Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been rocked by a string of resignations from his team of aides in Downing Street.
The PM is battling to save his premiership as Conservative MPs consider whether to oust him over lockdown parties in Downing Street.
A No 10 spokesman confirmed the PM quoted The Lion King character Rafiki, telling them “change is good”, at a meeting with his team and acknowledged it was a “challenging time”.
They added that Mr Johnson “reflected on the privilege of working in No 10” and “thanked those who are leaving for their contribution alongside the whole team for their work”.
On Friday morning, backbencher Huw Merriman told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the PM should “shape up or ship out”.
But Energy Minister Greg Hands told BBC Breakfast the resignations came after Mr Johnson “made it clear there would be a shake-up” of the Downing Street operation, following criticism from senior civil servant Sue Gray in her report on rule-breaking parties.
When asked about Ms Gray’s findings, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the prime minister had “started making changes” and supported his leadership.