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Boris Johnson to resign as Prime Minister

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Boris Johnson will resign as Prime Minister.

It follows a swathe of ministerial resignations and damning messages from senior colleagues that have left his position untenable.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: John Sibley/PA
Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: John Sibley/PA

He intends to remain as Prime Minister until a successor is in place, which is expected to be by the time of the Conservative Party conference in October - but is facing calls to go now.

A No 10 source said Mr Johnson spoke to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the Conservative 1922 Committee, to inform him of his decision.

“The Prime Minister has spoken to Graham Brady and agreed to stand down in time for a new leader to be in place by the conference in October,” a No 10 source said.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis was the first Cabinet minister to resign today (Thursday). He said the matter was “past the point of no return”.

And Nadhim Zahawi, who only took up the position of Chancellor on Tuesday following Rishi Sunak’s resignation, said the PM should “leave with dignity” and “go now”,

He said he had made clear privately to Mr Johnson that he should go, adding: “I am heartbroken that he hasn’t listened and that he is now undermining the incredible achievements of this government at this late hour”.

He added that the country “deserves a government that is not only stable, but which acts with integrity”.

Meanwhile, Michelle Donelan, who was also only appointed on Tuesday night, quit as Education Secretary.

She told Mr Johnson: “I can see no way that you can continue in post”.

It is understood that Mr Johnson will make an announcement today.

It follows revelations that the Prime Minister was aware of a misconduct complaint about Chris Pincher when he appointed him as deputy chief whip earlier this year - something initially denied by No 10.

And it comes a month after he survived a vote of confidence, which followed the partygate scandal of lockdown parties in Downing Street.

South Cambridgeshire MP Anthony Browne was one of those who wrote a letter to the chairman of the 1922 Committee triggering the vote.

On Monday, he reiterated his belief that Mr Johnson must go.

More than 50 MPs have resigned from government or party roles since Tuesday night, when the mass exodus was triggered by the resignations of Rishi Sunak and health secretary Sajid Javid from the Cabinet.

The Prime Minister sought to defy his critics and carry on, but as the clamour to leave continued, he finally conceded that he must go.

The timetable for the Tory leadership contest will be agreed between the 1922 Committee, which runs the Parliamentary proceedings to whittle the candidates down to two, and Conservative headquarters.

Critics of the Prime Minister have already suggested he should not be allowed to remain in office until the autumn.

George Freeman, who quit as science minister on Thursday morning, said that now Mr Johnson had “finally done the decent thing” he should “hand in the seals of office, apologise to Her Majesty, allow her to appoint a caretaker under whom ministers can serve, so the Conservative Party can choose a new leader properly”.

Some ministers have vowed to stay in post, citing the need to ensure the continued smooth running of their departments.

Defence secretary Ben Wallace and security minister James Heappey both said they would continue to serve no matter who the PM is, saying they have “an obligation to keep this country safe”.

Mr Wallace said: “The public would not forgive us if we left these offices of state empty.”

Work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey said she will remain in office to ensure the “wheels of government keep turning… especially at DWP which helps the most vulnerable in society”.

More to follow.

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