BBC Newsnight pulled a blinder and trolled Boris Johnson

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Newsnight tickled viewers last night when it took a pop at Boris Johnson on a day in which a record-breaking number of ministers resigned.

Ahead of speculation today the prime minister is reluctantly quitting as Tory leader after a steady trickle of resignations in his government became a torrent, the BBC came up with a clever way to highlight the mass exodus.

With a spot of Bittersweet Symphony, of course.

In a move that has got punters calling for Newsnight to land the Bafta for best comedy, credits rolled at the end of Wednesday night’s programme with a list of the 43 ministers that had quit up to the moment the poor credits editor had put the package together.

It can’t have been an easy job as a load more quit in the time between rendering the clip and sending it to air, but it was still a lengthy list that ended with the words: ‘Boris Johnson – Prime Minister ?’

If only they knew…

In a hauntingly beautiful backing, if we do say so ourselves, London Grammar’s live version of The Verve’s classic hit played with a backdrop of Mr Johnson in black and white as the names rolled across his sad little expression.

Host Kirsty Wark was joined on the Newsnight couch by Financial Times’ Stephen Bush, Mr Johnson’s biographer Sonia Purnell, and Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis, as she closed the episode.

Wark said: ‘On the evening the resignations from the Johnson Government threaten to become a flood, we leave you with the names of the first 43 of them. As Nick just said there are already more since we came on air.

‘See you tomorrow to find out who they are, if there are more to come. Goodnight.’

Well, dear reader, there were indeed more and this morning the count had surpassed the 50 mark, with increased pressure for Mr Johnson to resign.

Mr Johnson is due to ‘quit today’ with reports that a resignation letter has already been drafted and a statement is expected within hours in front of 10 Downing Street.

The PM faced a wave of new resignations this morning, including the departure of Michelle Donelan as education secretary after less than 48 hours in the role.

It is understood Mr Johnson will plough on with the top job until a new party leader is chosen, expected to be by the time of the Conservative Party conference in October.

The twin resignations of Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak on Tuesday led to the domino effect of departures which led to the situation the government finds itself in today.

Following Mr Johnson’s resignation, the Conservative Party will once again begin the search for a new leader.

Reacting to the bombshell news this morning, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer blasted the ‘lies, scandal and fraud on an industrial scale’ seen during Mr Johnson’s time in office.

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