Boris Johnson has agreed to resign as UK Prime Minister, after a sensational 48 hours which saw his government implode.
The BBC and Mirror reported just after 9am today that he will quit as leader of the Conservative party and will stay on as caretaker Prime Minister until a new party leader is chosen.
A Number 10 spokesperson said “the Prime Minister will make a statement to the country today”, with the speech expected at around 1pm.
Some MPs are already suggesting that Johnson should leave Number 10 immediately and that deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab should step in on an interim basis, after yesterday’s events.
His resignation comes after a total collapse of his government, which saw more than 50 members of government resign and the most senior cabinet ministers tell Johnson that his time was up in the wake of the Chris Pincher sexual misconduct scandal – the last in a long list of recent scandals.
There are now gaping holes across Whitehall, with some departments left with few ministers remaining.
He had also completely lost the confidence of the Tory backbenches, with The Telegraph reporting last night that he only commanded the loyalty of around 65 of 358 Tory MPs.
Johnson has begun to appoint new people to his cabinet after a mass walkout, with James Cleverly named as education secretary, Kit Malthouse named as the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Robert Buckland as Welsh secretary.
Johnson last night was preparing to fight on and force the party to kick him out through a no-confidence vote, however it appears that public statements from chancellor Nadhim Zahawi and defence secretary Ben Wallace were the last straw.
Wallace, who has been a long-time Johnson ally, said: “A number of us have an obligation to keep this country safe,no matter who is PM. The party has a mechanism to change leaders and that is the mechanism which I advise colleagues to use.”
Zahawi said to Johnson that “you know in your heart what the right thing to do is, and go now”.
He added: “Yesterday, I made clear to the prime minister alongside my colleagues in No 10 that there was only one direction where this was going, and that he should leave with dignity. Out of respect, and in the hopes that he would listen to an old friend of 30 years, I kept this counsel private.
“I am heartbroken that he hasn’t listened and that he is now undermining the incredible achievements of this government at this late hour.”
A long list of candidates will line up to be the next leader of the Tory party and Prime Minister, with Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Penny Mordaunt, Ben Wallace, Nadhim Zahawi, Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid and Steve Baker expected to run.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has already called for a snap General Election and plans to bring a motion of no confidence in the government to parliament if Johnson tries to stay on as caretaker Prime Minister.
“We don’t need to change the Tory at the top – we need a proper change of government,” he said.
“We need a fresh start for Britain.”
Tory MP Aaron Bell said it would “not be tenable” to have Johnson as an interim PM after yesterday’s events.