Live news updates: More than 40 members of UK government quit, heaping pressure on Boris Johnson

What to watch in Asia today

Hajj: After a two year hiatus because of the pandemic, Saudi Arabia will again welcome international pilgrims to perform the annual ritual. One million people are expected to attend.

Samsung: The South Korean company will issue its expectations for second-quarter earnings, which will be released later this month. The guidance comes amid signs the global chip shortage is slowing.

G20: Foreign ministers from the group meet on the Indonesian island of Bali. Many ministers will attend in-person, including Sergei Lavrov, Russian foreign minister. The global food and energy crisis are on the agenda.

Markets: Stock markets whipsawed on Wednesday while a sell-off in US government bonds continued after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s most recent meeting warned that the central bank could move to a “more restrictive” monetary policy to fight inflation. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note gained 0.12 percentage points to 2.93 per cent, the S&P 500 closed 0.4 per cent higher and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.4 per cent.

Boris Johnson loses third cabinet minister as Simon Hart resigns

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The secretary of state to Wales has become the third member of Boris Johnson’s cabinet to resign, bringing the total number of resignations from the UK government to 43 in the past two days.

Simon Hart said in a letter to Boris Johnson he felt there was no option but to join the exodus.

“Colleagues have done their upmost in private and public to help you turn the ship around, but it is with sadness that I feel we have passed the point where this is possible.”

Hart also complimented the prime minister for his “energy, vision, determination, and humour”.

He is the third cabinet minister to step down, joining former chancellor Rishi Sunak and former health minister Sajid Javid. The pair kicked off the resignation parade, vacating their roles within minutes of each other on Tuesday.

Michael Gove sacked by Boris Johnson

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Boris Johnson’s turbulent three-year premiership was nearing its end on Wednesday night after he was urged to quit by a delegation of his closest cabinet allies on a night of chaos in Downing Street.

As his premiership hung by a thread, Johnson retaliated by sacking Michael Gove, one of the ministers who told the prime minister to go, according to allies of the levelling up secretary.

The UK prime minister was warned that unless he stepped down there would be further cabinet resignations, followed by an inevitable humiliating defeat by Tory MPs in a no-confidence vote next week.

Gove had been the first minister to tell Johnson to step down. One individual with knowledge of the conversation said: “Michael essentially told him that it’s time to go — it’s over.”

But Johnson told ministers he would fight on, effectively daring them to resign, and warned that if he quit there would be a chaotic Tory leadership contest in the midst of an economic crisis.

Read more on Gove’s sacking here

Resignations continue as Redcar MP quits PPS post

Jacob Young has become the latest member of the UK government to resign, as the steady flow of departures seeps into Wednesday evening.

Young, who was a parliamentary private secretary at the department for levelling up, said in a letter to Boris Johnson: “Sadly, you no longer command the support of the parliamentary party and as you have not heeded the advice given to you, I feel I am left with no choice but to step down.”

He added: “Today you are failing to listen to those you trust, and act in the national interest. Today you are failing to listen to those most loyal to you. It is out of that same loyalty, that I urge you to now step aside, and allow the country to move forward.”

Young is the MP for Redcar, one of the so-called red wall seats in the north of England that voted in a Conservative at the most recent election after many years of electing Labour politicians.

Young’s departure brings the total number of resignations from the government to 39 in a little over 24 hours, as Johnson battles to hold his government together.

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