UK: Senior aides quit in new blow to embattled Boris Johnson

LONDON (AP) — Four of Boris Johnson’s most senior staff have quit, triggering new turmoil for the embattled British prime minister.

Johnson’s office said chief of staff Dan Rosenfield and principal private secretary Martin Reynolds had both tendered their resignations. Director of Communications Jack Doyle and senior adviser Munira Mirza also said they had left on Thursday.

Johnson is facing public anger and discontent inside his Conservative Party over lockdown-breaching government parties during the coronavirus pandemic. Johnson has apologized and pledged to fix the problems in his office, but has not admitted personal wrongdoing.

Conservative lawmakers are mulling whether to seek a no-confidence vote in the leader who won them a big parliamentary majority just over two years ago.

On Wednesday, Johnson’s government set out plans for a huge shift in power and wealth to left-behind regions of the country. That’s a long-standing promise to the voters who helped put Johnson in office.

Johnson’s Conservative government was elected in 2019 on a pledge to “level up” one of Europe’s most regionally unequal countries.

The government fleshed out that promise Wednesday with details of plans to invest in public transport, education, digital connectivity and R&D in poorer regions, mostly in central and northern England, by 2030. But there are few details of how the ambitious plans will be funded.

Johnson hopes announcing the long-awaited plans will provide some respite from the scandal over lockdown-breaching parties by his government.