Education secretary is big winner from crisis reshuffle – winning hour-long tussle with Liz Truss
The announcement came after an hour-long stand-off in Downing Street, during which Mr Zahawi was rumoured to be ready to quit unless he was handed the job at No 11.
Instead, he has thrown the beleaguered Mr Johnson a lifeline – but the prime minister is still fighting for his political life after a long-expected cabinet coup was launched.
A snap YouGov poll found that 69 per cent of Britons now say that he should resign, up 11 per cent in just one month.
The universities minister Michelle Donelan becomes the new education secretary, in another significant promotion, after Stephen Barclay was moved from the Cabinet Office to health.
The disintegration of the cabinet – long seen as the event most likely to force the prime minister out of No 10 – dramatically cut the odds on his premiership ending within months, or even weeks.
Mr Javid, the health secretary, walked out telling Mr Johnson the Conservative party is “bigger than any one individual” – while MrSunak, the chancellor, protested that “standards are worth fighting for”.
Earlier, No 10 had admitted the prime minister was told a misconduct complaint had been upheld against Mr Pincher when he promoted him to the whips’ office, triggering an eruption of Tory anger.
The resignations came just moments after a grovelling apology by Mr Johnson for the “mistake” of promoting the minister – a move No 10 had spent five days defending.
Keir Starmer said it was clear “clear that this government is now collapsing” and lashed out at ministers who had been “complicit” as the prime minister “disgraced his office”.
The Labour leader called for a general election – something No 10 threatened Tory MPs with only weeks ago, to stop them moving against Mr Johnson – saying: “We need a fresh start for Britain. We need a change of government.”
Bim Afolami, a vice chair of the Tory party resigned dramatically on air, and David Frost, the former Brexit minister, called on Mr Johnson to go.
But other cabinet ministers joined Mr Zahawi in rallying around to stem the bleeding, including Ms Truss, Dominic Raab, Michael Gove, and Kwasi Kwarteng.