The coordinated defence is part of attempts to shore up Theresa May’s government, which has been weakened by a series of scandals and gaffes involving her top team of ministers as she negotiates the Brexit.
The government is giving off the whiff of terminal decline. But it’s not yet in free fall.
It is the second resignation in May’s top team in a week, underlining her weakness at a time when she faces the complicated task of unravelling ties with the EU and holding a deeply divided party together.
She had failed to follow the usual procedures that ministers follow, which is informing Britain’s Foreign Office before conducting official business overseas.