Johnson to resign as Tory leader but remain as PM until autuum


Boris Johnson is to resign as Conservative leader today, the BBC is told, following further ministerial resignations this morning

But he will continue to serve as prime minister until the autumn to allow a Tory leadership contest to take place

Nadhim Zahawi this morning told Johnson he must “go now”, two days after being made chancellor

New Education Secretary Michelle Donelan and Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis resigned from cabinet

Ministers Helen Whately, Damian Hinds, George Freeman, Guy Opperman, Chris Philp, and James Cartlidge stepped down on Thursday morning

On Wednesday night, Boris Johnson sacked Michael Gove after the Levelling Up secretary told him to quit.

Pensions secretary declines to quit, despite ‘very bad situation’

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey says she will remain in office to ensure the “wheels of government keep turning”.

In a tweet, she says she understands colleagues’ concerns and “the very bad situation we are now in”.

But she says her department needs to be “firing on all cylinders” to support the most vulnerable people in society.

PM should apologise to Queen, says former minister

There’s more reaction to Boris Johnson’s imminent resignation as Conservative leader from ministers who’ve called for him to go in the last 24 hours.

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

As our political editor Chris Mason has been reporting, Johnson plans to stay as prime minister until autumn so that a Conservative leadership contest can be held and a replacement confirmed.

Campaign to replace Johnson has already begun

Iain Watson

Political correspondent

Boris Johnson is yet to officially resign but the campaign to replace him has already begun.

Rishi Sunak stressed in his resignation letter his “fundamental” differences on the economy with the outgoing prime minister.

Sajid Javid pointed to the barriers he had overcome in his life in his resignation speech.

And Nadhim Zahawi turned the knife on the PM this morning after one minister had said his closeness to Boris Johnson could contaminate a leadership bid.

Suella Braverman has expressed an interest in the top job and there will be others including – but not limited to – Penny Mordaunt, Tom Tugendhat and Jeremy Hunt.

How pressure on the PM snowballed this morning

After a record number of resignations in 24 hours, the pressure on Boris Johnson ramped up even further this morning:

  • Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis became the first cabinet minister of the morning to resign, saying things were “past the point of no return”
  • He was swiftly followed by a succession of other junior ministers
  • No 10 remained silent, with many speculating about what was going on
  • Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, who has only been in post for two days, publicly called for the PM to “go now”
  • Immediately afterwards, newly appointed Education Secretary Michelle Donelan resigned, saying she had “pleaded” with the PM to resign
  • Less than half an hour later, the news broke that Johnson had agreed to stand down

Conservative MP Robert Buckland says “the views of colleagues” will have pushed Boris Johnson to resign today, adding “he has bowed to the inevitable”.

He says Johnson managed to “break the logjam on Brexit”.

But he says he now hopes the Conservative Party can “get back to values” such as “freedom under the law”.

Johnson will make statement later today

As we’ve been reporting, Boris Johnson will resign as Conservative leader today and will continue as prime minister until the autumn.

Johnson will publicly announce his resignation later today.

A No 10 spokesman said: “The prime minister will make a statement to the country today.”

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

“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,” the source added.

Glad the PM recognised the damage being done – Tory MP

Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood has been reacting to the breaking news of Boris Johnson’s planned resignation.

He says he’s “glad he recognised the damage that was being done not just to the party brand but also our international stock”, he tells the Today Programme.

Ellwood adds the party now has a “massive amount of regrouping to do”.



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