The exit of No 10 chief of staff Dan Rosenfield and Johnsonâ€™s principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds, followed director of communications Jack Doyle in resigning, along with Munira Mirza, who is one of the PMâ€™s most loyal and longstanding advisers. She walked out over the â€œscurrilousâ€ Jimmy Savile smear against Labour Keir Starmer.
But rather than being portrayed as a disaster for the Conservatives â€“ the Daily Mail front page screamed â€˜Meltdown In Downing Streetâ€™ â€“ the partyâ€™s whipping operation wanted to give it a different spin.
HuffPost UKâ€™s political editor, Kevin Schofield, reported a leak from the Conservative MPsâ€™ WhatsApp group, which included instructions on what the party line should be.
A message in the group read: â€œSee Stewartâ€™s tweet acknowledging the change promised on Monday is now underway. Please do retweet â€“ or better still craft your own short tweet. Letâ€™s show everyone that the PM means business.â€
â€œStewartâ€™s tweetâ€ referred to the comment from Stuart Anderson, the Tory MP for Wolverhampton South West since 2019. He wrote: â€œOn Monday Boris Johnson promised MPs change. Tonight we see that change starting to happen and I welcome this quick action by the Prime Minster.â€
Commentators were unimpressed.
Whether or not they were inspired by â€œStewartâ€™s tweetâ€, Tory MPs quickly adopted a form of words likely to please party enforcers given their remarkable similarity.
Spot the difference between Michael Fabricantâ€™s â€œThe PM promised changes to the No10 operation at the 1922 on Monday, and itâ€™s good to see action is now swiftly being takenâ€ and Joy Morrisseyâ€™s â€œThe PM promised changes to the No10 operation earlier this week, glad to see him delivering tonight.â€