BBC begs ministers to resign live on air – desperate and embarrassing text message leaked

Boris Johnson is 'absolutely' honest claims Nadhim Zahawi

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The junior member of the Government criticised the national broadcaster after it attempted to goad her into resigning live on air. She shared a message on social media from a producer from Radio 4’s Today programme in which they asked her to consider giving them a resignation interview if she chose to quit.

They added that “a resignation live on air would be even better”.

Ms Caulfield has given no indication of her desire to quit her position despite a wave of MPs leaving the Government in the past 24 hours.

She wrote on social media after receiving the message from the BBC: “These are very difficult times for all of us working night and day for our constituents.

“Unfortunately for the BBC, it’s just one big game.”

The text sent to her read: “I appreciate you may well be staying in place but if you are planning on resigning we’d be very keen to get an interview with you – a resignation live on air would be even better.

“Please do let me know in confidence if that’s something you’d consider.”

The resignations of Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid last night started the ball rolling on a number of junior ministers leaving their posts, with more expected to quit today.

The attempt to persuade Ms Caulfield to resign live on air comes after the Tory Party’s vice chairman, Ben Afolami, announced he was quitting on Talk TV last night.

He warned he “can’t serve under the Prime Minister”.

Speaking on The Newsroom, he said: “I think that what’s been very sad over 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 has, not just my support, but the support of the party or the country anymore.

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

Confirming his resignation, 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.”

Two MPs have quit the Government so far today.

Will Quince resigned as children and families minister, saying he could not accept being sent out to defend the Prime Minister on television with inaccurate information over the Chris Pincher row.

Laura Trott quit as a ministerial aide, saying “trust in politics is – and must always be – of the utmost importance, but sadly in recent months this has been lost”.

Mr Quince was one of the ministers sent on the airwaves to defend Mr Johnson’s position over Chris Pincher, who quit as deputy chief whip after allegedly assaulting two men while drunk at London’s Carlton Club.

The Prime Minister later acknowledged he had previously been informed of allegations against Mr Pincher dating back to 2019 and said he regretted keeping him in government beyond that point.

Mr Quince said he had received a “sincere apology” from Mr Johnson for being sent out with an “inaccurate” briefing about the Prime Minister’s knowledge of events.

But “I have no choice but to tender my resignation” as “I accepted and repeated those assurances in good faith”.

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