The resignation on Monday of three ministers over Brexit means Theresa May has now lost more than 30 members of her Government in the past 12 months.
Richard Harrington, Alistair Burt and Steve Brine quit their posts as business, Foreign Office and health ministers respectively, in order to back a Commons amendment enabling MPs to hold “indicative votes” on alternatives to the Prime Minister’s deal.
In doing so they became the 32nd, 33rd and 34th members of the Government to resign since last March.
Their departure also means that a total of 22 ministers have quit during the past 12 months, including five members of the Cabinet.
Almost all the departures have been over Brexit, though a handful of resignations were for other reasons, such as Amber Rudd resigning as home secretary over the Windrush scandal, and Greg Hands quitting as trade minister in opposition to the planned expansion of Heathrow airport.
Theresa May has seen a turnover of Government ministers that is unprecedented in recent political history.
More ministers have resigned since she became Prime Minister in July 2016 (a total of 28) than did so during the entire 11 years of Margaret Thatcher’s premiership (25), according to Gavin Freeguard of the Institute for Government.
Tony Blair notched up 29 ministerial resignations during his time in Downing Street – but that was over a decade, while Theresa May has almost equalled that number in just 33 months.
Even Gordon Brown’s eventful three years as Prime Minister saw only 17 ministerial departures (not including reshuffles).
Resignations under Theresa May’s premiership have tended to come in bursts, prompted by the next big development in the Brexit process.
A total of seven departures, four of them ministers, all took place on November 15 2018 in protest over Theresa May’s draft Brexit deal.
And five resignations, including that of Cabinet members David Davis and Boris Johnson, came in the space of 24 hours in July 2018 shortly after the announcement of Theresa May’s so-called ‘Chequers plan’ for leaving the EU.