MINISTERS standing by the Prime Minister have been told to “have some self-respect” and quit as Labour leader Keir Starmer claimed the only way to end the scandal-hit Government is “getting rid of a lot of them”.

Tory MP Chris Pincher quit as deputy chief whip last week following claims that he groped two men at a private members’ club, but Mr Johnson was told about allegations against him as far back as 2019.

The Prime Minister acknowledged he should have sacked Mr Pincher when he was told about the claims against him when he was a Foreign Office minister in 2019, but instead Mr Johnson went on to appoint him to other government roles.

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, the Labour leader said Mr Johnson “knew the accused minister had previously committed predatory behaviour, but he promoted to a position of power anyway”.

READ MORE: PMQs: Boris Johnson told to resign by Tory MPs as he attempts to cling onto power

But the PM repeated his apology for his failure to act on previous warnings about Mr Pincher.

He said: “It is true that the complaint was raised when he was in the Foreign Office and the matter was resolved.

“It's absolutely true that it was raised with me.

“I greatly regret that he continued in office. He is now the subject of an independent investigation. That is the right thing.”

Mr Johnson admitted that “in hindsight I should have realised that he would not change”.

He added that once the latest allegations emerged, “I acted immediately”.

Sir Keir pointed to a host of Tory ministers who have resigned in the last 24 hours.

He warned that “anyone quitting now”, after defending a number of scandals engulfing the Government “hasn't got a shred of integrity”. He said: “Isn't this the first recorded case of the sinking ships fleeing the rats?”

The Labour leader called on those remaining in Government to “have some self-respect".

He added: “For a week, he's had them defending his decision to promote a sexual predator. Every day the lines he's forced them to take have been untrue.

“And now he wants them to go out and say that he simply forgot that his whip was a sexual predator.

“Anyone with anything about them would be long gone from his front bench. In the middle of a crisis, doesn't the country deserve better than a Z-list cast of nodding dogs?”

But the Prime Minister said that with Ukraine still under attack from Russia, “that is exactly the moment that you’d expect the Government to continue with its work, not to walk away”.

He stressed his intention to “get on with our job and to focus on the things that matter to the people of this country”.

In response, Sir Keir said: “The only thing he's delivering is chaos”.

The Labour leader added: “He's only in power because he's been propped up for months by a corrupted party defending the indefensible.

“So it's no longer a case about swapping the person at the top. Isn't it clear, the only way the country could get a fresh start it deserves is by getting rid of a lot of them.”

Mr Johnson leapt to defend himself, claiming that “the difference between this Government and that opposition is we have a plan and they do not”.

He added that “we're going to get on with our job”, claiming that “we're helping people up and down the country and we are going to continue to deliver on the mandate I was given”.

SNP Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, told the Prime Minsiter that “it really is over”.

Mr Blackford said: “He really ought to see the faces behind him because, Prime Minister, it really is over.

"The Prime Minister is desperately clinging on to his own fantasy.

“But the public can’t afford to put up with this farce of a Government a minute longer. Today we should be talking about the Tory cost-of-living crisis, soaring inflation and the growing cost of Brexit.

"But, instead, it’s always about him. How many more ministers need to quit before he finally picks up his pen and writes his own resignation letter?”