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UK PM under pressure after 5 top aides quit amid partygate fallout

Number 10 Policy Unit member Elena Narozanski is the latest aide to leave Boris Johnson’s Downing Street operation amid the continuing fallout from the partygate allegations, Conservative Home reports.

Her departure comes after Number 10 revealed Dan Rosenfield, the prime minister’s chief of staff, and Martin Reynolds, Mr Johnson’s principal private secretary, are leaving their roles.

Two other key advisers to Mr Johnson – press chief Jack Doyle and policy chief Munira Mirza – have also resigned.

PM delivering changes, minister claims

Speaking to Sky News before Ms Narozanski’s resignation was revealed, energy minister Greg Hands claimed the departures were evidence of the PM “taking charge”.

Asked what is going in Downing Street, he said: “Resignations have been made, resignations have been accepted.

“The prime minister was absolutely clear on Monday that there would be changes at the top of No 10 and that is what he has delivered.

“The Sue Gray report update said that there were failings at the top of the operation.

“This is the prime minister taking charge.”

Mr Hands said the departure of Ms Mirza was different from the other three resignations.

In her resignation letter, she criticised PM’s “scurrilous” use of a discredited claim against Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer that he failed to prosecute Jimmy Savile when he was director of public prosecutions.

“The resignation of Munira Mirza is a little bit different. She made clear her reasons for her resignation. The prime minister was equally clear that he disagreed with her,” Mr Hands said.

“The prime minister was also clear on Wednesday that he was referring back to the public apology made by Sir Keir Stamer in 2013.

“These are all events that happened many, many years ago. The time is now to move on.”

Mr Johnson has stepped back from his use of the claim after days of criticism, saying he was not talking about Sir Keir’s “personal record” when he was DPP and “I totally understand that he had nothing to do personally with those decisions”.

What did the PM say about shaking up Number 10?

Speaking in the Commons on Monday in the wake of the release of a partial version of Sue Gray’s report, the PM promised a shakeup of his Number 10 operation.

The report said Downing Street lockdown gatherings represented a “serious failure” and were “difficult to justify”.

Mr Johnson told MPs he was making changes to the way Downing Street and the Cabinet Office are run “so that we can get on with the job that I was elected to do and the job that this government was elected to do”.

“First it is time to sort out what Sue Gray rightly calls the fragmented and complicated leadership structures of Downing Street which she says have not evolved sufficiently to meet the demands of the expansion of Number 10 and we will do that, including by creating an office of the prime minister with a permanent secretary to lead Number 10,” he said.

But it has been speculated that Mr Johnson was forced to bring forward his plans following the surprise departure of Ms Mirza.