POOLE MP Sir Robert Syms said it will be “very difficult” for Boris Johnson to survive as Prime Minister following the resignation of the Chancellor and Health Secretary.

Shortly after Mr Johnson issued a statement apologising for appointing Chris Pincher as deputy chief whip, Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid announced their decision to step down from the senior cabinet posts.

These resignations have piled the pressure on the Prime Minister just weeks after he survived a vote of no confidence.

Sir Robert told the Daily Echo: “Clearly there is still quite a lot of upset about the way the Prime Minister is handling things and the one strength he has had so far is he has kept his cabinet loyal to him, including Rishi who I think next week was going to be doing a variety of announcements on policy.

“The fact they have gone today does man it looks like it is going to be very difficult for the Prime Minister to survive.

“He might still try and reappoint people and continue into the next week or two to get to the recess but it seems to me if these two go, any others who want to stand for the leadership are likely to be in a position where they are considering their positions as well.

“It is most likely to cause a change and we will have to see what happens over the next four or five days but Tory MPs are a bit schizophrenic, they want to see things resolved and they are little surprised by the speed at which things are going.”

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

The Prime Minister acknowledged he should have sacked Mr Pincher when he was told about the claims against him when he was a Foreign Office minister in 2019, but instead Mr Johnson went on to appoint him to other government roles.

Bournemouth Echo: Sajid Javid MPSajid Javid MP

Assessing events of today, which started with a letter written by Lord McDonald saying Downing Street was not telling the truth about Mr Pincher, Sir Robert said: “The cabinet members have been put in a very difficult position.

“I happen to think that if there were a vote on leadership he would still win today but with a small majority.

“I think the promise that was made when he won the vote of confidence was that things were going to be better, we are going to handle things better.

“There isn’t much you can do with a situation like Chris Pincher because sometimes people don’t know about what people get up to around you but it just hasn’t been handled very well.

“There have been different lines taken by Downing Street. No one is quite sure what did and what didn’t happen. This is undermining sensible government and sensible policy making.

“Other ministers who want to make announcements are being frustrated. Instead of being able to make announcements, all they are getting are questions about the Prime Minister and his judgements.

“He might stagger on for a little longer but at the moment he looks severely wounded.”

Sir Robert added: “I thought when he won the vote of confidence that would settle things down, we would get to the summer recess and he would have an opportunity with the conference and the budget coming up in the autumn to have a sort of restart.

“This has come on top of everything else and it is like a straw that breaks the camel’s back. Something in itself isn’t a dramatic situation but it just reminds people that perhaps the way in which the Prime minister is running the country isn’t very effective and he doesn’t seem to be in charge of the situation and there have been some bad judgements.

“Ultimately, if you looked at the faces in cabinet when cameras were let in earlier today, it looked like a pretty black mood. Nobody was smiling and happy and jolly. I think for many people in cabinet they wanted the Prime Minister to succeed and I think many of them supported him but here we are a few weeks later going from difficulty to difficulty.”

The cabinet resignations by Mr Sunak and Mr Javid have put pressure on Mr Johnson’s premiership.

Bournemouth Echo: Rishi Sunak MPRishi Sunak MP

Asked about who he would like to see leading the Conservative Party, Sir Robert said: “I would like how people act in this situation because I think some of those who have been brave enough to resign will be in a better position to takeover than some of those who are sticking to a sinking ship.

“We will have to see what the choice is. The Conservative Party has a lot of talented people and what will happen, if we get to a leadership contest, is there will be several people who put their hats in the ring and maybe somebody will inspire as the person to pick up the office and continue.

“Some people who look like they are going to inherit everything sometimes don’t and some of those who are people you don’t expect to emerge do.

“We will just have to see. It is going to be an interesting time and given that we have still got nearly two years left of Parliament, there still is time, if there were a change, for the Government to rebuild itself, reset and go on to win (the general election).”