Boris Johnson’s director of communications has quit this evening, just hours after his policy chief also left Downing Street.
Jack Doyle, a well-respected former journalist who joined the Number 10 operation in 2020, has reportedly told friends he always planned to leave after two years.
Doyle also told Downing Street staff that the departure had nothing to do with today’s resignation of Number 10 policy chief Munira Mirza.
Mirza quit over the PM’s refusal to apologise for an allegation that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer had failed to prosecute child sex offender Jimmy Savile when he was director of public prosecutions.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak also refused to give an endorsement of Johnson’s comments about Starmer at a press conference today, saying that “to be honest I wouldn’t have said that”.
The two Downing Street resignations come after four Tory MPs over the past two days have called for the Prime Minister to resign, with more expected to come.
Mirza’s resignation letter, revealed by The Spectator, read: “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.
“You are a better man than many of your detractors will ever understand which is why it is so desperately sad that you let yourself down by making a scurrilous accusation against the Leader of the Opposition.”
Johnson first made the Savile claim on Monday and doubled-down on it yesterday in Prime Minister’s Questions.
Starmer was the director of public prosecutions in 2009 when it was decided not to arrest and charge one of the UK’s most prolific paedophiles, however he was not personally working on the case.
In 2013, he issued an apology for the Crown Prosecution Service’s failures regarding Savile.
Starmer said Johnson’s accusation was a “smear” and that the Prime Minister was “parroting the conspiracy theories of violent fascists to try and score cheap political points”.