s administration saw more resignations than those of Margaret Thatcher or Tony Blair. Amongst the most controversial was arguably Priti Patel, who was forced to step down as secretary of state after failing to be candid with May about unofficial meetings with the Israeli Government.

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Amber Rudd

Already beset by the Windrush scandal, Rudd resigned as Home Secretary in April 2018 after “inadvertently” misleading MPs, telling them that the Home Office had no targets for removing illegal immigrants, only for the Guardian newspaper to publisher a letter from Rudd setting out her “ambitious but deliverable” aim to deport 10% more migrants “over the next few years”.

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Boris Johnson

Perhaps ironically, one of the most sensational Tory resignations of recent history was Johnson himself, who – along with numerous others – resigned as foreign secretary in opposition to the Chequers deal.

Less than a year later, after Theresa May’s deal fell to the largest majority against a UK Government in history, May herself was gone … But was soon replaced by Johnson. Whether the resignations he now faces presage a similar fate remains to be seen.