Downing Street rushes to stress relation between PM and Chancellor is ‘good’ while Boris Johnson turns to Lion King after staff exodus
Downing Street insisted this afternoon that relations between Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are “good”.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “I don’t know when they last spoke, they speak almost daily, but I don’t know the exact last time.”
Asked how relations are between No 10 and No 11, he said: “Good – they agreed to a cost-of-living package that the Chancellor set out yesterday.”
Yesterday, in a rare rebuke, the Chancellor stated he would not have made the now much-criticised statement by Boris Johnson that Labour leader Keir Starmer failed to prosecute Jimmy Savile.
Lion King line
The statement comes after 24 hours of chaos in Downing Street, which led Boris Johnson to rally Downing Street staff following the departure of four senior aides, telling them “change is good”, his official spokesman said.
The spokesman confirmed that the Prime Minister used the line from Disney’s The Lion King when he addressed staff in the Cabinet Room on Friday.
“He reflected on the privilege of working in No 10 in order to deliver for the British people and reiterated his and No 10’s commitment to serving the public by keeping people safe, improving lives and spreading opportunity,” the spokesman said.
“As he reiterated to the team today, there is an important job to do, the public expects us to be focused on it, whether it is the situation in Ukraine, recovering from the pandemic or, as the Chancellor was setting out yesterday, on issues such as cost of living.”
Downing Street has said the departure of three senior No 10 aides had been agreed before policy chief Munira Mirza’s shock resignation last night.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said chief of staff Dan Rosenfield, principal private secretary Martin Reynolds and director of communications Jack Doyle were leaving by “mutual consent”.
“The departures of those three individuals were agreed with the Prime Minister ahead of Munira’s departure yesterday. Those were mutual decisions,” the spokesman said.
Asked if the same applied to Elena Narozanski, a special adviser in the policy unit who also reportedly quit, the spokesman said: “No, I don’t believe so.”
He added: “I have seen that departure reported. My understanding is that it is correct.”
Starmer deserves ‘absolute respect’
Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said Sir Keir Starmer deserved “absolute respect” for the job he did as director of public prosecutions.
Mr Javid said that it was important that Boris Johnson has “clarified” his earlier accusation that Sir Keir had failed to prosecute Jimmy Savile.
“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 Sky News.
“But the Prime Minister has also come out and clarified those remarks, and that is important.”