Boris Johnson’s chief spin doctor has resigned from his role at No 10, the Downing Street press office has confirmed this evening (Thursday).
In the second major departure from Downing Street today, Jack Doyle, the Downing Street director of communications, is said to have told staff his intention was always to leave after two years.
His decision was reportedly not linked to the departure of another top aide, policy chief Munira Mirza, who resigned earlier today with a stinging attack on the Prime Minister’s Jimmy Savile slur against Keir Starmer, reports MirrorOnline.
A No 10 spokesperson confirmed tonight: “Jack Doyle has left government.
“He has made a huge contribution and the Prime Minister is immensely grateful for the work he has done.”
The news appeared to come out in a report by the Daily Mail, where Mr Doyle formerly worked.
He reportedly told staff: “It was always my intention to do two years.
“Recent weeks have taken a terrible toll on my family life.
“Thank you all for your hard work and dedication. I wish you all the best for the future.”
Mr Doyle was appointed as Director of Communications in April 2021.
Earlier today Mr Johnson said he was “sorry to lose” one of his closest aides after Ms Mirza quit Downing Street.
She said she resigned over his use of a “scurrilous” Jimmy Savile smear against Sir Keir Starmer, and when he refused to apologise for the “partisan reference to a horrendous case of child sex abuse”.
She said: “I believe it was wrong for you to imply this week that Keir Starmer was personally responsible for allowing Jimmy Savile to escape justice,” the letter seen by the Spectator magazine read.
“There was no fair or reasonable basis for that assertion. This was not the usual cut and thrust of politics; it was an inappropriate and partisan reference to a horrendous case of child sex abuse. You tried to clarify your position today but, despite my urging, you did not apologise for the misleading impression you gave.
“You are a better man than many of your detractors will ever understand which is why it is so desperately sad that you let yourself down by making a bizarre accusation against the Leader of the Opposition.”
Downing Street said in a statement it was “very sorry” that she was quitting, as Tory MP Andrew Griffith was swiftly appointed to fill her role.
Asked by Channel 5 News whether he regretted the comments about Savile and Starmer, the Prime Minister said: “Of course.
“And I’m sorry to lose Munira – she’s done an outstanding job.
“She’s been a wonderful colleague for a long time, and she has been instrumental in delivering all sorts of fantastic policies in London and now in the Government of the UK.”
Asked about Ms Mirza’s description of Mr Johnson’s remarks to Sir Keir as a “partisan reference to a horrendous case of child sex abuse”, the Prime Minister replied: “Well, I don’t agree with that.”
He added that had not commented on the “personal involvement” of Sir Keir Starmer in his handling of the decision not to prosecute Jimmy Savile while he was the director of public prosecutions.
The Chancellor Rishi Sunak told a press conference tonight said he would not have made the comments Boris Johnson made accusing Sir Keir Starmer of failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile.
“With regard to the comments, being honest I wouldn’t have said it and I am glad the Prime Minister clarified what he meant.”