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Boris Johnson to RESIGN as Prime Minister after mutiny from top Tories

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson will finally resign today, ending an unprecedented political crisis that has paralyzed the country’s government after more than 50 ministers quit and told him to go.

The British leader admitted defeat half-an-hour after a shattering intervention from Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, who was only appointed on Tuesday night in the wake of the departure of Rishi Sunak.

Zahawi told Mr Johnson that his situation is ‘not sustainable’.

Until now, Johnson had rebuffed calls by his Cabinet to step down in the wake of several ethics scandals.

A group of Johnson’s most trusted Cabinet ministers visited him at his office in Downing Street Wednesday, telling him to stand down after losing the trust of his party. But Johnson instead opted to fight for his political career and fired one of the Cabinet officials, Michael Gove.

It is rare for a prime minister to cling on to office in the face of this much pressure from his Cabinet colleagues.

But by Thursday morning the man who has built a reputation for wriggling out of political controversies was forced to admit the reality of his situation. 

A Downing Street source said Johnson has spoken to Sir Graham Brady – the chairman of the parliamentary group the 1922 Committee – and agreed to stand down, with a new Conservative leader set to be in place by the party conference in October. A spokeswoman said: ‘The Prime Minister will make a statement to the country today.’

It was not immediately clear Thursday whether Johnson would stay in office while the Conservative Party chooses a new leader, who will automatically replace him as prime minister when selected.

The leader of Britain’s main opposition Labour party said Johnson’s expected departure as prime minister was ‘good news’. But Sir Keir Starmer added that just changing the leader of the Conservative party was not enough. ‘We need a proper change of government,’ he said.

Johnson, 58, remained in power despite allegations that he was too close to party donors, that he protected supporters from bullying and corruption allegations, and that he misled Parliament and was dishonest to the public about government office parties that broke pandemic lockdown rules.

But recent disclosures that Johnson knew about sexual misconduct allegations against Chris Pincher, a Conservative lawmaker, before he promoted the man to a senior position turned out to be the last straw.

Last week, Pincher resigned as deputy chief whip after complaints he groped two men at a private club. That triggered a series of reports about past allegations leveled against Pincher – and shifting explanations from the government about what Johnson knew when he tapped him for a senior job enforcing party discipline.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured Wednesday in parliament) will finally resign today, ending an unprecedented political crisis that has paralyzed the country’s government after more than 40 ministers quit and told him to go

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

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

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi (pictured on Wednesday) told Mr Johnson that his situation is 'not sustainable'

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi (pictured on Wednesday) told Mr Johnson that his situation is ‘not sustainable’

Although he stopped short of resigning, Chancellor of the Exchequer Mr Zahawi 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.

The PM had vowed defiance despite the overwhelming evidence of his authority draining away.

The exodus of ministers

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.’ 

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 now standing at 52, the government has been unable to find a minister willing to go on the airwaves to speak up for the PM this morning – with total silence coming from his team. 

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 have been 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 are 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 this morning urged Carrie Johnson to step in a convince her husband that he should throw in the towel. 

But 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’. 

Johnson may try to remain in office until the Conservative Party chooses a new leader, a process likely to take place over the summer. But some Conservatives said he should leave 10 Downing St. immediately to end the chaos engulfing the government.

George Freeman, who quit as science minister on Thursday, tweeted that ‘Boris Johnson needs to hand in the seals of office, apologise to Her Majesty (Queen Elizabeth II) and advise her to call for a caretaker prime minister. 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.’ 

Constitutional experts had 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. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured today) is being bombarded with more resignations but has refused to quit

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured today) is being bombarded with more resignations but has refused to quit

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 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

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 have now 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 have now 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

Michael Gove

Boris Johnson

Michael Gove (left) – who notoriously stabbed Boris Johnson (right) in the back to end his leadership hopes in 2016 – has tonight been sacked from his cabinet position as embattled Prime Minister Boris Johnson launched his own counterattack in a desperate bid to save his political career

Boris Johnson arriving back in Downing Street after his appearance at the Liaison Committee on Wednesday

Boris Johnson arriving back in Downing Street after his appearance at the Liaison Committee on Wednesday

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.

‘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.’

Deputy PM Dominic Raab is thought to have told the Prime Minister that he risked putting the monarch in an intolerable position if he tried to call a snap election, The Sun reports. 

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. 

Concern among MPs comes following the approval of the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Act which was brought into law this year, repealing the Fixed-term Parliaments Act and allowing for the body to be dissolved by the Queen ‘on the request of the prime minister’. 

Conservative MPs worry that the Prime Minister could try to use it to save his premiership.

A government source told The Times: ‘It is something that was talked about but it is completely deluded madness.’

In two days of drama, more than 40 resignations have been sent to the Prime Minister since Sajid Javid sparked a tidal wave of revolt late on Tuesday evening in a move that now threatens to bring the Government to its knees. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis were among the Cabinet ministers telling Mr Johnson to stand down.

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.

And Mr Johnson was last night hit with the departure of another Cabinet minister – Welsh Secretary Simon Hart  

It is understood that senior Conservatives have been told by the Cabinet Office that the head of the civil service, Simon Case, would warn against the PM asking for a dissolution on the grounds that it would drag the Queen into politics. 

One senior MP said that the civil service would advise against putting the Queen in a ‘difficult position’, and his private secretary or cabinet secretary would tell him not to seek a dissolution because while the monarch could refuse it would be seen as constitutionally ‘inappropriate’ to put her in a position where she has to make a ‘controversial decision’. 

Under the ‘Lascelles principles’, the monarch can turn down a request for a dissolution on three conditions, which are:

  • The existing parliament is ‘vital, viable and capable of doing its job’; 
  • An election would be ‘detrimental to the national economy’; 
  • and if the monarch can ‘rely on finding another prime minister who could govern for a reasonable period with a working majority’
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

Concern among MPs comes following the approval of the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Act which was brought into law this year, repealing the Fixed-term Parliaments Act and allowing for the body to be dissolved by the Queen, pictured Wednesday, 'on the request of the prime minister'

Concern among MPs comes following the approval of the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Act which was brought into law this year, repealing the Fixed-term Parliaments Act and allowing for the body to be dissolved by the Queen, pictured Wednesday, ‘on the request of the prime minister’

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

Senior Tory MPs think all conditions are met and, one Johnson supporter predicted the Queen would refuse to allow the dissolution of parliament by ‘finding a way of being busy until we’ve sorted this mess out ourselves’. 

Behind the famous black door of No10, the PM had earlier struggled with backbench chief Sir Graham Brady and senior figures including chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris – who warned him that the ‘game is up’.

But an unapologetic PM shocked Sir Graham and 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 are claims he has told friends ‘if you are going to die, go down fighting’. 

The PM appointed his chief of staff Steve Barclay to replace Mr Javid as Health Secretary, and universities minister Michelle Donelan was promoted to Cabinet to replace Nadhim Zahawi.

Mr Zahawi is believed to have agreed to launch a new economic plan alongside Mr Johnson today, but it is not known if this will go ahead amid the crisis surrounding Mr Johnson’s premiership.  

Former royal aide Samantha Cohen – known as ‘Samantha the Panther’ is now being lined up to restore order to the Downing Street operation, and was appointed Mr Johnson’s interim Chief of Staff after Mr Barclay was moved to become Health Secretary.

Meanwhile, the dramatic sacking of Mr Gove, a long-standing ally who has served in Cabinet roles in successive governments since 2010, came after a whirlwind two days in Westminster that has seen Mr Johnson’s core support hemorrhage.

The PM’s relationship with Mr Gove has long been troubled, with Mr Johnson’s leadership campaign in 2016 derailed when his rival 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 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.’

The pair then walked down the corridor to the Cabinet Room, where the Levelling Up Secretary helped Mr Johnson to prepare for Prime Minister’s Questions.

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

Asked if he would quit as he arrived for a grilling by the Liaison Committee Wednesday afternoon, Mr Johnson said: 'No, no, no.'

Asked if he would quit as he arrived for a grilling by the Liaison Committee Wednesday afternoon, Mr Johnson said: ‘No, no, no.’

Sajid Javid yesterday delivered a vicious parting shot at Boris Johnson saying the 'team is only as good as the team captain'

Sajid Javid yesterday delivered a vicious parting shot at Boris Johnson saying the ‘team is only as good as the team captain’

But the minister was noticeably absent from the frontbench as the PM faced MPs.

At 2.27pm, the news that Mr Gove had told Mr Johnson to go was broken on The Mail+. But the Levelling Up Secretary’s allies insisted he was not quitting and was not planning to lead a wider delegation of ministers to Downing Street to call for the PM to stand down.

An hour later the Prime Minister was questioned about his cabinet colleague’s warning to him as he appeared before the Commons liaison committee.

Mr Johnson did not dispute that Mr Gove had told him he should resign. Asked if the story was true, he replied: ‘I am here to talk about what the Government is doing. I am not going to give a running commentary on political events.’

At around 9pm, Mr Johnson rang Mr Gove to sack him. Neither Mr Gove nor his advisers were the source of The Mail+ story, but the PM said he believed the minister was behind the leak.

A No 10 source last night accused him of being a ‘snake’, adding: ‘You cannot brief the Press that you’re calling on the PM to go and expect to stay in Cabinet.

‘It’s not the first time he’s been treacherous, appalling and disloyal. This is something he [Mr Johnson] should have done years ago. We need team players who share the PM’s vision for Britain.’

Danny Kruger, who had been a ministerial aide to Mr Gove at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) last night said he was quitting his post in response to the sacking. ‘Very sorry indeed to hear Michael Gove has been fired by the PM,’ he tweeted. ‘As I told No 10 earlier today it should be the PM leaving office. I am resigning as PPS [Parliamentary Private Secretary] at DLUHC.’

Three ministers at the department – Kemi Badenoch, Neil O’Brien and Stuart Andrew – had earlier announced they were quitting. Duncan Baker, another PPS, also resigned.

Tory former minister Tim Loughton said last night: ‘Michael Gove has taken the PM the traditional whisky and revolver. The PM has downed the whisky and turned the revolver on Gove.’

Mr Gove torpedoed Mr Johnson’s Tory leadership bid in 2016 following the Brexit referendum, when he dramatically withdrew support for his campaign at the last minute and then ran himself.

Ultimately it ended both men’s hopes and left the field clear for Theresa May to reach No 10.

In the 2019 Conservative leadership race, Mr Gove finished third place amid claims votes were switched from Mr Johnson to ensure Jeremy Hunt made the final two instead of him.

A Johnson ally claimed at the time: ‘He stabbed us in the back. We stabbed him in the front.’

But Mr Johnson made Mr Gove Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in his first Cabinet in July 2019 before moving him to become the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Mr Gove has been in and out of Cabinet positions. David Cameron removed Mr Gove from his post as education secretary in 2014 and demoted him to the role of chief whip. When Theresa May became prime minister in 2016, she sacked Mr Gove as justice secretary, before bringing him back as environment secretary a year later.

There was yesterday ‘pretty strong view’ across the 1922 Committee that Mr Johnson should go, a Conservative MP has said.

Speaking to the PA news agency, David Simmonds, who represents the Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner constituency, said the Prime Minister should go as the ‘message has been very clear from colleagues’.

On the 1922 Committee meeting, Mr Simmonds said: ‘There were a couple of people who would agree with that (that he should not go). Well, there was one person I can think of, but other than that, no, I think it was a pretty strong view across the piece.’

Mr Simmonds said there are quite a few ‘good candidates’ that could replace Mr Johnson as leader, adding: ‘I’m not canvassing for anybody. But I think we have got a fair few good people. I think Rishi Sunak has a good economic vision for the country.

‘I was a strong Remainer. But I think as somebody who believes in Brexit, he has actually got a plan. So I like that.’

Energy minister Greg Hands has defended his decision to remain in the Government amid a slew of resignations and mounting pressure for Boris Johnson to resign as Prime Minister.

Mr Hands told the PA news agency: ‘Well I think the majority of the Government has not resigned, the majority of Government is carrying on and we will have to see what happens at the top, yeah.’

Asked how in good conscience he can continue to serve in an administration beset by scandal, he added: ‘Because I have got a job to do, to deliver on energy and climate change and that’s exactly what I am going to be carrying on doing.’

On whether his constituents support this decision, he added: ‘Well, I think my constituents, they vote for me as their member of Parliament, I hope that they would continue to do so.’

And Attorney General Suella Braverman says she will continue in her role despite calling for the Prime Minister to quit.

The Cabinet minister, who has previously been a staunch supporter of Boris Johnson, told Peston on ITV that he had handled matters ‘appallingly’ in recent days.

She said: ‘The balance has tipped now in favour of saying that the Prime Minister – it pains me to say it – but it’s time to go.’

She said she will put her name into the ring if there is a leadership contest.

Tory MPs were seen slumping in their seats in the House of Commons on Wednesday as the ex-Health Secretary delivered a devastating blow to Mr Johnson's premiership less than 24 hours after his bombshell double-resignation with Rishi Sunak

Tory MPs were seen slumping in their seats in the House of Commons on Wednesday as the ex-Health Secretary delivered a devastating blow to Mr Johnson’s premiership less than 24 hours after his bombshell double-resignation with Rishi Sunak

Flanked by a stony-faced Dominic Raab and new Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, Mr Johnson fended off a series of attacks from Keir Starmer saying Europe was enduring the 'biggest war in 80 years' and he was getting on with the job

Flanked by a stony-faced Dominic Raab and new Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, Mr Johnson fended off a series of attacks from Keir Starmer saying Europe was enduring the ‘biggest war in 80 years’ and he was getting on with the job

She told Peston: ‘My first duty is to the country, Robert, and as attorney I’m the senior law officer.

‘And we’re in a crisis and I have statutory legal and constitutional duties…

Could Theresa May be drafted in as caretaker Prime Minister? 

Theresa May could return as caretaker prime minister if Boris Johnson resigns, Tory sources said last night.

A well-placed source said the former PM was ‘uniquely placed’ to step in if Mr Johnson tries to order a snap election or quits straight after being ousted in a break with convention.

The source said Mrs May’s position as a sitting MP with experience as prime minister left her better qualified than any member of the current Cabinet, most of whom are expected to be involved in the contest to succeed the PM.

‘She knows the ropes and the security stuff, she’s a party woman through and through, she’s definitely not interested in standing for it herself and would be credible,’ the source added.

‘She is uniquely placed.’

A Tory MP said last night that this would have an ‘element of epic schadenfreude to it, given he knifed her in the first place’.

Allies of the PM have discussed trying to wrong-foot his enemies by calling an immediate election before they can oust him.

One said he had a ‘mandate from the public’ which could not be overridden by Tory MPs.

During a grilling by MPs on the Commons liaison committee yesterday, Mr Johnson equivocated over whether he would countenance calling an election if his MPs tried to remove him.

One Tory MP said such a move would put the Queen in a ‘very difficult position’, adding: ‘She would have to ask is there anyone else who could command the support of MPs – while a broader leadership election took place – rather than go to a general election.’

Catherine Haddon, from the Institute for Government think-tank, said the monarch did have the power to block an election.

‘Informally, the Palace could tell him no. The question is whether he would go against that informal advice and ask anyway – which would leave the Queen facing a very political decision,’ she added.

‘Whatever you argue about the massive constitutional problems if she did refuse, she can act.’

By convention, ousted leaders stay on to oversee the contest to replace them.

David Cameron and Mrs May remained as prime minister while their successors were elected.

But one MP close to the PM said: ‘He could just go. It would be humiliating for him to stay on after being ousted. I’m not sure he’s got the stomach for that.’

Mr Johnson played a major role in the removal of Mrs May, with his resignation as foreign secretary over Brexit in 2018 seen as a pivotal moment in her downfall.

The former Prime Minister has made little secret of her disdain for her successor.

Last week she savaged his bid to rewrite parts of the Brexit deal on Northern Ireland, saying: ‘As a patriot, I would not want to do anything that would diminish this country in the eyes of the world.

‘This Bill will not achieve its aims and it will diminish the standing of the UK in the eyes of the world, and I cannot support it.’

‘I don’t want to resign because I have that duty. We need an attorney in government.’

Asked whether she recognises that Mr Johnson will likely sack her, she said: ‘That is his choice, and I will do whatever the Prime Minister asks me to do.’

The PM 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 – as well as Ms Braverman’s demand.

The withdrawal of the attorney general’s support marks a significant shift by the QC, who was elected as MP for Fareham in May 2015 before being appointed as the top legal official by Mr Johnson in February 2020.

She became the first Cabinet-level minister to take maternity leave and was reappointed to her ministerial position in September.

Special legislation had to be passed by Parliament to enable her to take time off from her ministerial duties.

During her absence she was designated Minister on Leave (Attorney General) while her deputy, Solicitor General Michael Ellis, was made attorney general.

During last month’s confidence vote, Ms Braverman expressed hope the PM would win the poll with a large margin.

The Euro-sceptic had been a supporter of Mr Johnson since her days as the chair of the Brexit-backing European Research Group.

But Ms Braverman on Wednesday joined Home Secretary Priti Patel, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis and Welsh Secretary Simon Hart among Cabinet ministers telling Mr Johnson to stand down.

It is understood that Ms Patel earlier spoke to the Prime Minister to convey the ‘overwhelming view’ of the parliamentary party.

Mr Shapps is thought to have told Mr Johnson that he stood little chance of winning another confidence vote and should instead set out a timetable for a departure on his own terms.

Nadhim Zahawi, who was only appointed Chancellor on Tuesday, was also thought to be among those taking part in the showdown with Mr Johnson.

But Mr Johnson rejected suggestions he should seek a ‘more dignified exit’ and will instead fight for his political future.

A No 10 source said: ‘The Prime Minister has a mandate from 14 million people to get a job done. He’s very conscious of his commitment to them

‘If the party wants to stop him they have to take that mandate away.’

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the Tory 1922 Committee, spoke to Mr Johnson on Wednesday to set out the level of backbench opposition.

A new executive for the committee will be elected on Monday which could change the leadership rules, allowing for another confidence vote just a month after the last one – which Mr Johnson may lose given the way MPs have deserted him since Tuesday.

But a No 10 source said: ‘He has called Graham Brady’s bluff. All Graham could say is that there will be an election on Monday.

‘A new 1922 committee on Tuesday could change the rules – but it’s not a given.

‘The party could then demand a re-run of the no-confidence vote – but not a given.

‘And the party could then decide to ditch the PM – but not a given.’

The source warned that ‘the choice is not Boris or no Boris.

‘The choice is a Conservative government with a new Chancellor who will soon outline a new economic programme of tax cuts, deregulation and the benefits of Brexit, or three months of tearing each other apart to elect a leader with no mandate.’

Allies including Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries and Brexit Opportunities Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg remained supportive of Mr Johnson.

Ms Dorries said the Prime Minister’s priority was to ‘stabilise the Government’.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab also remained loyal to Mr Johnson and defended him at a session of the backbench 1922 Committee.

Boris Johnson left Downing Street for the House of Commons yesterday - later than usual as pressure mounts on him to quit

Boris Johnson left Downing Street for the House of Commons yesterday – later than usual as pressure mounts on him to quit 

The former Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary had earlier urged Mr Johnson (pictured together above in 2019) to quit Downing Street as the Tory coup ramped up

The former Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary had earlier urged Mr Johnson (pictured together above in 2019) to quit Downing Street as the Tory coup ramped up

Mr Johnson's Cabinet was thinned after Welsh Secretary Simon Hart (above) announced he too would stand down from his position late on Wednesday evening

Mr Johnson’s Cabinet was thinned after Welsh Secretary Simon Hart (above) announced he too would stand down from his position late on Wednesday evening

But since the resignations of Mr Sunak and Mr Javid on Tuesday night, dozens of MPs have quit as ministers, PPSs or trade envoys.

Mr Javid used his resignation statement in the Commons to say ‘enough is enough’ and challenged other Cabinet ministers to consider their positions.

‘Treading the tightrope between loyalty and integrity has become impossible in recent months,’ he told MPs.

‘I will never risk losing my integrity.’

He said ‘the problem starts at the top and I believe that is not going to change’.

In a message to Cabinet ministers who decided not to quit, he said: ‘It is incumbent on all of us to set high standards for ourselves and to take action when they are not met by others.’

The speech, which had echoes of Geoffrey Howe’s 1990 resignation statement which helped topple Margaret Thatcher, was heard in silence in the Commons, with Mr Johnson sitting grim-faced on the front bench.

Other ministers who quit on Wednesday were Will Quince, Robin Walker, John Glen, Victoria Atkins, Jo Churchill, Stuart Andrew, Kemi Badenoch, Neil O’Brien, Alex Burghart, Lee Rowley, Julia Lopez, Mims Davies, Rachel Maclean and Mike Freer.

In their resignation letters:

  • Ex-children and families minister Mr Quince said he could not accept being sent out to defend the Prime Minister on television with inaccurate information on the Chris Pincher row.
  • Former justice minister Ms Atkins told Mr Johnson: ‘I can no longer pirouette around our fractured values. We can and must do better than this.’
  • Ms Churchill quit as environment minister, saying: ‘Recent events have shown integrity, competence and judgment are all essential to the role of Prime Minister, while a jocular self-serving approach is bound to have its limitations.’

The leadership crisis followed the scandal surrounding former deputy chief whip Mr Pincher, who quit after allegedly assaulting two men while drunk at London’s Carlton Club.

Downing Street initially said Mr Johnson had no knowledge of previous allegations against Mr Pincher, but the Prime Minister later acknowledged he had been informed of inappropriate behaviour dating back to 2019, and said he regretted keeping him in government beyond that point.

The Prime Minister’s authority had already been damaged by a confidence vote which saw 41% of his own MPs withdraw their support in June.

The loss of crunch by-elections in Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton later that month triggered the resignation of party chairman Oliver Dowden, while there is still lingering resentment over coronavirus lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street.

Boris Johnson’s doomed reign as PM: From proroguing Parliament and ‘Get Brexit done’ to Partygate and a refusal to quit… how Boris Johnson fell from grace after historic 2019 election win

Boris Johnson’s rise to power came after he dramatically quit as Theresa May’s Foreign Secretary while her premiership teetered on the verge of collapse. 

Johnson is meeting his own end in a similar manner, having suffered mass Government resignations in the last two days.

Here, we examine Johnson’s rise to power, his successes, controversies, and dramatic fall from grace over the last three years… 

Resigning as Theresa May’s Foreign Secretary 

In July 2018 Boris Johnson resigned as Foreign Secretary in a hammer blow to Theresa May’s ailing premiership. 

Mrs May was left in a desperate battle for her political life after Mr Johnson dramatically quit over her ‘third way’ Brexit plan.

He resigned just minutes before the then-PM took to her feet the Commons in a statement to MPs about the compromise package – the so-called ‘Chequers Agreement’ – she forced through the Cabinet.

Mrs May would go on to lose the Conservative Party’s Parliamentary majority in a snap election in December 2018, and Tory MPs then held a vote of no confidence. 

Despite surviving the vote, she failed to get her Brexit deal through Parliament three times and resigned pending a confidence vote she would have been expected to lose, paving the way for a Tory leadership election. 

May Resigns and Johnson becomes PM 

On 23 July 2019, Mr Johnson won 66 per cent of the Tory leadership election votes, defeating rival Jeremy Hunt.

The next day Mrs May resigned as Prime Minister, and Mr Johnson accepted the Queen’s invitation to form a Government.

In his maiden speech, he claimed that he wanted to ‘Deliver, unite, defeat, energise: D.U.D.E!’

He is elected on a promise to get the UK out of the European Union by October 31 ‘do or die’ and immediately begins preparations for a general election.

Mr Johnson entered 10 Downing Street for the first time as Prime Minister, vowing to prove the ‘doubters, doomsters and gloomsters’ wrong over Brexit on July 24.

Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party, Boris Johnson during an audience where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government in Buckingham Palace on July 24

Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party, Boris Johnson during an audience where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government in Buckingham Palace on July 24

Boris Johnson arrive's in Number 10 Downing Street as Britain's new Prime Minister, after beating Jeremy Hunt in the Conservative party Leadership campaign

Boris Johnson arrive’s in Number 10 Downing Street as Britain’s new Prime Minister, after beating Jeremy Hunt in the Conservative party Leadership campaign

Parliament prorogued  

In August 2019, Johnson asked the Queen to suspend – or ‘prorogue’ – parliament until October 14 as the prospect of a no-deal Brexit loomed. 

It came as the EU rebuffed Mr Johnson’s demand for a new Brexit deal without the Irish backstop – the contingency plan to ensure there would be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. 

The Queen approved the request, meaning Parliament would be suspended for five weeks. 

But in September, the UK Supreme Court unanimously found that Johnson’s advice to the Queen that parliament should be prorogued for five weeks was unlawful.  

Judges said it was wrong to prevent MPs from carrying out their duties in the run-up to the Brexit deadline of October 31.

The UK Supreme Court led by Baroness Brenda Hale  unanimously found that Johnson's advice to the Queen that parliament should be prorogued for five weeks was unlawful

The UK Supreme Court led by Baroness Brenda Hale  unanimously found that Johnson’s advice to the Queen that parliament should be prorogued for five weeks was unlawful

Anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller (centre) leaves from the Supreme Court in central London, follwowing the first day of the hearing into the decision by the government to prorogue parliament on September 17, 2019

Anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller (centre) leaves from the Supreme Court in central London, follwowing the first day of the hearing into the decision by the government to prorogue parliament on September 17, 2019

Calling and winning a general election

After suspending the whip for 21 rebel Tories – including former chancellors Ken Clarke and Philip Hammond – who voted for the so-called Benn Act requiring him to seek a Brexit delay, the Conservative become a minority government.

In a bid to succeed where Theresa May failed and regain a majority, Johnson called a general election, which was held on December 12, 2019 – the first December election in years.

Mr Johnson used the slogan ‘Get Brexit Done’ as the foundation of his campaign – taking advantage of the confusion about the stance of the Labour Party on leaving the EU.

Mr Johnson used the slogan 'Get Brexit Done' as the foundation of his campaign - taking advantage of the confusion about the stance of the Labour Party on leaving the EU

Mr Johnson used the slogan ‘Get Brexit Done’ as the foundation of his campaign – taking advantage of the confusion about the stance of the Labour Party on leaving the EU

Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds watch the 2019 Election results on the TV in his study in No10 Downing Street

Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds watch the 2019 Election results on the TV in his study in No10 Downing Street

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson eats a candy stick which reads "Back Boris" during a General Election campaign trail stop before he

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson eats a candy stick which reads ‘Back Boris’ during a General Election campaign trail stop before he 

His gamble paid off, and the Tories won 365 seats – passing the 326 needed for a majority – giving him a majority of 81, the biggest Conservative majority since the days of Margaret Thatcher. 

Jeremy Corbyn, head of the Labour Party and the Leader of the Opposition, was left with just 203 – the worst Labour election performance since the 1930s.

In the aftermath, Corbyn announced that he would not lead Labour into the next general election.

‘Get Brexit done’

Britain’s departure from the European Union was one of the main issues in the 2019 election, and the Conservatives under Johnson made heavy use of the slogan ‘get Brexit done’.

The phrase seemingly reflected the British public’s weariness over the topic – which had become a major point of contention in the three years since the 2016 referendum which saw the country vote in favour of leaving the EU. 

In November, the Conservatives launched their manifesto under the slogan ‘Get Brexit Done, Unleash Britain’s Potential’, and won a majority in Parliament. 

One year later, in December 2020, Johnson averted a no deal Brexit when he secured a last-minute trade and security deal with the EU.

Ever since, his allies have praised him as the person who ‘got Brexit done’. 

December 30, 2020: Boris Johnson gives a thumbs up gesture after signing the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement at 10 Downing Street

December 30, 2020: Boris Johnson gives a thumbs up gesture after signing the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement at 10 Downing Street

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson poses for photographs with UK chief negotiator David Frost and UK Ambassador to the EU Tim Barrow after signing the Brexit trade deal with the EU in 10 Downing Street on December 30, 2020

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson poses for photographs with UK chief negotiator David Frost and UK Ambassador to the EU Tim Barrow after signing the Brexit trade deal with the EU in 10 Downing Street on December 30, 2020

Start of coronavirus pandemic 

On January 30, 2020, the first UK Covid death occurred. 

Just two months later, on March 23, the first lockdown came into effect, with Johnson announcing that Britons must stay home.

Mr Johnson presided over months of daily press conferences with the latest Covid updates from Downing Street – including death totals and latterly updates on vaccine rollout. 

In April, Johnson himself was admitted to hospital with ‘persistent symptoms’ of Covid and was moved to intensive care as these ‘worsened’ – later admitting that he was close to death from the virus.

While Johnson was recovering, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab was effectively running the Government.

While he suffered from Covid, the Prime Minister’s approval soared as the public rallied around him.

Mr Johnson presided over months of daily press conferences with the latest Covid updates from Downing Street - including death totals and latterly updates on vaccine rollout

Mr Johnson presided over months of daily press conferences with the latest Covid updates from Downing Street – including death totals and latterly updates on vaccine rollout

April 3, 2020: Boris Johnson in 10 Downing Street central London giving an update on his condition after he announced that he had tested positive for coronavirus

April 3, 2020: Boris Johnson in 10 Downing Street central London giving an update on his condition after he announced that he had tested positive for coronavirus

Months of lockdown 

On September 3, Britain recorded its highest daily total of Covid cases since the start of June. 

A leaked document revealed that Johnson thought a mass testing programme would be the ‘only hope for avoiding a second lockdown’ before a vaccine. 

But the second lockdown is introduced in November, and fears mount over the nation’s Christmas plans. Johnson says it would be ‘inhuman’ to cancel the occasion, reaffirming England’s plan for a five-day window for up to three households to meet over the holiday. 

On December 19, the PM says that the country ‘cannot continue with Christmas as planned’ with a seasonal loosening of restrictions cancelled for millions in London and the South East of England.

The third and last Covid lockdown would last in some form until April 2021 when there was a phased reopening of the economy.  

December 19, 2020: Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a news conference in response to the ongoing situation with the Covid-19 pandemic, at 10 Downing Street

December 19, 2020: Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a news conference in response to the ongoing situation with the Covid-19 pandemic, at 10 Downing Street

Cummings departure

In November 2020, the Vote Leave team which was running Mr Johnson’s Downing Street operation crumbled as the PM kicked out Dominic Cummings, the architect of his successful Brexit campaign, after claims that the mandarin had briefed against his wife Carrie.

In a tense 45-minute meeting, the Prime Minister ordered his most senior adviser to leave having shown incriminating text messages which had been forwarded to his partner. The explosive claims were denied by No10.

The PM kicked out Dominic Cummings, the architect of his successful Brexit campaign, after claims that the mandarin had briefed against his wife Carrie

The PM kicked out Dominic Cummings, the architect of his successful Brexit campaign, after claims that the mandarin had briefed against his wife Carrie

Mr Cummings' departure followed that of Lee Cain, who announced his resignation as Mr Johnson's director of communications earlier that week

Mr Cummings’ departure followed that of Lee Cain, who announced his resignation as Mr Johnson’s director of communications earlier that week

Mr Cummings set about taking revenge on the PM after his sacking and constantly made damaging claims about No.10 in the months following his departure - including at explosive select committee appearances

Mr Cummings set about taking revenge on the PM after his sacking and constantly made damaging claims about No.10 in the months following his departure – including at explosive select committee appearances

Mr Cummings’ departure followed that of Lee Cain, who announced his resignation as Mr Johnson’s director of communications earlier that week after Ms Symonds, reportedly referred to as ‘Princess Nut Nuts’ behind her back by Vote Leave loyalists put out by her burgeoning power, thwarted his promotion to chief of staff.

Mr Cummings set about taking revenge on the PM after his sacking and constantly made damaging claims about No.10 in the months following his departure – including at explosive select committee appearances.

Vaccine rollout

But despite ‘cancelling Christmas’, there was good news on the Covid frontier for Johnson as vaccinations began on 8 December 2020, with 90-year-old grandmother Margaret Keenan becoming the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 jab following its clinical approval. 

The first phase of the rollout prioritised the most vulnerable, in a schedule primarily based on age. The delivery plan was adjusted on 30 December 2020, delaying second doses so that more people could receive their first dose.

Britain’s rollout was among the fastest in the world with among the highest uptake in its first few months.

By October 2021, over 40 million Brits – around 85 per cent of adults – had received at least one dose of a Covid jac. 

On March 19, Johnson received his first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab at London’s St Thomas’ hospital – where he was treated in intensive care for the virus the previous year. 

He said: ‘Everybody when you get your notification to go for a jab, please go and get it. It’s the best thing for you, the best thing for your family, and for everybody else.’

90-year-old Margaret Keenan, the first patient in the UK to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, administered by nurse May Parsons at University Hospital, Coventry, England, Tuesday Dec. 8, 2020

90-year-old Margaret Keenan, the first patient in the UK to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, administered by nurse May Parsons at University Hospital, Coventry, England, Tuesday Dec. 8, 2020

On March 19, Johnson received his first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab at London's St Thomas' hospital

On March 19, Johnson received his first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab at London’s St Thomas’ hospital

Wallpapergate 

After a refurbishment of Johnson’s Downing Street flat – led by a celebrity designer and including gold wallpaper – Britain’s electoral commission fined the Conservatives £17,800 for failing to accurately report a donation to pay for it.

Johnson’s ethics adviser later criticised the prime minister for failing to disclose some messages exchanged with the donor. However, he concluded that Johnson had not intentionally lied about the messages.

In April 2021 Johnson clashed bitterly with Keir Starmer after the elections watchdog launched a formal probe into whether ‘offences’ have been committed in a Downing Street flat row.

A clearly incensed PM insisted he ‘paid for the refurbishment myself’ and had abided by the ministerial code despite the Electoral Commission saying there were ‘reasonable grounds to suspect’ the law might have been broken over the controversial No11 refurbishment. 

But as Sir Keir demanded he ‘answer the question’ he repeatedly dodged saying whether £58,000 of Tory funds had originally been used for the works, before he repaid the money. 

‘I paid for it,’ he said. ‘I have covered the costs.’ 

Pictured: A design by Lulu Lytle, who is believed to have carried out the refurbishment

Pictured: A design by Lulu Lytle, who is believed to have carried out the refurbishment

May 29, 2021: Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie Johnson in the garden of 10 Downing Street, London

May 29, 2021: Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie Johnson in the garden of 10 Downing Street, London

The following month a report found that Johnson ‘unwisely’ embarked on a refurbishment of his Downing Street flat without knowing how it would be paid for.

Tory peer and donor David Brownlow, along with the Conservative party, had stepped in to settle the bills initially, according to the report by Christopher Geidt, the independent adviser on ministers’ interests.  

But Lord Geidt said that given Lord Brownlow’s status as an existing party supporter along with the Covid pandemic, he was happy that ‘no conflict (or reasonably perceived conflict) arises as a result of these interests’. 

Geidt ruled that Johnson did not breach the ministerial code, and said the interests were now properly declared by the prime minister. 

Partygate

In November 30, 2021, the first story of what would become ‘partygate’ broke, with reports that Downing Street staff had held three gatherings almost a year earlier, when London was under lockdown restrictions.

The story initially made few waves and the Conservatives comfortably won the Old Bexley and Sidcup by-election two days later.

Conservative attempts to seize the initiative with a series of law and order announcements dubbed ‘crime week’ ended with the party defending itself from allegations of law breaking.

First, a video of then-Downing Street press secretary Allegra Stratton joking about parties during a press conference rehearsal leaked. She resigned a day later and Mr Johnson apologised at Prime Minister’s Questions, saying he was ‘furious’ about the video and appointed Cabinet Secretary Simon Case to investigate the allegations.

December 9 brought a £17,800 fine from the Electoral Commission, which found the Conservatives had improperly declared donations from Lord Brownlow towards the refurbishment of Mr Johnson’s Downing Street flat.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a gathering in 10 Downing Street for the departure of a special adviser, which was released with the publication of Sue's Gray report into Downing Street parties in Whitehall during the coronavirus lockdown

Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a gathering in 10 Downing Street for the departure of a special adviser, which was released with the publication of Sue’s Gray report into Downing Street parties in Whitehall during the coronavirus lockdown

Lord Geidt, the Prime Minister’s adviser on standards, had previously cleared Mr Johnson of wrongdoing, but the Electoral Commission investigation uncovered WhatsApp messages that raised further questions about what the Prime Minister knew about the source of the donations.

From this point on, a steady drip of partygate stories provided a constant distraction for the Government, including photographs of Mr Johnson at a Christmas quiz and sitting in the garden of Number 10 while staff apparently drank wine and chatted.

But December 14 also brought the first concrete sign of the Prime Minister’s waning authority as almost 100 of his backbenchers rebelled against new Covid-19 restrictions.

Two days later, the Liberal Democrats won the North Shropshire by-election, overturning Mr Paterson’s majority of 23,000 and securing a 6,000 majority of their own.

Asked again if he will quit as he arrived for a grilling by the Liaison Committee this afternoon, Mr Johnson said: 'No, no, no.'

Asked again if he will quit as he arrived for a grilling by the Liaison Committee this afternoon, Mr Johnson said: ‘No, no, no.’

By the end of the week, Lord Frost had resigned and Simon Case had recused himself from the partygate investigation after claims his staff had had their own Christmas party emerged.

Sue Gray took over.

The new year brought little respite for the Government.

Partygate continued with the leak of an email from Mr Johnson’s private secretary Martin Reynolds inviting 100 people to a party in Downing Street while the country was still in lockdown and claims Mr Johnson had attended the gathering himself.

Those claims were confirmed at Prime Minister’s Questions when Mr Johnson once again apologised and admitted attending the party, which he said he believed was a ‘work event’.

More Conservative MPs called for his resignation, pushing the party’s internal divisions further into the open.

Cracks within the party widened as Bury South MP Christian Wakeford defected to Labour on January 19. David Davis became the most senior Tory MP to publicly call for the Prime Minister to resign.

In early 2022, Ms Gray published a censored version of her report into partygate that included several strong criticisms of Downing Street’s culture.

Ukraine war 

Johnson was one of the first world leaders to send arms to Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, and went on to become the first western European leader to address the country’s parliament.  

In a surprise trip to Kyiv in April 2022, Johnson pledged British arms and financial aid to the Ukrainian cause.

The PM won praise from Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelensky, who compared Johnson’s eagerness to help to a less enthusiastic response from other NATO countries such as Germany.

He was later criticised by opponents of his reign as using the Ukraine war to deflect from domestic concerns over his premiership. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, right, and Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, left, walk during their meeting in downtown Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 9, 2022

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, right, and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, left, walk during their meeting in downtown Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 9, 2022

No confidence vote 

In June 2022, Boris Johnson survived a no-confidence vote after 148 of his MPs voted to remove him from Downing Street.

The vote was triggered after the Sue Gray report on Partygate resulted in suggestions that the Prime Minister had broken the Ministerial Code – what is usually a resigning issue.

He won the support of just 211 MPs in one of the worst verdicts on a sitting prime minister by their own party in recent times.

The hollow victory provided a respite for Mr Johnson who was not able to be challenged to another confidence vote for 12 months under the rules of the Conservative Party.

Despite this, the scale of those voting no confidence in Mr Johnson meant that critics of his tenure only got louder. 

The proportion of MPs voting against him was greater than those against his predecessor, Theresa May, in 2018, and against Margaret Thatcher in 1990. 

Chris Pincher

On June 30 2022, Chris Pincher dramatically resigned as deputy chief whip after allegedly assaulting two fellow guests the evening before at the Carlton Club, a Tory private members’ club in London.

Downing Street said Mr Johnson was not aware of any ‘specific allegations’ about Mr Pincher when he appointed him to the whips office, but it emerged over the following days that he was told about allegations against him as far back as 2019.

Despite the resignations, Boris seemed determined to stay on - with a defiant display at the Commons Liaison Committee on Wednesday

Despite the resignations, Boris seemed determined to stay on – with a defiant display at the Commons Liaison Committee on Wednesday

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 which effectively ended his premiership

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 which effectively ended his premiership

On July 5, Mr Johnson was forced into a humiliating apology over his handling of the row after it emerged he had forgotten about being told of previous allegations of ‘inappropriate’ conduct.

In the Commons, the atmosphere among Tory MPs was mutinous with critics lining up to condemn No 10’s handling of the matter.

Rishi Sunak then quit as chancellor and Sajid Javid stepped down as health secretary, both writing incendiary resignation letters.

By the morning of June 7, 54 MPs had stood down from the Government payroll.

Despite the resignations, Boris seemed determined to stay on – with a defiant display at the Commons Liaison Committee on Wednesday.

After the Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi and Education Secretary Michelle Donelan told him to go after 36 hours in post – it was reported that Boris is going to stand down in the job he has coveted since childhood.

Despite admitting that the jig is up – Boris is said to be attempting to stay on as ‘caretaker PM until the Conservative Party Conference in the autumn.

Boris Goneson! Social media immediately explodes with memes on hearing Boris Johnson will resign as Prime Minister Britons continued to feast on the political drama around Boris Johnson after news broke that he is to resign as Prime Minister – with plenty of hilarious memes being posted on social media this morning.

Mr Johnson has had a tumultuous two days with 57 MPs and ministers resigning from their posts – finally forcing him out of his position as Prime Minister. 

Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced their resignations on Tuesday night, with their departures triggering walkouts by more junior members of the Government.

Last night, Michael Gove was sacked by Johnson as Secretary of State for Housing after he called on the PM to resign.

This morning, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis and Education Secretary Michelle Donelan resigned from their posts. Security minister Damian Hinds, pensions minister Guy Opperman, courts minister James Cartlidge, exchequer secretary Helen Whateley and science minister George Freeman also tendered their resignations.

Newly installed Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi released a statement on Thursday morning calling on the Prime Minister to go, just 36 hours after taking the role, telling Mr Johnson: ‘You must do the right thing and go now.’

A spokesman for Number 10 said: ‘The prime minister will make a statement to the country today.’ 

Now that Mr Johnson’s time in Number 10 is coming to an end, dozens of memes making light of the situation have been posted on Twitter. 

Now that Mr Johnson's time in Number 10 is coming to an end, dozens of memes making light of the situation were posted on Twitter

Now that Mr Johnson’s time in Number 10 is coming to an end, dozens of memes making light of the situation were posted on Twitter

The hashtag #BorisGoneson has begun to gain traction on the social media platform, with one user describing the ‘new Tory slogan’ as ‘Going, going, gone’.

One showed Nadine Dorries and Boris Johnson in a cartoon cave with the subtitles, ‘This is where I come to cry,’ with the Tweet reading: ‘Boris and Nadine running the UK alone’.

One made reference to the Prime Minister’s wife Carrie Johnson and the expensive and controversial refurbishment of the Downing Street flat by designer Lulu Lytle. 

The tweet read: ‘Carrie with the iron frantically steaming off the gold wallpaper and stuffing it into an overnight bag.’ 

Another made reference to the legendary 'What a sad little life Jane,' Come Dine With Me meme, which shows a diner looking intently at his fellow competitors to mirror Boris looking at his Cabinet after the few days

Another made reference to the legendary ‘What a sad little life Jane,’ Come Dine With Me meme, which shows a diner looking intently at his fellow competitors to mirror Boris looking at his Cabinet after the few days

Similarly, another one shows a movie scene with a couple arguing. ‘Boris’ tells ‘Carrie’, ‘I know you have just decorated, but we have to go. Now!’, and ‘Carrie’ responds: ‘I’m not leaving behind the 20th Century Italian red-painted, parcel gilt, steel and giltwood four poster bed. Hang on…’ 

One said, ‘Boris is resigning, this calls for toast,’ with a picture of a Lurpak butter tub. 

Another mentioned horror film Jaws by depicting the film’s upbeat mayor of Amity Island outside Downing Street. 

Some people on Twitter have looked to the other candidates that could replace Boris later this year

Some people on Twitter have looked to the other candidates that could replace Boris later this year

Referencing the moment where the mayor promised the beaches were safe before the killer shark struck again, the tweet read: ‘The Cabinet is open and everyone is having a wonderful time’.

Some people on Twitter have looked to the other candidates that could replace Boris later this year.

Before handing in his resignation a staggering 57 MPs and ministers handed in their own letters notifying the PM of their intent to leave, many people wondered how Boris would manage to fill all the gaps in his Cabinet and Tory party.

One user wrote ‘Boris trying to hand out Ministerial posts’, with the picture of a man chucking notes all over the place.

Another made reference to the legendary ‘What a sad little life Jane,’ Come Dine With Me meme, which shows a diner looking intently at his fellow competitors to mirror Boris looking at his Cabinet after the few days.

One user wrote 'Boris trying to hand out Ministerial posts', with the picture of a man chucking notes all over the place

One user wrote ‘Boris trying to hand out Ministerial posts’, with the picture of a man chucking notes all over the place

 

Lots of users shared GIFs on their Twitter accounts with celebratory moments after the news of Boris Johnson's resignation broke, including this WWE star clutching his winning belt

Lots of users shared GIFs on their Twitter accounts with celebratory moments after the news of Boris Johnson’s resignation broke, including this WWE star clutching his winning belt

The hashtag #BorisGoneson has begun to gain traction on the social media platform, with one user describing the 'new Tory slogan' as 'Going, going, gone', while others pondered on wife Carrie's decisions following the resignation announcement

The hashtag #BorisGoneson has begun to gain traction on the social media platform, with one user describing the ‘new Tory slogan’ as ‘Going, going, gone’, while others pondered on wife Carrie’s decisions following the resignation announcement

A third jokingly quoted Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky, depicting him as saying: ‘The thing is Boris, you have visited quite a few times already’. 

It was making reference to previous visits to Kyiv by Mr Johnson which have coincided with domestic criticism of the PM, sparking claims that the trips were attempts to distract from the bad press. 

Another meme riffed on Mr Johnson’s famous Brexit slogan, saying ‘Get Exit Done’ above a photo of the PM walking out of Number 10. 

A fifth showed an illustration of the sinking Titanic and said: ‘Live scenes from Downing St’.  

Britons today saw the funny side of the crisis engulfing Boris Johnson's Government by taking to social media to poke fun at the Prime Minister's situation

Britons today saw the funny side of the crisis engulfing Boris Johnson’s Government by taking to social media to poke fun at the Prime Minister’s situation 

Another jokingly quoted Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky, depicting him as saying: 'The thing is Boris, you have visited quite a few times already'

Another jokingly quoted Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky, depicting him as saying: ‘The thing is Boris, you have visited quite a few times already’

A third meme riffed on Mr Johnson's famous Brexit slogan, saying 'Get Exit Done' above a photo of the PM walking out of Number 10

A third meme riffed on Mr Johnson’s famous Brexit slogan, saying ‘Get Exit Done’ above a photo of the PM walking out of Number 10

Another showed an illustration of the sinking Titanic and said: 'Live scenes from Downing St'

Another showed an illustration of the sinking Titanic and said: ‘Live scenes from Downing St’

Again on the subject of the Downing Street flat refurbishment, another tweet showed a famous photograph  of the frantic US evacuation of Saigon during the Vietnam war and said: ‘Scenes from Number 10 as Carrie Johnson flees with the wallpaper.’ 

A third on the subject said the PM could use the resignation letters he has received to ‘re-wallpaper’ the Downing Street flat. 

Mr Javid announced his resignation in an incendiary letter to the PM last night, with Mr Sunak following just minutes later with a similar broadside. 

The PM appointed his chief of staff Steve Barclay to replace Mr Javid as Health Secretary, whilst Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi was promoted to become Chancellor. 

It came after former top civil servant Lord McDonald of Salford released a letter which gave critics of the PM further ammunition over his appointment of alleged groper Chris Pincher to the whips’ office. 

Mr Sunak warned in his resignation letter that ‘we cannot continue like this’ and said he was going despite accepting that his senior job might be the last position he holds in Government. 

Making light of the crisis, another meme on Twitter made reference to the Prime Minister's wife Carrie Johnson and the expensive and controversial refurbishment of the Downing Street flat by designer Lulu Lytle

Making light of the crisis, another meme on Twitter made reference to the Prime Minister’s wife Carrie Johnson and the expensive and controversial refurbishment of the Downing Street flat by designer Lulu Lytle

On the same theme, another tweet showed a famous photograph of the frantic US evacuation of Saigon during the Vietnam war and said: 'Scenes from Number 10 as Carrie Johnson flees with the wallpaper

On the same theme, another tweet showed a famous photograph of the frantic US evacuation of Saigon during the Vietnam war and said: ‘Scenes from Number 10 as Carrie Johnson flees with the wallpaper

Comedian Rory Bremner said: Don't panic, everyone. Nadine Dorries, Priti Patel, Jacob Rees Mogg and Dominic Raab staying. We've still got the A team in charge'

Comedian Rory Bremner said: Don’t panic, everyone. Nadine Dorries, Priti Patel, Jacob Rees Mogg and Dominic Raab staying. We’ve still got the A team in charge’

This Tweeter joked that Mr Johnson and his wife could 're-wallpaper' the Downing Street flat 'with resignation letters'

This Tweeter joked that Mr Johnson and his wife could ‘re-wallpaper’ the Downing Street flat ‘with resignation letters’ 

‘The public rightly expect Government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously,’ he wrote.

Yesterday, Mr Zahawi was hit with news of another resignation while he was live on air.

Nadhim Zahawi was in the middle of an interview on the BBC’s flagship Today programme on Wednesday morning when he was informed that children’s minister Will Quince had joined the exodus, slamming No10’s ‘inaccurate’ claims about the Chris Pincher allegations.

Asked whether it meant Mr Johnson is ‘over’, a sombre-looking Mr Zahawi responded: ‘I am deeply sorry to see colleagues leave government.’ 

Schools minister Robin Walker joined his former colleague in walking out, saying the government was being ‘overshadowed by mistakes and questions about integrity’. 

This meme referenced popular show Would I Lie to You, saying ‘I once took an 80 seat majority and p****d it up the wall in less than 3 years’

This meme, referencing Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, who is a keen supporter of Mr Johnson, showed a clip from pop star Dido's song White Flag, where she sings 'I will not go down with this ship'

This meme, referencing Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, who is a keen supporter of Mr Johnson, showed a clip from pop star Dido’s song White Flag, where she sings ‘I will not go down with this ship’ 

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