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Boris Johnson bows out watched by Carrie and baby Romy

Boris Johnson finally announced his resignation today admitting ‘no-one is indispensable’ – but is lining up a ‘unity Cabinet’ as he battles to stay in Downing Street for months longer.

In a statement in Downing Street, the PM tried to sound an upbeat tone as he confirmed his MPs ‘clearly’ want a change and his time in office will come to an end when a new Tory leader is installed.

Standing at the traditional podium and watched by wife Carrie, baby Romy and close aides, Mr Johnson said the situation was ‘painful’ but pointed to his achievements since winning the huge landslide – such as the vaccine rollout, Brexit and coming to the aid of Ukraine. 

He said his message to voters who delivered his 2019 landslide was ‘thank you for that incredible mandate’, adding the ‘reason I have fought so hard’ was because he felt it was his ‘job’ to deliver what he promised.

Boris’s resignation speech at a glance 

PM vows to stay on until new Tory leader chosen  

‘I have today appointed a Cabinet to serve, as I will until a new leader is in place.’

He fought to stay in power out of ‘duty’ to 2019 voters

The PM hailed his ‘incredible mandate’ from the 2019 general election.

He added: ‘The reason I have fought so hard in the last few days to continue to deliver that mandate in person was not just because I wanted to do so, but because I felt it was my job, my duty, my obligation to you to continue to do what we promised to do in 2019.’

PM hits out at those who removed him in ‘eccentric’ rebellion

‘In the last few days I have tried to persuade my colleagues it would be eccentric to change governments when we are delivering so much and when we have such a vast mandate and when we’re actually only a handful of points behind in the polls.

‘Even in mid-term after quite a few months of pretty relentless sledging.’

Boris admits ‘pain’ at leaving and attacks ‘herd instinct’ of MPs

‘Of course it’s painful not to be able to see through so many ideas and projects myself.

‘But, as we’ve seen at Westminster, the herd instinct is powerful and when the herd moves, it moves.

‘In politics, no one is remotely indispensable.’

Pledges support to next Tory leader but urges them to cut taxes  

‘Our brilliant and Darwinian system will produce another leader equally committed to taking this country forward through tough times.

‘Not just helping families to get through it but changing and improving the way we do things – cutting burdens on businesses and families and, yes, cutting taxes.

‘To that new leader, whoever he or she may be, I say I will give you as much support as I can.’

His ‘sadness’ at giving up ‘best job in the world’

‘I know there will be many people who will be relieved and, perhaps, quite a few who will also be disappointed.

‘I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world, but thems the breaks.’

Message of support to Ukrainians

He said: ‘Let me say now to the people of Ukraine that I know we in the UK will continue to back your fight for freedom for as long as it takes.’

Promise of a ‘golden future’ for Britons

‘Even if things can sometimes seem dark now, our future together is golden.’

‘I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world, but them’s the breaks,’ he said.

Mr Johnson blamed ‘powerful herd instinct’ for his ousting, saying: ‘At Westminster the herd instinct is powerful, when the herd moves, it moves.

‘And my friends in politics, no one is remotely indispensable and our brilliant and Darwinian system will produce another leader, equally committed to taking this country forward through tough times.’

Mr Johnson paid tribute to his family for ‘all they have put up with’, in a nod to the succession of scandals that have blighted his premiership.

‘Our future is golden,’ he finished. 

No10 had appealed for Conservative MPs to come and watch the speech in the street, but there only seemed to be a small crowd present.   

Mr Johnson admitted defeat in the wake of a shattering intervention from Nadhim Zahawi, who was only appointed on Tuesday night following Rishi Sunak’s departure. He told Mr Johnson that his situation is ‘not sustainable’.

A No10 source said Mr Johnson has spoken to Tory 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady and agreed to stand down, with a new Tory leader set to be in place by the party conference in October. 

However, at the same time Mr Johnson has set about rebuilding his Cabinet, making Greg Clark the new Levelling Up Secretary and James Cleverly the Education Secretary. Robert Buckland is returning as Welsh Secretary, and Shailesh Vara takes over as Northern Ireland Secretary. 

Kit Malthouse becomes Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. 

Mr Clark was in the Cabinet under Theresa May but stepped down when Mr Johnson took over, and Mr Buckland was axed as Justice Secretary in a reshuffle last year. Mr Vara was previously a Northern Ireland minister but has been out of government.  

The others are long-standing allies promoted from other jobs.

The PM’s resignation announcement effectively fires the starting gun on what looks set to be a chaotic leadership battle. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss – expected to be a candidate – is cutting short a visit to Indonesia to return to the UK.  

However, it is far from clear that Mr Johnson staying on until October – more than two months – will be acceptable to Tory MPs. More than 50 government members have resigned, and there will be questions over whether they can simply be reappointed, or would even agree to that. There are rumours that Mr Johnson still wants to push key policies such as tax cuts. 

Keir Starmer threatened to call a Parliamentary confidence vote and try to force a general election if Mr Johnson does not leave immediately.

‘He needs to go completely. None of this nonsense about clinging on for a few months,’ he said. 

In his Downing Street speech, Mr Johnson said he is ‘immensely proud’ of the Government’s achievements.

‘I’m immensely proud of the achievements of this Government, from getting Brexit done to settling our relations with the continent for over half a century, reclaiming the power for this country to make its own laws in Parliament, getting us all through the pandemic, delivering the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe, the fastest exit from lockdown, and, in the last few months, leading the West in standing up to Putin’s aggression in Ukraine,’ he said.

He said his successor’s priorities would be ‘helping families to get through … cutting burdens on businesses and families, and, yes, cutting taxes because that is the way to generate the growth and the income we need to pay the great public services.

‘To that new leader, I say, whoever he or she may be, I say: ‘I will give you as much support as I can’.

‘To you, the British public, I know that there will be many people who are relieved and perhaps quite a few who will also be disappointed.

‘I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world.’

In a statement in Downing Street, the PM tried to sound an upbeat tone as he confirmed that his time in office is coming to an end

Standing in front of the traditional podium and watched by close aides, Carrie and baby Romy (pictured), Mr Johnson pointed to his achievements since winning a huge landslide in 2019

Mrs Johnson had nine-month-old Romy with her to hear her husband's resignation speech today

Mrs Johnson had nine-month-old Romy with her to hear her husband’s resignation speech today 

Mr Johnson said his message to voters who delivered his 2019 landslide was 'thank you for that incredible mandate', adding the 'reason I have fought so hard' was because he felt it was his 'job' to deliver what he promised

Mr Johnson said his message to voters who delivered his 2019 landslide was ‘thank you for that incredible mandate’, adding the ‘reason I have fought so hard’ was because he felt it was his ‘job’ to deliver what he promised

Mr Johnson emerged from Downing Street at 12.30pm to deliver his momentous statement to the country

Mr Johnson emerged from Downing Street at 12.30pm to deliver his momentous statement to the country

Can the PM REALLY hang on in No10 until October? 

The UK famously does not have a written constitution.

But the process for changing Prime Ministers has been well established for centuries.

Both David Cameron and Theresa May followed the standard route of resigning as Tory leader, but staying on as PM until a replacement is chosen.

That can take months, as the party’s MPs first whittle down the field to two candidates in a series of votes.

They are then meant to be put to the wider Conservative membership in a run-off – although in the case of Mrs May her opponent Andrea Leadsom pulled out avoiding the need for the last stage.

As soon as a new Tory leader is in place they will be the person who commands a majority in the Commons, and then the Queen can make them PM.  

In contrast, if Mr Johnson decided to quit as PM immediately, the hierarchy within government would kick in. Dominic Raab would be the next in line to take the helm in No10, again until the Tory leadership contest is complete.

However, the mechanism for preventing a determined Mr Johnson from hanging on as PM during a Tory contest is less obvious.  

Senior Tories serving on the 1922 committee executive say there are no provisions in the rules for imposing a temporary leader while a permanent one is chosen. 

They believe that anyone who did serve as a caretaker PM would have to stay out of the leadership race, to avoid having an ‘unfair advantage’.

However, the 1922 executive is meeting again this afternoon and rules can be changed.

After the events of recent days, there is deep anxiety about leaving Mr Johnson in place for another two months – especially with rumours swirling that he still wants to pursue radical new policies. 

Although he stopped short of resigning, Mr Zahawi appears to have struck the killer blow with his public call for Mr Johnson to give in. He tweeted: ‘Prime Minister: this is not sustainable and it will only get worse: for you, for the Conservative Party and most importantly of all the country. You must do the right thing and go now.’ 

Education Secretary Michelle Donelan, who was installed in post at the same time as Mr Zahawi, also declared she is quitting, barely two hours after Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis fell on his sword. 

Up to then the PM had vowed defiance despite the overwhelming evidence of his authority draining away.

At 6.47am, Mr Lewis tweeted that he could no longer continue without ‘honesty, integrity and mutual respect’. 

Minutes later Treasury minister Helen Whately followed suit saying ‘there are only so many times you can apologise and move on’. 

Security minister Damian Hinds and science minister George Freeman had followed by 7.30am, and pensions minister Guy Opperman by 7.50am.

Meanwhile, Wales minister David TC Davies publicly announced that he had refused a promotion to take over from Welsh Secretary Simon Hart, who quit last night. The Attorney General, Suella Braverman has called for Mr Johnson to resign and said she is only staying in place to keep the government functioning. 

With the resignation tally reaching well over 50, the government was unable to find a minister willing to go on the airwaves to speak up for the PM this morning – with total silence from his team for hours. 

The chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris was seen going into Downing Street early, after the lights were seen on in the PM’s flat deep into the night. 

However, Mr Johnson’s critics were swarming to studios.

Former Cabinet minister Julian Smith warned that the premier had seen how Donald Trump behaved in relation to the Capitol riots after the US election, and was looking to have a ‘mini version in the UK’.

There were even suggestions from allies that Mr Johnson could try to force a snap general election in a desperate bid to cling to office – something that could drag the Queen into a constitutional crisis. 

Veteran Tory MP Bernard Jenkin had urged Mrs Johnson to step in a convince her husband that he should throw in the towel. 

But the stage is now set for another tussle over whether Mr Johnson should remain in place through what could be a protracted leadership struggle. 

George Freeman, who announced he was resigning as science minister this morning, said Mr Johnson must apologise to the Queen and advise her to call for a caretaker PM.

‘Boris Johnson needs to hand in the seals of office, apologise to Her Majesty and advise her to call for a caretaker prime minister,’ he said. ‘To take over today so that ministers can get back to work and we can choose a new Conservative leader to try and repair the damage and rebuild trust.’

A former minister told MailOnline: ‘We need to be rid of the Johnson poison as quickly as possible.’

Ex-No10 chief Dominic Cummings wrote on Twitter: ‘Evict TODAY or he’ll cause CARNAGE, even now he’s playing for time & will try to stay

‘No ‘dignity’, no ‘interim while leadership contest’.

‘Raab shd be interim PM by evening.’

Another former minister, Nick Gibb, said: ‘As well as resigning as Party leader the PM must resign his office. 

‘After losing so many ministers, he has lost the trust and authority required to continue. We need an acting PM who is not a candidate for leader to stabilise the government while a new leader is elected.’ 

Mr Johnson made his address in front of the famous black door - where premiers often deliver key announcements to the UK

Mr Johnson made his address in front of the famous black door – where premiers often deliver key announcements to the UK  

Crowds gathered outside the security gates to watch the PM's speech from a distance today

Crowds gathered outside the security gates to watch the PM’s speech from a distance today

The PM has admitted defeat half-an-hour after a shattering intervention from Nadhim Zahawi (pictured), who was only appointed on Tuesday night in the wake of Rishi Sunak's departure

The PM has admitted defeat half-an-hour after a shattering intervention from Nadhim Zahawi (pictured), who was only appointed on Tuesday night in the wake of Rishi Sunak’s departure

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis has resigned, telling the Prime Minister that Government requires 'honesty, integrity and mutual respect'. Minutes later Helen Whately, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, also quit and told the PM: 'There are only so many times you can apologise and move on'.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis has resigned, telling the Prime Minister that Government requires 'honesty, integrity and mutual respect'. Minutes later Helen Whately, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, also quit and told the PM: 'There are only so many times you can apologise and move on'.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis has resigned, telling the Prime Minister that Government requires ‘honesty, integrity and mutual respect’. Minutes later Helen Whately, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, also quit and told the PM: ‘There are only so many times you can apologise and move on’.

The exits of Lewis and Whatley is another huge blow to Boris - who is vowing to fight on

The exits of Lewis and Whatley is another huge blow to Boris - who is vowing to fight on

The exits of Lewis and Whatley is another huge blow to Boris – who is vowing to fight on

Boris Johnson's allies had raised the prospect of taking the 'nuclear option' and asking the Queen to dissolve parliament to trigger an election - which he does technically have the power to do - but the monarch could also refuse the request

Boris Johnson’s allies had raised the prospect of taking the ‘nuclear option’ and asking the Queen to dissolve parliament to trigger an election – which he does technically have the power to do – but the monarch could also refuse the request

The final blows that forced Boris to quit 

6.47am: Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis – tweeted that he could not longer continue without ‘honesty, integrity and mutual respect’. 

6.49am: Treasury minister Helen Whately – said ‘there are only so many times you can apologise and move on’. 

7.15am: Security minister Damian Hinds – ‘for our country, and trust in our democracy, we must have a change of leadership’

7.21am: Science minister George Freeman – accused Mr Johnson of ‘insults to the Conservatism I believe in and stand for’.

7.50am: Pensions minister Guy Opperman – ‘it should not take the resignation of 50 colleagues, but sadly the PM has left us no choice’

8.02am: Technology minister Chris Philp – ‘the PM should step down’. 

8.09am: Courts minister James Cartlidge – ‘The position is clearly untenable.’ 

8.43am: Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi – ‘You must do the right thing and go now.’  

8.51am: Education Secretary Michelle Donelan – ‘as someone who values integrity above all else, I have no choice’.

Labour leader Sir Keir said: ‘It is good news for the country that Boris Johnson has resigned as Prime Minister.

‘But it should have happened long ago. He was always unfit for office. He has been responsible for lies, scandal and fraud on an industrial scale.

‘And all those who have been complicit should be utterly ashamed.

‘The Tory party have inflicted chaos upon the country during the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades. And they cannot now pretend they are the ones to sort it out.

‘They have been in power for 12 years. The damage they have done is profound.’

The PM yesterday rejected pleas from a delegation of loyalists including Priti Patel and new chancellor Nadhim Zahawi for a seemly departure, vowing to fight until the bitter end. 

Despite the UK being a parliamentary democracy, he claimed to have a presidential-style mandate from the last election, apparently saying: ‘If the party wants to overthrow the elected will of the people, they have to dip their hands in blood.’

In a sensational twist late last night, Mr Johnson summarily sacked Michael Gove with No10 sources branding the Levelling Up Secretary a ‘snake’ who had tried to tell the premier that the ‘the game was up’. 

Constitutional experts have branded the ‘nuclear option’ of asking the Queen for a dissolution ‘deluded madness’ which would spark a crisis as the monarch would be obliged to turned down his request. 

In his resignation letter, Mr Lewis – a former party chairman who has been Northern Ireland Secretary since early 2020 – warned divided Conservatives cannot win elections.

He said: ‘A decision to leave Government is never taken lightly, particularly at such a critical time for Northern Ireland. I have taken a lot of time to consider this decision, having outlined my position to you at length last night.

Mr Lewis told the Prime Minister that in recent months, the Conservative Party has been ‘relentlessly on the defensive, consumed by introspection and in-fighting’.

‘A divided Party cannot win elections. It cannot deliver for those who trusted us with their votes for the first time in 2019.’

Mr Lewis told Mr Johnson he had ‘given you, and those around you, the benefit of the doubt’.

‘I have gone out and defended this Government both publicly and privately,’ the Northern Ireland Secretary told Boris Johnson in his resignation letter.

‘We are, however, now past the point of no return. I cannot sacrifice my personal integrity to defend things as they stand now. It is clear that our Party, parliamentary colleagues, volunteers and the whole country, deserve better.’

Ms Whately, MP for Faversham and Mid Kent and another loyalist, said: ‘I have argued that you should continue as Prime Minister many times in recent months, but there are only so many times you can apologise and move on. That point has been reached.’

Security minister and MP for East Hampshire Damian Hinds wrote on Twitter: ‘It shouldn’t take the resignation of dozens of colleagues, but for our country, and trust in our democracy, we must have a change of leadership.’

In his letter of resignation, he wrote: ‘…more important than any government or leader are the standards we uphold in public life and faith in our democracy and public administration.

‘Because of the serious erosion in these, I have come to the conclusion that the right thing for our country and for our party is for you to stand down as party leader and Prime Minister.

Kwasi Kwarteng said a new leader should be installed 'as soon as practicable'

Kwasi Kwarteng said a new leader should be installed ‘as soon as practicable’

Tory MPs voiced incredulity today at the idea that Mr Johnson could hang on in Downing Street until the Autumn

Tory MPs voiced incredulity today at the idea that Mr Johnson could hang on in Downing Street until the Autumn

Michael Gove

Boris Johnson

Michael Gove (left) – who notoriously stabbed Boris Johnson (right) in the back to end his leadership hopes in 2016 – sacked last night as Mr Johnson launched a counterattack

The lights in Boris Johnson's Downing Street living room burn through the night pictured at 4.26am today

The lights in Boris Johnson’s Downing Street living room burn through the night pictured at 4.26am today

‘I had hoped you would take this course sooner, of your own volition. But as it has become clear that you still intend to stay, I cannot continue to serve in your administration.’

Mr Freeman said ‘the chaos in your Cabinet and No 10 this month is destroying our credibility’ and ‘it can’t go on’. 

Pensions minister and Hexam MP Guy Opperman wrote on Twitter: ‘I resign with great regret, given there are serious ongoing issues that need addressing ranging from cost of living support, to legislation, & parliamentary debates.

‘It should not take the resignation of 50 colleagues, but sadly the PM has left us no choice. He needs to resign.’

Tory peer and pollster Lord Hayward said that he thinks there may be pressure for Boris Johnson to stand aside and for Dominic Raab to become acting prime minister.

He also said there will likely be ‘up to 10 people’ openly considering putting themselves forward to be Conservative leader.

Lord Hayward told BBC News: ‘There is a possibility, I would have thought, that because many of the ministers have resigned over integrity and decency issues, that there might be pressure for Boris Johnson to stand aside and Dominic Raab act as Deputy Prime Minister, acting prime minister pro tem.’

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon waded in saying Mr Johnson hanging on is ‘not sustainable’.

‘There will be a widespread sense of relief that the chaos of the last few days (indeed months) will come to an end, though notion of Boris Johnson staying on as PM until autumn seems far from ideal, and surely not sustainable?’ she said.

Deputy PM Dominic Raab is thought to have warned the PM that he risked putting the monarch in an intolerable position if he tried to call a snap election. 

It is understood that senior Conservatives had been told by the Cabinet Office that the head of the civil service, Simon Case, would warn against asking for a dissolution – which the Queen would have been obliged to reject. 

The Queen, 96, was yesterday pictured being driven from Wood Farm near Sandringham, Norfolk, to her helicopter which flew her back to Windsor Castle. 

She typically holds a weekly meeting with the Prime Minister on Wednesdays, which have frequently taken place over the phone since the coronavirus pandemic broke out, but it is not clear whether it occurred yesterday amid the pandemonium surrounding Mr Johnson’s leadership. 

Two days of drama erupted when Sajid Javid announced his resignation, quickly followed by Rishi Sunak. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis joined a delegation telling Mr Johnson to stand down last night.

Behind the famous black door of No10, the PM also struggled with backbench chief Sir Graham.

But an unapologetic Mr Johnson shocked his ministers by telling them he is going nowhere, effectively daring them to call another confidence vote and saying he will focus on the ‘hugely important issues facing the country’. There were claims he told friends ‘if you are going to die, go down fighting’. 

Meanwhile, he took revenge on Mr Gove. Their relationship has long been troubled, with Mr Johnson’s leadership campaign in 2016 derailed when his former friend withdrew support and decided to run himself.

Mr Johnson phoned the Levelling Up Secretary yesterday evening to tell him he was being removed from his Cabinet job, accusing him of ‘treachery’.

One Cabinet source told MailOnline the sacking showed No10 was not thinking straight.

‘Obviously Michael has been openly plotting against him and undermining the PM for months… but that’s the price for having him in government,’ the source said.

‘I don’t think anyone has taken a moment to pause and reflect at this point. Not one single moment, at least not in No10.’

The source said No10 comms chief Guto Harri had to take responsibility for much of the chaos.

‘He thinks he is a character in the play rather than a backstage floor manager,’ they swiped.

One senior Tory told The Sun: ‘He has lost it. He has become like Caligula — the Roman emperor who wanted to make a horse a consul. Michael was one of the best ministers in the Cabinet.’ 

The sacking came after the minister went alone to see Mr Johnson in his Downing Street study shortly before 10.30am yesterday and tried to persuade him to stand down.

Mr Gove warned the PM his position was ‘no longer sustainable’, telling him: ‘The party will move to get rid of you’.

‘It is better to go on your own terms,’ he urged him.

Despite his pleading, at the end of the amicable five-minute conversation, Mr Johnson told Mr Gove: ‘Thank you, but I am going to fight on.’

Attorney General and leadership hopeful Suella Braverman later joined the calls for the Prime Minister to quit as she launched a bid to replace him.

The Prime Minister rejected calls to quit on Wednesday and dramatically sacked Cabinet rival Michael Gove, but was later hit with the departure of a third Cabinet minister - Welsh Secretary Simon Hart - and further demands to go from the Attorney General

The Prime Minister rejected calls to quit on Wednesday and dramatically sacked Cabinet rival Michael Gove, but was later hit with the departure of a third Cabinet minister – Welsh Secretary Simon Hart – and further demands to go from the Attorney General

Powerful 1922 committee chair Graham Brady was seen going into the Cabinet Office on Wednesday night - another access point to Downing Street

Powerful 1922 committee chair Graham Brady was seen going into the Cabinet Office on Wednesday night – another access point to Downing Street

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (pictured) are among the group who confronted the PM

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (pictured) are among the group who confronted the PM

Now the leadership race is REALLY on: Rishi sends out Mrs Sunak to serve tea to waiting press (in £38 mugs) – while Attorney General Suella Braverman shamelessly launches her bid during TV interview

  • Tory hopefuls have started leadership jostling as Boris Johnson’s tenure teeters on the brink 
  • Rishi Sunak’s wife Akshata Murty brings out tray of hot drinks for waiting press – in £38 mugs
  • Tobias Ellwood and Tom Tugendhat both grilled the PM in Commons committee hearing
  • While Liz Truss and Jeremy Hunt highlighted their efforts on their day jobs amid Westminster drama

By Greg Heffer, Political Correspondent For MailOnline 

Tory leadership jostling was on full display on Wednesday afternoon as Boris Johnson teetered on the brink.

With the Prime Minister facing a torrent of Conservative MPs calling for him to go, those hoping to replace him were making themselves visible in a variety of ways.

Some used Parliament’s set-piece occasions while others paraded how they were getting on with their day jobs.

And even the family members of leading Tories were thrust into the spotlight as speculation about who could replace Mr Johnson intensified.

Rishi Sunak’s wife delivers (very expensive) mugs of tea for waiting press

Rishi Sunak, 42, was among the first to thrust the knife into the PM as part of the Tory revolt.

He dramatically quit as Chancellor last night to throw Mr Johnson’s premiership into fresh peril.

And while reporters were camped outside his London home on Wednesday – hoping for a first appearance from Mr Sunak since his departure from Government – the ex-Chancellor’s wife popped out to offer refreshments.

Akshata Murty, the heiress of an Indian billionaire, was pictured carrying out a tray of hot drinks for waiting members of the press, as well as a bowl of nuts and plate of biscuits.

The mugs being carried by Ms Murty were later revealed to be Emma Lacey products – with each one worth £38. 

Rishi Sunak's wife, Akshata Murty, was on Wednesday pictured carrying out a tray of hot drinks for waiting members of the press

Rishi Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty, was on Wednesday pictured carrying out a tray of hot drinks for waiting members of the press

The billionaire-heiress carefully carried the tray across the cobbles in a black pair of sandals

The billionaire-heiress carefully carried the tray across the cobbles in a black pair of sandals

The mugs being carried by Ms Murty were later revealed to be Emma Lacey products - with each one worth £38

The mugs being carried by Ms Murty were later revealed to be Emma Lacey products – with each one worth £38

The recent row over Ms Murty's non-dom tax status was widely viewed as having fatally damaged her husband's hopes of replacing Boris Johnson

The recent row over Ms Murty’s non-dom tax status was widely viewed as having fatally damaged her husband’s hopes of replacing Boris Johnson

The scene was immediately compared to when Mr Johnson himself delivered a tray of teas for journalists camped outside his Oxfordshire house in 2018

The scene was immediately compared to when Mr Johnson himself delivered a tray of teas for journalists camped outside his Oxfordshire house in 2018

Mary Archer was also famed for bringing cups of tea to waiting press packs during the many scandals afflicting her husband, Sir Jeffrey Archer, in his political career

Mary Archer was also famed for bringing cups of tea to waiting press packs during the many scandals afflicting her husband, Sir Jeffrey Archer, in his political career

The scene was immediately compared to when Mr Johnson himself delivered a tray of teas for journalists camped outside his Oxfordshire house in 2018.

That came when Mr Johnson was facing a controversy by his comparison of Muslim women wearing the burka to letterboxes and bank robbers.

Mary Archer was also famed for bringing cups of tea to waiting press packs gathered outside her Cambridgeshire home during the many scandals afflicting her husband, Sir Jeffrey Archer, in his political career.

The recent row over Ms Murty’s non-dom tax status was widely viewed as having fatally damaged her husband’s hopes of replacing Mr Johnson.

But the decision by Mr Sunak, who has two daughters with Ms Murty, to quit the Cabinet – within minutes of Sajid Javid’s exit as health secretary – may have helped revive his fortunes among some Tory MPs. 

Suella Braverman launches leadership bid during TV interview 

Attorney General and leadership hopeful Suella Braverman outlined her own ambitions on ITV’s Peston – telling the network’s political editor it was time for Mr Johnson to quit as he said she will run for leadership of the party.

Despite her previous staunch support for the Prime Minister, she said he had handled matters ‘appallingly’ in recent days but said she will not step down owing to her ‘statutory legal and constitutional duties’.

On Wednesday night, the attorney general for England and Wales called on Johnson to resign and became the first cabinet minister to say they would run to replace him in any Conservative Party leadership contest.

‘I do think the time has come for the prime minister to step down,’ Braverman said on ITV. She said she did not want to resign from her post. ‘If there is a leadership contest I will put my name into the ring.’

Attorney General and leadership hopeful Suella Braverman outlined her own ambitions on ITV's Peston - telling the network's political editor it was time for Mr Johnson to quit as he said she will run for leadership of the party

Attorney General and leadership hopeful Suella Braverman outlined her own ambitions on ITV’s Peston – telling the network’s political editor it was time for Mr Johnson to quit as he said she will run for leadership of the party

Tom Tugendhat moves on from dad duties to grilling PM 

Tom Tugendhat has been touted as potential leadership candidate and had the chance to quiz the PM in person on Wednesday.

As Mr Johnson appeared before the powerful Liaison Committee – formed of the chairs of all other Commons committees – Mr Tugendhat quizzed the PM about whether he was currently able to ‘concentrate’ on British support for Ukraine.

Mr Tugendhat, 49, the chair of the Commons’ Foreign Affairs Committee, also asked Mr Johnson what he viewed as victory for Ukraine.

The PM replied: ‘That is for them to decide. President Zelensky has set out his ambitions. It will ultimately be for him to decide what the terms that he wants.

‘But he has been very clear that he would like to return at least to the status quo ante February 24th.’

Tom Tugendhat - a former soldier who has not ruled out a Tory leadership bid - began his day by sharing his attempts in doing his daughter's hair

Tom Tugendhat – a former soldier who has not ruled out a Tory leadership bid – began his day by sharing his attempts in doing his daughter’s hair

Tom Tugendhat

Mr Tugendhat spent their afternoon grilling the PM during his appearance at the Commons’ Liaison Committee

The PM is teetering on the brink as he faces a torrent of Conservative MPs calling for him to resign and leave Downing Street

The PM is teetering on the brink as he faces a torrent of Conservative MPs calling for him to resign and leave Downing Street

Mr Tugendhat – a former soldier who has not ruled out a Tory leadership bid – began his day by sharing his attempts in doing his daughter’s hair.

Despite declaring himself as ‘quite pleased’ with his efforts, the father-of-two revealed on Twitter how he had been told: ‘You’re not good at this.’

Some MPs believe the 48-year-old, an Army reservist who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, would be well-suited to the role and represents the ‘best chance for a fresh start’.

However, some are concerned about his lack of political experience and voting for a second posh PM in a row. He is the son of a high court judge and the nephew of a Tory peer.

He was a member of the Territorial Army when the Iraq War broke out in 2003 and he was mobilised as an Arabic-speaking intelligence officer to serve with the Royal Marines. He went into Iraq as part of Operation TELIC – the initial invasion.

After the war he returned to a job in the City of London but then went back to Iraq to help with the economic reconstruction of the country.

In 2006 the Foreign Office then asked Mr Tugendhat to go to Afghanistan to help grow its national security council. The Tory MP can speak Arabic, Dari and French.

The Tory MP was applauded in the House of Commons during a debate on the UK’s exit from Afghanistan in August 2021 as he detailed his experience in the country.

While ‘hero MP’ Tobias Ellwood ‘stages his own leadership hustings’ 

Senior Tory MP Tobias Ellwood who also chairs an influential Commons committee has been put forward as a possible replacement leader.

Mr Ellwood, 55, who received widespread praise for his efforts in trying to save fallen PC Keith Palmer during the Westminster terror attack in 2017, also grilled the PM during his Liaison Committee appearance.

The former minister, now the chair of the Commons’ Defence Committee, pressed Mr Johnson over defence spending commitments as he urged the PM to ‘invest more’. 

He demanded Mr Johnson reconsider a shrinking of the size of the Army.

Mr Ellwood received widespread praise for his efforts in trying to save fallen PC Keith Palmer during the Westminster terror attack in 2017

Mr Ellwood received widespread praise for his efforts in trying to save fallen PC Keith Palmer during the Westminster terror attack in 2017

MP Tobias Ellwood and Mr Tugendhat also sternly questioned the PM during his appearance at the Commons' Liaison Committee on Wednesday afternoon

MP Tobias Ellwood and Mr Tugendhat also sternly questioned the PM during his appearance at the Commons’ Liaison Committee on Wednesday afternoon

Mr Ellwood and his wife, solicitor Hannah Ryan, live in the MP's Bournemouth constituency with their two sons

Mr Ellwood and his wife, solicitor Hannah Ryan, live in the MP’s Bournemouth constituency with their two sons

Following his comments, Isabel Hardman – assistant editor of the Spectator, which is often branded the Tory party’s ‘in-house magazine’ – drily noted: ‘Tobias Ellwood seems to have mistaken this Liaison Committee meeting for a leadership hustings and has come with a speech about Britain’s place in the world.’

Mr Ellwood and his wife, solicitor Hannah Ryan, live in the MP’s Bournemouth constituency with their two sons.

However Mr Ellwood, a Remainer, may faces internal challenges if he tries to become leader having recently called for the UK to rejoin the EU single market.

In an article published last month, titled ‘We can upgrade Brexit and ease the cost of living by going back to the single market’, he argued exports to Europe had shrunk by £20bn and the issue of the Northern Ireland protocol remained unresolved.

He said: ‘All these challenges would disappear if we dare to advance our Brexit model by rejoining the EU single market (the Norway model).’

Sajid Javid blasts PM in farewell speech and hints at beginning of his own leadership campaign

Earlier in the day, Mr Javid, 52, took the opportunity of his resignation speech in the Commons chamber to outline what might be the beginnings of his own leadership campaign.

The now former health secretary – who competed against Mr Johnson in the 2019 Tory leadership contest – told MPs: ‘I got into politics to do something, not to be somebody.

‘So it is hard in one way, but not in another. Being a good father, a husband, a son and a citizen is good enough for me.

‘If I can continue to contribute to public life and my party from the back benches it will be a privilege to do so.’

He also launched a broadside at the PM as he publicly questioned Mr Johnson’s ‘integrity’, adding: ‘A team is as good as its team captain, and a captain is as good as his or her team. So loyalty must go both ways.

‘The events of recent months have made it increasingly difficult to be in that team.’

Mr Javid, who has now resigned from the Cabinet twice in the space of two-and-a-half years, insisted he had ‘never been one of life’s quitters’.

‘I didn’t quit when people in my community told me I couldn’t marry the love of my life,’ he told MPs in reference to his wife, Laura.

Liz Truss concentrates on her day job while she waits in the wings 

Away from Parliament, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss used her frequently updated social media accounts to reveal how she had spent the day ratifying Finland and Sweden’s formal applications to join NATO.

Ms Truss, 46, was later set to fly away from the dramatic events at Westminster as she is due to attend a G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, later this week.

She is married to accountant Hugh O’Leary and the couple have two teenage daughters, Liberty and Frances.

Ms Truss has been regularly linked with a tilt at No10. The former international trade secretary was promoted last year to succeed Dominic Raab.

The South West Norfolk MP has held a string of Cabinet posts under successive party leaders and is popular with the party grassroots.

But while she has been hawkish over the war in Ukraine, the conflict has hit her prospects after several stumbles.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss revealed how she had spent the day ratifying Finland and Sweden's formal applications to join NATO

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss revealed how she had spent the day ratifying Finland and Sweden’s formal applications to join NATO

Ms Truss is married to accountant Hugh O'Leary. The couple have two teenage daughters, Liberty and Frances

Ms Truss is married to accountant Hugh O’Leary. The couple have two teenage daughters, Liberty and Frances

Prior to the February 24 invasion she visited Russia for talks with her Kremlin counterpart Sergei Lavrov, in which she overtly channeled the style of Margaret Thatcher on a similar trip 35 years previously.

Her use of Instagram to share images of her looking tough and commanding has also drawn comment.

She was also criticised early in the conflict for urging Britons to go to fight for Russia even if they have no military experience, advice later contradicted by senior military figures.

But the Remain voter from 2016 has become a born-again Brexiteer in the years since, something that will aid her in any vote.

As Foreign Secretary she has taken on responsibility for negotiating changes to the Brexit agreement with the EU to sort out the political impasse in Northern Ireland. A deadlock-breaking agreement is unlikely but unilateral action by the UK is being mooted, which could help boost her credentials. 

Jeremy Hunt highlights his constituency work while leadership rumours swirl

Mr Johnson’s long-time leadership rival Jeremy Hunt, 55, the former health secretary, spent the day highlighting his efforts as MP for South West Surrey.

He only made a passing reference to ‘other events’ at Westminster as he publicised his meeting with NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard about a new cancer surgery centre at a local hospital.

Mr Hunt went head-to-head with Mr Johnson in the final round of the 2019 Tory leadership contest and has not ruled out another bid for the top job in his recent efforts to topple the PM.

The former minister turned Health Committee chairman has made a series of increasingly high profile public interventions on health policy in recent weeks.

And he has consistently refused to rule out running to replace Boris Johnson if he quits. He tweeted before the no confidence vote: ‘Today’s decision is change or lose. I will be voting for change.’

Mr Johnson's long-time leadership rival Jeremy Hunt, the former health secretary, spent the day highlighting his efforts as MP for South West Surrey

Mr Johnson’s long-time leadership rival Jeremy Hunt, the former health secretary, spent the day highlighting his efforts as MP for South West Surrey

Mr Hunt posted about progress towards a new cancer surgery centre and other constituency calls

Mr Hunt posted about progress towards a new cancer surgery centre and other constituency calls

Mr Hunt, pictured with his wife Lucia, went head-to-head with Mr Johnson in the final round of the 2019 Tory leadership contest

Mr Hunt, pictured with his wife Lucia, went head-to-head with Mr Johnson in the final round of the 2019 Tory leadership contest

Last month he refused to say whether Boris Johnson was ‘honest’ as he warned the Prime Minister has a ‘big mountain to climb’ in winning back Tory voters.

The South West Surrey MP cast doubt on the PM’s ability to once again prove a Tory vote winner as he insisted it would be a ‘mistake’ to dismiss the party’s local election losses as ‘mid-term blues’.

The comments were seen as a warning shot to the PM – and a clear message to Tory MPs – that he is waiting in the wings should Mr Johnson continue to stumble.

Like Truss he is a former Remain voter who has become a convert to the Brexit cause. He also has his own fair share of gaffs in his locker, including describing his Chinese wife Lucia – with whom he has three children – as ‘Japanese’ in an interview.

Ben Wallace heads to Ukraine and refuses to take part in ‘political parlour games’

The Defence Secretary’s low profile has risen into full view as he emerged as one of the foremost Cabinet hawks on the Ukraine War.

The 52-year-old former Scots Guards officer called the recent mass resignation of ministers ‘political parlour games’

He said: ‘To be clear, I am going on Thursday to see brave Ukrainian men and women training to fight for their lives and their country.

‘I wont be indulging in political parlour games nor will I be resigning.’  

The Defence Secretary's low profile has risen into full view as he emerged as one of the foremost Cabinet hawks on the Ukraine War

The Defence Secretary’s low profile has risen into full view as he emerged as one of the foremost Cabinet hawks on the Ukraine War

Mr Wallace has been at the forefront of efforts to supply Kyiv with weapons and expertise to fight off the Russian invasion, which has boosted his support base and name recognition.

The Sandhurst-educated father of three has overcome a Russian attempt to humiliate him after a Kremlin-backed prankster managed to get through to him on a video call, parts of which were later broadcast on YouTube.

He was asked if he supported Ukraine’s ‘nuclear aims’ by a man claiming to be the PM of Ukraine.

He has also avoided being implicated in the worst failures of the UK’s retreat from Afghanistan last summer, with blame being generally laid at the door of the Foreign Office.

He confirmed Britain is to arm Ukraine with precision-guided M270 rockets that have a range of up to 50 miles to help match Russia’s artillery arsenal.

Frontrunner Penny Mordaunt ignores bookies and shares ministerial work

Betting favourite Penny Mordaunt posted on her Instagram hours after the resignations began, sharing news about trade and investment talks with Egypt.

The Minister of State for Trade also retweeted a video shared by Priti Patel which showed human traffickers being arrested, Ms Mordaunt said: ‘Great work. We need a relentless focus on this.’

Ms Mordaunt, who was fired from her role as defence secretary in 2019 by Boris Johnson, has been notably silent on the matter of his leadership. 

The Brexiteer, 49, a naval reservist who once appeared on reality TV in a swimsuit, is popular with party members.

She was the first woman to serve as defence secretary and was also international trade secretary and is currently a trade minister.

Penny Mordaunt was the first woman to serve as defence secretary and was also international trade secretary and is currently a trade minister

Penny Mordaunt was the first woman to serve as defence secretary and was also international trade secretary and is currently a trade minister

While other ministers have been posting their support, or lack of, for the Prime Minister, she pointedly posted about he ministerial work

While other ministers have been posting their support, or lack of, for the Prime Minister, she pointedly posted about he ministerial work

The Brexiteer, 49, a naval reservist who once appeared on reality TV in a swimsuit, is popular with party members.

The Brexiteer, 49, a naval reservist who once appeared on reality TV in a swimsuit, is popular with party members.

Supporters have pushed her credentials as the potential unity candidate any leadership race appears to lack – she is a Brexit voter who backed Jeremy Hunt in 2019.

Ms Mordaunt has already been on resignation watch once this year. In January she spoke out against a proposed £1.2 billion underwater electricity cable project backed by a Russian oligarch and major Tory donor.

She opposed plans by Aquind, co-owned by Alexander Temerko, to construct the interconnector under the Channel between Normandy and Portsmouth.

Temerko, who previously ran a firm producing weapons for Russia’s military, and Aquind have given more than £1 million to the Tories and the oligarch has regularly featured in photos at fundraisers with Prime Ministers and their Cabinets.

Government sources said Mordaunt was ready to quit if the cable was approved. The project was later rejected.

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