A summary of today's developments
- On another momentous day, Boris Johnson announced his resignation but said he wants to stay on as prime minister until the Conservative Party elects a new leader despite senior figures including Lord Michael Heseltine and Sir John Major calling for him to go immediately.
- Johnson told his cabinet the government would now focus on the agenda on which it was elected, and not seek to implement new policies or make major changes of direction.
- A timetable for succession is set to be announced by the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs next week. According to polling of Conservative party members by YouGov, Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, is in the best position to succeed Johnson.
- Conservative backbencher Tom Tugendhat has become the first contender to throw his hat into the ring to succeed Boris Johnson.
- Grant Shapps has been backed by his junior minister Robert Courts on BBC’s Newsnight to become Tory leader.
- Sir Keir Starmer has warned that if Johnson does not step down immediately, Labour would table a vote of no confidence in the government in Parliament
- The hastily-assembled new team of ministers has been announced including the return of Will Quince as an education minister, having quit two days ago. Johnny Mercer MP is to be a Minister of State (Minister for Veterans’ Affairs) at the Cabinet Office while Sir Robert Buckland is the Welsh secretary.
Former education secretary Justine Greening told Newsnight she believes Johnson should stand down immediately.
“I think for the party in particular, as well as the country, this is about moving on.”
Robert Courts, the aviation minister, told Newsnight: “Because of the challenges the country has, because we’re still pulling out of the pandemic and cost of living issues, I think we need someone who has experience and someone able to campaign and deliver.
“Someone like Grant Shapps, my boss, I’ve seen him work at close quarters and I think he has done an outstanding job.
“Or someone like Ben Wallace who has got a lot of experience as well.”
Grant Shapps backed by aviation minister for leadership race
Grant Shapps has been backed by his junior minister Robert Courts on BBC’s Newsnight to become Tory leader.
Former health secretary Matt Hancock has declared he will not be running in the Conservative leadership election.
Speaking outside the Spectator summer party, he told journalists: “No, I’m not going to stand, but I care deeply that it’s somebody who will deliver for people, and will really make sure that the Conservative party is there to get through difficult times.”
Asked if he thought Johnson was the right person, he said: “Yes of course, because the most pressing day-to-day problem is making sure we support our friends in Ukraine, and he, of course, has done that brilliantly.”
The front page of Friday’s Guardian.
Conservative peer Michael Heseltine believes Boris Johnson should leave office straight away.
The former deputy prime minister says there is a “lack of trust” in Johnson.
“Leaving him in a position where he can use the power of the premiership to suit his own causes and his own interests is a very dangerous thing to do,” he told the BBC.
Boris Johnson spoke to Ukraine’s president following his resignation.
Tom Tugendhat announces he will enter leadership race
Conservative backbencher Tom Tugendhat has become the first contender to throw his hat into the ring to succeed Boris Johnson.
The chairman of the Commons foreign affairs committee, who has never served in government, said he would offer the party a “fresh start”.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said: “I am putting together a broad coalition of colleagues that will bring new energy and ideas to government and, finally, to bridge the Brexit divide that has dominated our recent history.
“I have served before – in the military, and now in parliament. Now I hope to answer the call once again as prime minister. It’s time for a clean start. It’s time for renewal.”
Even before Boris Johnson delivered his ill-tempered exit speech, Conservative MPs’ focus had already switched to who might succeed him – and unlike in 2019, when he had been the prince across the water for months, this time there is no obvious successor.
Rishi Sunak, who walked out of the Treasury on Tuesday within minutes of Sajid Javid quitting, had been widely seen as the frontrunner until a series of missteps, including the botched spring statement.
He still performs strongly in polling – not least because he is better known than many of his potential rivals – but after the furore over his US green card, and with some Tories irritated by the rising tax burden on his watch, he now appears much less of a slam dunk.
That lack of an overwhelming favourite is part of the reason a whole slew of candidates, from Grant Shapps to Jake Berry, have not ruled out a tilt at the top job (and, incidentally, helped Johnson to hang on for longer).
Continue reading here: Race to replace Boris Johnson slow to take shape amid resignation chaos
Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire Andrew Bridgen said he has spoken to Sir Graham Brady and urged him to shorten the process to replace Boris Johnson.
He told the PA news agency: “I have spoken with Sir Graham Brady and urged him to truncate, wherever possible, the leadership election process.
“I think we will have two candidates out of the parliamentary party to present the membership before recess. And that will be no more than three or four weeks.
“So by the end of August we will have a new leader of the Conservative Party. So Boris Johnson’s estimate that he’ll still be prime minister in October is wildly inaccurate.”
Bridgen added he was unsure who he was backing to be leader, but added it needed to be a Brexiter and a “proper Conservative from the right of the party”.
Boris Johnson’s government will not try to implement new policies while the Conservatives choose a new leader, the prime minister has told his cabinet, deepening concerns over paralysis in the aftermath of his resignation announcement.
The prime minister, who has pledged to step aside, said he will not introduce “major changes of direction” including tax decisions over the coming weeks as Tory MPs and party members run an election for his replacement.
Labour said the government’s programme has been effectively frozen by the implosion of the last three days, when more than 50 ministers resigned in fury at Johnson. Dozens of junior ministerial positions remain unfilled and bills have not been scrutinised, Labour claimed.
The full story is here: No new policies under my leadership, Boris Johnson confirms
Conservative MP for Ashford Damian Green said he was backing Tom Tugendhat to be the next leader of the party.
He told the PA news agency: “I’m supporting Tom Tugendhat. We need a clean start, a fresh start, we need to get on with resetting the Conservative party and resetting government more widely in this country so that it gets back to being properly run, observing the conventions, supporting the institutions that we have in this country.”
Boris Johnson wants to continue as an MP, Sky News is reporting.
Here is the list of the ministerial appointments announced by Downing Street:
Johnny Mercer MP to be a Minister of State (Minister for Veterans’ Affairs) at the Cabinet Office.
Graham Stuart MP to be a Minister of State at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
Stephen McPartland MP to be a Minister of State (Minister for Security) at the Home Office.
Tom Pursglove MP to be a Minister of State jointly at the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice.
James Heappey MP to be a Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence.
Will Quince MP to be a Minister of State at the Department for Education.
Maria Caulfield MP to be a Minister of State at the Department for Health and Social Care.
Paul Scully MP to be a Minister of State at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. He remains as Minister for London.
Marcus Jones MP to be a Minister of State at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
Matt Warman MP to be a Minister of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Trudy Harrison MP to be a Minister of State at the Department for Transport.
Edward Timpson CBE MP to be Solicitor General.
Robert Buckland did not confirm if he would be running in the Conservative leadership contest.
The former justice secretary told the PA news agency: “I think it’s still early days, I am more interested in values now.
“I want one nation values. I want freedom under the law. I want respect for our constitution and our traditions. And I want to return to a conservatism that understands that better. And that’s the next leader. I want to look for those qualities in the next leader.
“So I’m reflecting and seeing what it’s all going to look like.”
The Welsh secretary, Robert Buckland, said he felt it was “his duty” to return to the cabinet, after his appointment by Boris Johnson.
He told the PA news agency: “Having served in cabinet before, I felt it was my duty to come back and make sure we had an orderly transition of power.
This isn’t about Boris Johnson, this is about the country and about the need for people with some experience to get back round that table and deliver government.
He said he wanted the process to replace Johnson to be “as short as possible”.
New ministers unveiled including return of Will Quince
The new list of ministers has been announced including the return of Will Quince as an education minister, having quit two days ago.
Boris Johnson with his hastily assembled cabinet, which includes Steve Barclay as health secretary and Nadhim Zahawi as chancellor.
The Conservative former cabinet minister David Mellor told Sky News that Boris Johnson made a “total fool of himself by clinging on” and it was untenable to have him run the country for another three months.
“I think Boris’s problem is that he thinks rules are for little people and he’s not a little person,” he said.
Boris Johnson was photographed in his office speaking with Ukraine’s president after his resignation earlier today.
Boris Johnson is pictured with his wife, Carrie, son Wilfried and daughter Romy.
The outgoing prime minister holding his two-year-old son Wilfred.
Boris Johnson arriving back in No 10 after delivering his resignation statement this afternoon.
The Queen was among the first to personally hear from Boris Johnson as he prepared to announce he was stepping down as prime minister, PA reports.
Johnson made a courtesy call to the head of state on Thursday morning while she was at her Windsor Castle home, and is believed to have told her about his resignation.
The defence secretary, Ben Wallace, is thinking of his family as he considers whether to stand to be Conservative leader, Sky News is reporting.
He has three children. “He is a very committed family man,” one ally told the broadcaster.
The government has announced an 18-month delay in planned cuts to social care bills for thousands of people, in a move the King’s Fund says “means the public aren’t getting what they promised” when Boris Johnson announced changes to care funding.
People who pay for their own care in English care homes – estimated at about 144,000 people – will not now be able to access lower prices available to council-funded residents until spring 2025.
It mean many people are likely to die without benefiting from the planned change. The average stay for residents of care homes without nursing is 24 months, and with nursing it is 12 months.
The differences can be considerable, with councils paying about £600 a week for places in the same care homes where self-funders can pay more than £1,000.
The policy was announced as part of the former PM’s mission to “fix social care”. In a move to end cross-subsidisation, self-funders were due to start accessing the lower rates from October, but the care minister, Gillian Keegan announced the delay on Thursday citing concerns that councils and private providers could be disrupted by an earlier change.
Keegan said: “Anybody already living in residential care will be eligible from April 2025 at the latest, and earlier if the market can sustain full rollout. This will be kept under regular review.”
People entering residential care from October 2023 will initially be eligible.
Sally Warren, the director of policy at the King’s Fund, said the delay could have been avoided if the government had earmarked enough money to pay for the move when it was announced.
Boris Johnson has sent out a tweet to mark the 17th anniversary of the 7/7 London bombings.
Biden issues statement on Johnson resignation
President Joe Biden has released a statement on Boris Johnson’s resignation referencing the “special relationship” between Britain and the US, but he does not mention – in the extract here at least – Johnson by name.
The environment secretary, George Eustice, said Boris Johnson made the “right decision” to step down as Conservative leader.
He also insisted Johnson was right to continue in a caretaker capacity, in the face of calls for the prime minister to leave sooner.
Eustice said: “That’s what Theresa May did. That’s what David Cameron did. It’s what Tony Blair did. It’s what happens in these situations.
“The last thing you want is to chop and change and have somebody else come in as a temporary prime minister for six weeks or two months and then change again.
“That makes no sense at all. You want a degree of continuity, but obviously the approach of this government is to make sure that key decisions can be made.”
Steve Baker would appoint the current defence secretary, Ben Wallace, the attorney general, Suella Braverman, and Rishi Sunak to his cabinet if he became PM, according to TalkTV’s Kate McCann:
I’m now handing over to my colleague Nadeem Badshah.
My colleague Gaby Hinsliff on the timeline of the Tory leadership contest, as multiple likely contenders are expected to declare they are running imminently:
Here is my colleague Jessica Elgot’s story on multiple reports claiming the PM and his wife Carrie have planned a wedding bash at Chequers in July:
No new policies until next PM announced, says Johnson
Boris Johnson told his cabinet the government would now focus on the agenda on which it was elected, and not seek to implement new policies or make major changes of direction.
In a statement, No 10 said:
The prime minister opened cabinet by welcoming those returning or joining for the first time.
He said his priority would now be to continue delivering on manifesto pledges and making sure the government is on the side of the public, on the cost of energy, transport and housing and all else that matters to them.
He made clear the government would not seek to implement new policies or make major changes of direction, rather it would focus on delivering the agenda on which the government was elected.
He said major fiscal decisions should be left for the next prime minister.
Members of cabinet were said to have paid tribute to Johnson, thanking him for his service.
They highlighted achievements including delivering Brexit, the vaccine rollout, supporting people with the cost of living and his global leadership after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, No 10 said.
My colleague Richard Adams on Michelle Donelan’s payout after just 36 hours as education secretary:
Boris Johnson told cabinet he’s going to be a de facto lame duck PM, the i-Paper’s Chloe Chaplain reports:
This from the i-Paper’s Paul Waugh:
Ministers left the cabinet meeting hosted by Boris Johnson “tight-lipped”, refusing to give any hints about the nature or atmosphere of the meeting, PA reports:
Education secretary James Cleverly ignored media questions about if he would run for leader as he left Downing Street.
Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi held his head down and deliberately ignored calls from the waiting press as he determinedly walked out of Number 10.
Smiling Northern Ireland secretary Shailesh Vara told reporters: “Good afternoon. I have got work to do and I am going to do it.”
Levelling Up secretary Greg Clark and Welsh secretary Sir Robert Buckland left Downing Street side-by-side. Each was clutching a red ministerial book and neither gave comment on the dramatic events of the past few days.
Deputy prime minister Dominic Raab, environment secretary George Eustice and culture secretary Nadine Dorries were straight-faced and silent as they left.
There was a similar reaction from Baroness Evans, the leader of the House of Lords, as she left.
Jacob Rees-Mogg will not enter the leadership contest, the Sun’s Jack Elsom reports:
And this from HuffPost UK’s Kevin Schofield:
Quite a bit of subtext in this tweet from Theresa May:
Some more polling on personal popularity from YouGov, suggesting Ben Wallace enjoys the least opposition, but mainly because people don’t know him very well:
Bloomberg’s Joe Mayes reports that an officer on the 1922 executive has said they want the field of candidates whittled down to two by 21 July, when parliament goes on recess, and a new leader chosen by September.
From the Sun’s Kate Ferguson:
Irish premier Micheál Martin has said he understands Boris Johnson has been through “a fairly difficult number of months”.
I wish him and his family the very best for the future. From our perspective, Britain is our closest neighbour.
It’s extremely important that we have a very strong, deep-rooted relationship economically, socially, culturally and of course, in terms of the respective government’s role as co-guarantors of the Good Friday agreement.
It’s fair to say that over the last while that relationship has come under strain, and there have been significant challenges, and I believe opportunities may now arise to reset that relationship.
Particularly, to avoid unilateralism and to pull back from the unilateralism that has been evident in respect of legacy in respect of the human rights as enshrined in the European convention on human rights and unilateralism in terms of the protocol itself, in terms of the legislation.
And this from our current caretaker prime minister:
This from the Daily Mirror’s Pippa Crerar:
The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, and former health secretary Sajid Javid are both seriously considering running for Tory leader, PA understands.
My colleague Rajeev Syal has written a handy explainer on what will happen next as the Conservative party has to choose a new leader.
This from the BBC’s Nicholas Watt:
Cabinet members have left Downing Street a short while ago after the PM wrapped up his first cabinet meeting since announcing he will step down.
This from PoliticsHome’s Alan White:
Michael Gove will not run as Conservative party leader, Sky News reports.
Here an interim overview on the people who could become the new party leader:
This from the BBC’s Lewis Goodall:
From Mail on Sunday commentator Dan Hodges:
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has said Boris Johnson was “worse than Neville Chamberlain” and will be remembered as “the worst” prime minister “in our history”.
Davey told PA:
He is far worse than Chamberlain, Chamberlain didn’t break the law, whatever he did, and I’m no Chamberlain fan.
This prime minister will, I think, be remembered for the first prime minister in British history to lie on an industrial scale and to care more about himself than he did the British people.
He said Tory MPs had “failed to do their patriotic duty” by not getting rid of him sooner, adding “Boris Johnson wasn’t fit to govern our great country”, and calling him a “law-breaking, lying, incompetent prime minister, the worst in our history”.
Keir Starmer, who is in the royal box at Wimbledon to watch matches on Centre Court, tweeted this clip a little while ago:
While Boris Johnson boasted about “settling our relations with the continent” EU sources consider the relationship has reached a post-Brexit nadir.
“It would definitely be a low point,” one EU diplomat said. “It’s very difficult to see how things could be worse than they were under Boris Johnson. Trust has been eroded almost to the point where it is non-existent.”
“He is seen by the EU as being just an untrustworthy partner and someone who is willing to burn all relationships internationally for short-term political gain.”
Amid uncertainty about Johnson’s successor, the diplomat said: “If there is anything more positive coming from the UK side we will grasp it and run with it.”
A second diplomat said one of the big questions for the EU was who would succeed Johnson and what their approach to the protocol would be, adding: “Surely [Liz] Truss will make a run for it, which doesn’t bode well.”
“There’ll surely be quite a bit of schadenfreude going around [Brussels] today, but his ousting had very little to do with his Brexit approach,” the diplomat said.
Business minister Paul Scully has said there is a “lot of talent” in the Conservative party and it now needs to find a new leader “to rally around and move on”.
Scully told PA:
It has been hugely frustrating that we have got to this point but the prime minister has made absolutely the right decision, it is time we found a new prime minister to rally around and move on.
What we are now doing is starting that competition, the leadership contest, but we will in the meantime continue on the important matters of the day.
On whether he would run to succeed Johnson as Conservative party leader, he said:
In no way, shape or form will I be anywhere near that, always flattering to be asked but not a chance.
Asked who he would like to lead the Tories, Scully said:
I don’t have an individual name, there is plenty of people going to be coming forward with a lot of talent, but I’m going to be looking for someone that’s going to continue to deliver for the UK.
From ITV’s Harry Horton:
Alec Shelbrooke describes himself as a “Conservative Trade Unionist”, and was a remainer prior to the Brexit referendum.
Tory MP and Johnson loyalist Daniel Kawczynski has described the events of the last few hours as “devastating”, and has blamed former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher in part for the “precipitation” of Johnson’s downfall.
Kawczynski, who was in Downing Street when Johnson delivered his speech, told Sky News:
When you remove your team captain, when you remove the leader of your party, that is a dramatic moment I think for any parliamentarian.
I thought he was a very good leader. He delivered Brexit.
He got us the largest majority that we’ve had since 1987. And he was implementing a real leadership on our continent, probably better than any other European leader, in terms of standing up to Russian aggression and dealing with other crises.
Undoubtedly mistakes have been made. But leaders, all great leaders, do make mistakes periodically and have to be held to account for those mistakes.
Of course there’s a debate about what happened with Mr Pincher, what was subsequently agreed, and why ultimately he was allowed to remain in government.
Mr Pincher has let down himself, he has let down the parliamentary party, and he has contributed to the precipitation of the removal of the leader of the Conservative party.
Labour MP Chris Bryant has said Boris Johnson could put the “country’s security and economy at risk” if he takes too long to make way for a successor.
Bryant told the PA news agency:
He hasn’t resigned so far, he said he’s going to resign later on this year.
It’s now in the hands of the Conservative party to decide how long that is going to take, if it is going to be a few days, OK, maybe he can stay.
If it is going to be months he cannot stay, because that puts the country’s security and economy at risk because he will be a completely lame duck prime minister.
I think we either have a new prime minister by the end of next week or there will certainly be a vote of confidence in the House of Commons.
The whole of the Tory party are to blame for this, they put him in there and they took ages and ages to get to this point, even when he was clearly breaking every rule going.
The DfE has issued a statement from James Cleverly after his appointment as the new education secretary for England:
As someone whose grandfather was a teacher and whose children are currently in the education system, I am incredibly passionate about education and proud to be appointed secretary of state.
From childcare and exams results, to our schools white paper, T-levels and the rest of our revolutionary skills agenda, we have a huge amount of work to do and I am looking forward to getting on with the job. That means ensuring children, young people and their families continue to be supported – they have my full commitment.
Cleverly may be a caretaker education secretary under a caretaker prime minister but his predecessor Nadhim Zahawi left a mess of half-finished bills, green papers, consultations and policy decisions behind him, many of them becoming urgent.
Top of the list is teacher pay: an announcement is long overdue as the end of the school year approaches.
Reports in the Mirror and Bloomberg are suggesting that Johnson is clinging on so that he can continue to have access to Chequers for the summer.
The Daily Mirror’s Pippa Crerar reports that the PM and his wife Carrie Johnson have a wedding party planned at Chequers later this month.
This from Bloomberg’s Kitty Donaldson:
A Downing Street spokesperson said:
The prime minister spoke to President Zelenskiy this afternoon to reiterate the United Kingdom’s steadfast support for Ukraine.
The prime minister highlighted the UK’s unwavering cross-party support for president Zelenskiy’s people, and said the UK would continue to supply vital defensive aid for as long as needed.
The prime minister added that he would continue to work at pace with partners to try and end the grain blockade in the coming weeks.
He thanked president Zelenskyy for everything he’s doing to stick up for freedom, for his friendship and for the kindness of the Ukrainian people.
President Zelenskiy thanked the prime minister for his decisive action on Ukraine, and said the Ukrainian people were grateful for the UK’s efforts.
The prime minister finished the call by praising president Zelenskiy, saying: “You’re a hero, everybody loves you.”
Here is some more polling: A majority of Britons (56%) think Johnson should be replaced by a caretaker prime minister while a successor is elected, according to a YouGov poll. The proportion who say this includes over a third (37%) of 2019 Conservative voters.
About a third (32%) of Britons say Johnson should remain in position while a successor is elected, rising to over half (55%) of 2019 Conservative voters.
Around three-quarters (77%) say Johnson was right to resign today, including two-thirds (66%) of 2019 Conservative voters. Overall among Britons, around one in eight (12%) felt he was wrong to resign.
Over a third (36%) say he has been a “terrible” prime minister. A further two in 10 (19%) say he has been a “poor” prime minister.
Ben Wallace refused to rule himself out of running for prime minister on a trip to a training area in the north of England on Thursday.
Speaking in the morning, before Johnson confirmed he had resigned in Downing St, Wallace told reporters “let’s see what the prime minister says” when asked if would seek the top job.
The defence secretary, consistently at or near the top of polling of Conservative members, otherwise declined to comment despite repeated questioning.
Instead Wallace said that he believed there was no risk of a dramatic change of policy in support of Ukraine, because he had “strived throughout this process to build a cross party consensus” on military aid.
”While the prime minister will be incredibly sad to leave this post, he has led from the front on Ukraine, as he had on COVID, and obviously, Brexit, and I think that isn’t lost on many people. But the whole of the political system is supportive of what we’re doing in Ukraine.
“I don’t expect that to finish at all,” Wallace told reporters travelling with him.
A future prime minister, Wallace said, needed “to make sure they commit to investing in defence” and that while people could “argue about how that investment went” it was the first time in a generation, extra cash had gone into the military budget.
“I’ll look whoever is the next prime minister to make sure they continue to invest in our defence,” he added.
From the Daily Mail’s John Stevens:
Hello, I’m Jedidajah Otte and will be jumping in the hot seat for the next few hours.
If you have anything you’d like to flag or comment on, you can get me on Twitter @JedySays or email me.
This is an interesting piece of info from pollster and political adviser James Johnson, who served under Theresa May at Downing St:
Theresa May laughed after being asked if she would be prepared to act as a caretaker prime minister.
From everything I hear, and I haven’t heard recently, I don’t think there’s going to be a caretaker prime minister in the sense of someone else coming into that role,” she said just minutes after Boris Johnson announced his resignation.
When I stepped down there was a process, the new leader of the party was determined and during that period of time I was still there as prime minister, able to do some things, but, crucially you have to restrict yourself what you do during that period of time for several reasons.
The former prime minister was answering questions after delivering the James Brokenshire lecture on “public service and restoring faith in politics” at the Institute of Government.
She added that whoever succeeds Boris Johnson needs to “unite the country and unite the party”.
I am concerned when I look at some other countries, the polarisation of politics in the United States for example, I think we need to ensure that we avoid going down that very polarised route of politics and society, so somebody who can heal division and encourage unity I think is important.
She said the the next prime minister had to deal with the the cost of living crisis with honesty, adding: “There are some difficult messages for people there.”
The ex-Tory leader did not mention Johnson in her speech but made several references to rule-breaking.
One of the fundamental expectations of people we represent is that we play by the rules, no double standards, no taking advantage of the position one holds.
In politics, of course, playing by the rules means following the law.
Boris Johnson will not stand down as prime minister until a new Tory leader is elected, according to James Duddridge, one of his parliamentary private secretaries. These are from the i’s Arj Singh.
That is all from me for today. My colleague Jedidajah Otte is taking over now.
Kit Malthouse, the new chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, has posted these messages on Twitter effectively explaining why he did not resign from his post as policing minister.
Sir Robert Buckland, the former justice secretary and new Welsh secretary, has not ruled out standing for the leadership himself. Asked if he would rule this out, he said:
I will support a one nation candidate. I woke up this morning not expecting to be a cabinet minister, so I’ve learnt to expect the unexpected in politics.
Dominic Raab will not be a candidate in the Tory leadership contest, John Stevens says.
That is not a surprise; Raab is one of the few cabinet ministers who was never expected to stand as a candidate. But as deputy prime minister, as well as justice secretary, some in the party would like him to take over as interim prime minister until a new leader is elected.
Raab effectively performed this role when Boris Johnson was ill with Covid in hospital.
John Major says Johnson should not stay in office until autumn because cabinet would not restrain him
Sir John Major, the former Conservative prime minister, has intervened in the debate about how long Boris Johnson should be allowed to remain in Downing Street. In a letter to Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 Committee, Major says it would be “unwise” to let Johnson hang on until the autumn. He says:
The proposal for the prime minister to remain in office - for up to three months - having lost the support of his cabinet, his government and his parliamentary party is unwise, and may be unsustainable.
In such a circumstance, the prime minister maintains the patronage and, of even greater concern, the power to make decisions which power of will affect the lives of those within all four nations of the United Kingdom and further afield. Some will argue that his new cabinet will restrain him. I merely note that his previous cabinet did not - or could not - do so.
For the overall wellbeing of the country, Mr Johnson should not remain in Downing Street - when he is unable to command the confidence of the House of Commons - for any longer than necessary to effect the smooth transition of government.
Major says he can see two possible solutions. One would be for Dominic Raab, the deputy prime minister, to take over as acting prime minister until a new party leader is elected. The other would be for the rules to be changed so that only MPs elect the party leader (the system that used to be in place until William Hague changed the rules). Major says MPs could choose a leader who could then be endorsed by party members.
Major accepts that neither solution is ideal. But he says with so many critical issues facing the country “an imaginative response - even at the risk of some bruised feelings within the party - is most definitely in the public interest”.
Major has had low regard for Johnson ever since the 1990s, when as a Telegraph journalist Johnson frequently caused trouble for the government Major led, and since Brexit he has often criticised Johnson in withering terms.
Boris Johnson will chair a meeting of his new cabinet at 3pm, No 10 says.
Priti Patel, the home secretary, has issued a statement effectively explaining why she did not resign like some of her cabinet colleagues.
Ireland’s taoiseach has urged Boris Johnson, to use his final days as prime minister to pull back from unilateral action over Northern Ireland and Brexit and investigations into killings during the troubles.
In a statement following the PM’s resignation, Micheál Martin said he wanted to extend best wishes to Johnson and his family in the wake of a “difficult few weeks”.
But he said it was not too late to reconsider legislation to unpick the Northern Ireland protocol or legislation going through the house on “legacy” killings by police or army in Northern Ireland.
He said the plan had meant recent relations between the two governments had “been strained and challenged”. He went on:
I would once again urge a pulling back from unilateral action, whether that be on dealing with the legacy of the past, human rights, or the Northern Ireland protocol.
Here is a video showing how Boris Johnson’s resignation speech compares with those from other Conservative PMs when they stood down.
Michel Barnier, who was the EU’s Brexit negotiator, says Boris Johnson’s resignation should open a “new page” in UK relations with the EU.
Joe Barnes, the Telegraph’s Brussels correspondent, says Barnier may have got this wrong.
Steve Baker and Suella Braverman, who are both former chairs of the anti-EU European Research Group, have both expressed an interest in standing and Liz Truss, who as foreign secretary has pushed for the UK to unilaterally abandon the Northern Ireland protocol, is a frontrunner.
But if Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, were to win (see 1.49pm), relations with the EU probably would improve. Wallace voted remain in 2016, and he has never publicly argued for a hardline approach to Brussels.
Damian Green, the former first secretary of state and chair of the One Nation Conservatives, has said Tom Tugendhat will be a candidate for next Tory leader and that he is supporting him, Sky reports. Tugendhat is chair of the Commons foreign affairs committee.
Ben Wallace most popular choice as next Tory leader with party members, poll suggests
According to polling of Conservative party members by YouGov, Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, is in the best position to succeed Boris Johnson.
ConservativeHome came to the same conclusion when it conducted its own survey of Conservative members very recently.
Dominic Cummings, who knows Boris Johnson very well, having worked with him on the Vote Leave campaign and served as his chief adviser at No 10, thinks Johnson has not given up hope of being able to stay as PM.
The National Association of Head Teachers says England is on its eighth education secretary since 2010. This is from its general secretary, Paul Whiteman.
I cannot help but reflect that Mr Cleverly is the eighth secretary of state for education since 2010 and the fourth since the last election. Education is far too important to be subjected to such damaging levels of instability. Ofsted would take a very dim view of that level of leadership change in a school.
The temporary nature of this caretaker cabinet will merely compound the uncertainty. This is simply not good enough. Children and young people deserve better.
The Conservative MP Chris Loder has joined those saying Boris Johnson should not be allowed to stay as PM until the autumn.
Commenting on the resignation of Boris Johnson, one EU official said it was hard for EU-UK relations to get worse, “though not impossible”, pointing to unnamed leadership hopefuls vying to succeed Johnson.
Politicians expected to be contenders include foreign secretary Liz Truss, who is leading the government’s efforts to ditch aspects of the Northern Ireland protocol, plans the EU has denounced as illegal.
“We hope this means an improvement,” the official said. “But a leadership contest isn’t an exercise particularly conducive to sensible positioning on Brexit or the protocol.”
Bernd Lange, a German social democrat, who chairs the European parliament’s trade committee, summed up the view of many in the EU with this tweet.
Tory MPs angered by tone of Johnson's resignation speech
Boris Johnson’s resignation speech has angered Tory MPs, my colleague Aubrey Allegretti reports.
Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, has said Boris Johnson was right to resign.
Boris Johnson's resignation speech - verdict from Twitter commentariat
Boris Johnson’s speech does not seem to have gone down well with political journalists and commentators. Here are some of their comments on Twitter.
From Global’s Jon Sopel
From the Atlantic’s Tom McTague
From Newsnight’s Lewis Goodall
From the FT’s Jim Pickard
From Steve Richards, the author and broadcaster
From Talk TV’s Piers Morgan
From Byline Times’ Adam Bienkov
From my colleague Gaby Hinsliff
From LBC’s Rob Burley
From Talk TV’s Tom Newton Dunn
From Bloomberg’s Emily Ashton
From the Sunday Times’ Tim Shipman
Johnson accuses Tory MPs who forced him out of 'herd' mentality
Boris Johnson’s resignation speech was short and relatively perfunctory – but revealing, although perhaps not in the way that he intended. Normally when prime ministers leave office, or start the process of leaving office, they focus on their legacy. Johnson mentioned Brexit, the UK’s response to Covid and his support for Ukraine, but it felt as if he was rattling through his standard talking point, rather than reflecting deeply on what he did and why.
Instead, the speech came alive when Johnson started considering the circumstances of his departure. In a rare moment of humility, he accepted “no one is remotely indispensable”. But he also delivered a barely concealed whinge against the Tory MPs who forced him out, effectively accusing them of groupthink and ignoring the polls.
And he said nothing about the multiple flaws and failings that led to his party losing confidence in him. Not a word, or even the most tangential reference. It seemed like confirmation that he still thinks he has done nothing wrong.
Here are the key points.
- Johnson accused the Tory MPs who forced him out of adopting a “herd” mentality and ignoring his electoral mandate and and the relatively small size of Labour’s lead in the polls. He said:
In the last few days, I tried to persuade my colleagues that it would be eccentric to change governments when we’re 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 midterm after quite a few months of pretty relentless sledging and when the economic scene is so difficult domestically and internationally.
I regret not to have been successful in those arguments and 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, when the herd moves, it moves.
Although it is true that Labour’s overall polling lead is relatively small compared with the leads some opposition parties have had over the government mid-term, Johnson’s personal polling is dire. And last month the Tories lost a byelection in a defeat that was, on one measure (size of the majority overturned), the worst ever recorded.
- Johnson said no one is indispensable in politics. He said:
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.
- He said he resisted resigning because he still wanted to deliver on his election mandate. He said:
I want to say to the millions of people who voted for us in 2019, many of them voting Conservative for the first time, thank you for that incredible mandate, the biggest Conservative majority since 1987, the biggest share of the vote since 1979.
And 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 in 2019.
- He said he would serve as PM until a new leader is in place. He said:
It is clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative party that there should be a new leader of that party and therefore a new prime minister. And I’ve agreed with Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of our backbench MPs, that the process of choosing that new leader should begin now and the timetable will be announced next week. And I’ve today appointed a cabinet to serve, as I will, until a new leader is in place.
Johnson did not repeat the line briefed by No 10 this morning about how he might be able to stay as PM until the autumn. But he did not indicate any desire for the leadership contest to be over quickly either. How long he intends, or will be allowed, to remain in office as PM remains unresolved.
- He promised to support the new party leader. He said:
To that new leader, I say, whoever he or she may be, I say: ‘I will give you as much support as I can’.
Given Johnson’s record on loyalty, this might not be much a consolation to the next leader.
Johnson concedes 'no one is remotely indispensable', as he says he is 'sad' to be giving up 'best job in world'
Johnson says the government has much more to do. He wants to level up, because he believes talent is evenly spread.
He says he has tried to persuade colleagues that changing leader would be “eccentric”.
But he failed to persuade them, he admits - even though the party has a “vast mandate” and is only “a handful of points behind in the polls”.
He says in politics “no one is remotely indispensable”.
The “Darwinian” electoral system will produce a new leader, he says.
He knows there will be people who will be disappointed. And he says he is “sad to be giving up the best job in the world”.
He thanks his wife Carrie and his family, civil servant and staff who have helped him - referring to being “here at Chequers”, before he corrects himself. And he thanks his protection team - the one group who do not leak, he says.
He ends by saying the future is golden.
Johnson says he was elected with the biggest majority since 1987 and the biggest share of the vote since 1979.
He is proud of what he has done, he says. He mentions Brexit and getting the country through the pandemic and delivering the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe.
And Britain has led the way in supporting Ukraine, he says.
Boris Johnson starts with a cheery “Good afternoon”.
He says it is clearly the will of the parliamentary party that there should be a new leader, and a new PM.
The timetable for the contest will be announced next week.
Today he has appointed a cabinet to serve until that leader is in place.
From Insider’s Cat Neilan
Some of Boris Johnson’s allies are in Downing Street to watch the speech, the Mirror’s Pippa Crerar reports.
Boris Johnson to give speech announcing his resignation as Tory leader
The lectern has come out in Downing Street, and Boris Johnson is expected to speak imminently.
Andrew Stephenson has been appointed minister without portfolio, No 10 says. Stephenson was transport minister. Minister without portfolio was the title that Oliver Dowden had when he was Tory co-chair, but it has not been announced yet whether or not Stephenson is taking on that role.
On Tuesday 12 July, at 8pm, Guardian Live are holding an event where my colleagues John Harris, Jessica Elgot and John Crace will be discussing the latest ramifications of the Conservative leadership crisis. Full details, including how to get tickets, are here.
Shailesh Vara new Northern Ireland secretary, Robert Buckland new Welsh secretary, and Kit Malthouse new chancellor of duchy of Lancaster
Shailesh Vara has been appointed as the new Northern Ireland secretary, No 10 has announced. Vara last served in government as a Northern Ireland minister in 2018.
Downing Street has also confirmed that Sir Robert Buckland is the new Welsh secretary and Kit Malthouse the new chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster (or CDL in Whitehallspeak).
Boris Johnson is now expected to make his resignation statement at around 12.30pm, the BBC reports.
Starmer says Labour could use no confidence motion to force Johnson out if he tries to stay as PM over summer
Keir Starmer has said that Labour may use a no confidence vote to try to force Boris Johnson out of No 10 if he tries to hang on until the autumn. He said:
[Johnson’s] own party have finally concluded that he’s unfit to be prime minister. They can’t now inflict him on the country for the next few months.
It’s obvious he’s unfit to be prime minister. That’s been blindingly obvious for a very, very long time.
If they don’t get rid of him then Labour will step up, in the national interest, and bring a vote of no confidence because we can’t go on with this prime minister clinging on for months and months to come.
As the official opposition, Labour can table a no confidence motion that would have to be debated almost immediately (normally the following day). But motions like this that get priority are motions of no confidence in the government. Tory MPs, even though those critical of Johnson, would almost certainly not vote in favour, because they want a Conservative government and not a general election, which would follow if Labour won.
Labour could table a different motion expressing no confidence in Johnson personally. But such a motion would not be prioritised for debate and, even if it were passed, it might be hard to make it binding on Johnson.
Chris Philp, who resigned as tech minister this morning, told Sky News this morning that if he was asked to return to office, he would. He said:
I think all of us in public life are here to serve the country and if I was able to do that in whatever capacity, then obviously I’d be happy to serve.
If I was asked to help out with getting the online safety bill through parliament, okay, I would be willing to help out in whatever way I could, in any capacity, whoever the leader was.
I’m not asking for that. I’m not expecting it. I resigned and when you resign, you resign.
And Kit Malthouse, the policing minister, will be the new chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, it is being reported. That means he will replace Steve Barclay, the new health secretary, as the Cabinet Office minister.
Cleverly and Malthouse are both loyal allies of Boris Johnson - unlike Greg Clark, whose promotion is more of a surprise.
It is also being reported that Sir Robert Buckland will be the new Welsh secretary. Buckland was justice secretary until he was sacked by Johnson last autumn.
James Cleverly appointed education secretary
James Cleverly has been appointed the new education secretary, replacing Michelle Donelan, who herself was only appointed on Tuesday to replace Nadhim Zahawi when be became chancellor. Cleverly was a minister of state at the Foreign Office.
Greg Clark appointed new levelling up secretary, replacing Michael Gove
No 10 has confirmed that Greg Clark, the former business secretary who currently chairs the Commons science committee, is the new levelling up secretary.
1922 Committee urged to set high threshold for Tory candidates to stop contest becoming 'wacky races'
The Conservative MP Steve Brine told BBC News that he had been speaking to colleagues in the Commons tearoom this morning and that there was a “gathering view” that it would not be sustainable for Boris Johnson to to remain as PM until the autumn.
He also said that he hoped the party would set a high threshold for candidates wanting to enter the first ballot, so that only MPs with significant support get considered. He said:
We can’t just have a wacky races of 20 candidates here. We need those that are serious about being the next prime minister and have a chance of doing so, and doing so credibly.
At the last leadership election in 2019 candidates needed to be nominated by eight MPs to stand, and they needed the support of at least 5% of MPs to be in the first round of voting to stay in the contest. Ten MPs were on the ballot in the first round. Given the current size of the party, the 5% threshold is equivalent to getting 18 votes.
Brine said the executive of the 1922 Committee was meeting this morning to discuss the rules for a contest.
UPDATE: The penultimate paragraph has been corrected. In 2019 MPs neeeded eight votes to be nominated, and the 5% threshold applied to stay in the contest after the first ballot.
Around the time this morning Downing Street was announcing that Boris Johnson intends to quit as party leader, four other Conservative MPs said they were resigning from official posts.
Rob Butler resigned as a PPS to the Foreign Office.
Richard Graham resigned as a trade envoy.
Luke Hall resigned as deputy chair of the Conservative party
And Caroline Johnson resigned as vice chair of the Conservative party.
All four seem to have taken the decision to resign before Johnson announced that he was going.
Thérèse Coffey, the work and pensons secretary, says she wanted to have a meeting with Boris Johnson yesterday but did not get the chance. She implies she did not resign because she wanted to provide continuity in her department.
Nick Gibb, the Tory former schools minister, has joined those saying Boris Johnson should not be allowed to remain as PM over the summer.
Greg Clark, the former business secretary, is going to be appointed as the new levelling up secretary, the Times’ Steven Swinford reports.
The mutiple exclamation marks refer to the fact that soon after becoming PM Johnson withdrew the whip from Clark and other Tories who voted to stop the government leaving the EU without a Brexit deal. Until now people like Clark have not been welcome in Johnson’s government.
This morning started with the resignation of Brandon Lewis as Northern Ireland secretary. Michelle O’Neill, the Sinn Féin leader in Northern Ireland who is set to be first minister if the power-sharing executive is restored, posted this verdict on his time in office.
Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser who has been calling for the PM’s resignation for at least a year, says Johnson should be forced out of Downing Street immediately.
Steve Baker, the former Brexit minister, told BBC News that he was seriously thinking of standing for the Tory leadership. He said:
People will know that in the last seven of the 12 years I’ve been in parliament I have provided leadership and organisation through really massive crises, whether it’s been Brexit or Covid, race relations, net zero.
So, of course, I’ve taken a lot of calls and meetings with potential [supporters]. Now I’m seriously thinking whether I should do it because I got into politics because I thought I wanted an MP I always agreed with. Well, maybe I’d like a prime minister that could be counted on to do what I thought best.
So, I know what I’m looking for – fierce resolve, humility, integrity, a willingness to do what’s actually right for the long and short-term of this country.
So, of course, I’m seriously considering standing because ConservativeHome members consistently put me in their top 10, so I should respect them and take that seriously.
Baker is referring to this survey of Conservative party members by the ConservativeHome website.
'We don't have functioning government,' says Labour as Ellis answers Commons urgent question
In the Commons Michael Ellis, the Cabinet Office minister, is responding to an urgent question from Labour on the functioning of government. Here are the main points from his opening statement.
- Ellis said “the bussiness of government continues”, and that ministers were still in place, “including in all great offices of state”. He said:
The government continues to function ... Any necessary ministerial vacancies can and will be filled. Other secretaries of state can make decisions if necessary. There is a rich reserve of people who are both dedicated and talented.
- He said “calmness and professionalism” were now required. That prompted laughter from opposition MPs.
- He confirmed that Boris Johnson would make a statement shortly, but he would not say what Johnson would say.
But he failed to impress Angela Rayner, the deputy Labour leader, who opened her response to him saying: “I hate to break it to the minister, but we don’t have a functioning government.” She said the events of the last few days had serious consequences.
- Rayner said bill committees were being cancelled because ministers were not available.
- She said the Department for Education does not have ministers in it from the Commons.
- She said, following the resignation of the Northern Ireland secretary, only two ministers were available authorised to sign warrants for the security services using intelligence powers.
There is a live feed of the UQ at the top of the blog.
My colleague Peter Walker has spoken to a minister who has resigned who will not return back to government until Boris Johnson has left office.
Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, is cutting short a trip to Indonesia and returning to the UK, my colleague Jessica Elgot reports. Truss is one of the frontrunners in the contest to succeed Boris Johnson.
Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng says new Tory leader should be in place 'as soon as practicable'
Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, says the new Tory leader should be in place “as soon as practicable”.
The No 10 briefing earlier suggested that Boris Johnson would like to stay as prime minister until around the time of the Conservative party conference, which starts on Sunday 2 October. It is looking increasingly unlikely that the party will tolerate that.
Organising a ballot of Conservative party members, and allowing time for hustings, takes a while, but it would probably be feasible for the party to et a contest all over by August.
Alternatively, some Tories are arguing for someone - probably Dominic Raab, the deputy PM, to take over as interim prime minister in the meantime. Britain has not had a formal interim PM in the past but there have been times - such as when Churchill was ill - when the prime minister’s duties have been fulfilled by a colleague or colleagues for several weeks.
Simon Hoare, the Conservative chair of the Northern Ireland affairs committee, says it is “beyond credulity” that Boris Johnson could stay on until the autumn.
Rebecca Pow resigns as environment minister
Rebecca Pow has resigned as environment minister. She has been at home with Covid, and it looks as if she drafted her letter before Boris Johnson announced his resignation. In the letter she says that she thinks Johnson’s position is “no longer tenable”. Johnson has now come to the same conclusion himself.
It seems that Johnson’s resignation came too late to avert a resignation that was already in the pipeline.
Sturgeon says it is 'not sustainable' for Johnson to stay on as PM until autumn
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, says she thinks it is “not sustainable” for Boris Johnson to remain prime minister until the autumn. She has posted these on Twitter.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment on whether the Queen has had any communication with Boris Johnson on Thursday morning, PA Media reports. The Queen is at Windsor Castle and the Court Circular recorded that she held her weekly audience by telephone with Johnson on Wednesday evening.
On the Today programme David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, said that he was “not too bothered” about the prospect of Boris Johnson staying on as PM over the summer. He said appointing someone else as an interim prime minister would be difficult because it looked as if half the cabinet would be running in the leadership contest. Dominic Raab is deputy PM, but Davis pointed out that Raab also has a full-time job, as justice secretary.
Keir Starmer has said Boris Johnson’s resignation is good news for the country. In a statement he 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 ...
We don’t need to change the Tory at the top – we need a proper change of government.
We need a fresh start for Britain.
Tories say 'reckless' Johnson should be forced out now because letting him stay until autumn risky
Two ex-ministers have told the Guardian they think it not possible for Johnson to stay till the autumn.
One said: “He needs to be gone by tonight, Raab should take over.” Another said: “He needs to hand in the seals of office today and go. So we can have a caretaker PM.”
Another highly senior Tory source who has been with Johnson over the past 48 hours said his behaviour meant it was dangerous for the country for him to stay. The source said:
His behaviour in the last 48 hrs and been reckless and erratic. He cannot be trusted to lead the country until the autumn. God knows what he will do.
One former government adviser said it was “dangerous” for Johnson to stay in post. Another ex-minister called him “a disgrace”.
On the Today programme James Cartlidge, who resigned this morning as courts minister, said he thought it would be reasonable for Boris Johnson to hang on as caretake PM while the leadership contest took place.
Asked if he thought he could just return to his ministerial post, he said he did not know about that, and that as far as he was concerned he had resigned.
George Freeman, who resigned as science minister this morning, says Boris Johnson should quit now, and let a caretaker PM take over while the Tory leadership contest takes place.
The Spectator’s James Forsyth says there is growing support in the Conservative party for the proposal that Boris Johnson should be forced to stand aside almost immediately so that Dominic Raab can take over as a caretaker PM. (See 8.08am.)
Johnson currently wants to stay on until the autumn. (Perhaps at some level he believes that by then the party might have had a change of heart?)
By the time he leaves office, Boris Johnson will have outlasted Theresa May as PM, Ian Jones from PA Media reports.
Gavin Barwell, the Tory peer who was chief of staff to Theresa May when she was PM, told the Today programme that he thought it would be hard for ministers who have stuck with Boris Johnson right to the end to argue in a leadership contest that they would be able to represent a “significant change”. The party needed a candidate who could restore standards in public life, he said.
He said Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid could find it easier to make the case they would be change candidates because they precipitated the downfall of Johnson with their resignations on Tuesday night.
Boris Johnson to quit after telling chair of 1922 Committee he will stand down
Boris Johnson spoke to Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee, and agreed to stand down, No 10 sources are saying. The decision was reportedly taken at about 8.30am.
The pound was trading higher on the news of Boris Johnson’s resignation - up 0.6% at 1.198 US dollars and 0.4% stronger at 1.174 euros, PA Media reports.
Downing Street has issued a statement saying: “The prime minister will make a statement to the country today.” Boris Johnson is expected to deliver it from No 10 before lunchtime.
Boris Johnson’s resignation means the Conservative leadership contest has now officially started. On the Today programme this morning Suella Braverman, the attorney general, and Steve Baker, the former Brexit minister, have both been making a pitch for the job.
Last night my colleague Helena Horton spoke to Baker about the sort of platform he would campaign on if he does stand.
On the Today programme (which is still on air) Chris Philp, who resigned as a minister this morning (see 8.12am), says he thinks it would be “reasonable” for Boris Johnson to carry on as PM until the autumn.
Asked if he thinks it will be possible for him to return to his job, Philp says that is not up to him.
There is now likely to be a intense debate in the Conservative party about whether it would be appropriate for Boris Johnson to remain in office until the autumn. Lord Frost, the former Brexit minister, has already said that he does not believe that is sustainable. See 8.08am.
Boris Johnson has agreed to resign, but wants to stay on as PM until new Tory leader elected by autumn
Boris Johnson has agreed to resign, the BBC’s Chris Mason reports. He says he wants a new Tory leader to be in place by the party conference. He wants to stay on as PM until then.
Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, is now publicly urging Tory MPs to vote out Boris Johnson.
Full list of ministerial resignations
Here is a full list of ministerial resignations this week.
By 9am on Thursday, we had had 27 resignations in total - five at cabinet level, and 22 at below cabinet level.
In addition, one other minister, Michael Gove, has been sacked as levelling up secretary, taking the total number of ministerial departures to 28.
There have also been dozens more PPS resignations, but these are far less important. Government can function without PPSs, but not without ministers.
Rishi Sunak, chancellor
Sajid Javid, health secretary
Simon Hart, Welsh secretary
Brandon Lewis, Northern Ireland secretary
Michelle Donelan, education secretary
Alex Chalk, solicitor general
Will Quince, minister for children and families
Robin Walker, schools minister
John Glen, Treasury minister
Victoria Atkins, prisons minister
Jo Churchill, environment minister
Stuart Andrew, housing minister
Kemi Badenoch, equalities minister
Julia Lopez, media minister
Lee Rowley, business minister
Neil O’Brien, levelling up minister
Alex Burghart, skills minister
Mims Davies, employment minister
Rachel Maclean, minister for safeguarding
Mike Freer, equalities minister
Edward Argar, health minister
Helen Whately, Treasury minister
Damian Hinds, security minister
George Freeman, science minister
Guy Opperman, pensions minister
Chris Philp, tech minister
James Cartlidge, courts minister
New education secretary Michelle Donelan quits, saying this is only way to force Johnson to resign
Michelle Donelan was appointed education secretary on Tuesday night, to replace Nadhim Zahawi. After less than 48 hours in office, she has quit.
Zahawi says he is speaking out publicly because he is 'heartbroken' because PM did not take advice to quit
Here is the text of Nadhim Zahawi’s letter. In his tweet Zahawi makes it clear that this message is addressed to Boris Johnson, but his letter - on Treasury notepaper - reads like a press release. It is not addressed to anyone.
This may be one of the first documents Zahawi has signed on Treasury notepaper.
My number one priority has and always will be this great country. When asked to become chancellor, I did it out of loyalty. Not to a man, but loyalty to this country and all it has given me.
The challenges Britain faces, be it inflation or Putin’s war in Ukraine, will not pause for anything, and it is vital that the major offices of state continue to functi through a national crisis. If people have thought poorly of me for that decision, it is criticism I am willing to shoulder.
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 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. No one will forget getting Brexit done, keeping a dangerous antisemite out of No 10, our handling of covid and our support for Ukraine in its hour of need.
But the country deserves a government that is not only stable, but which acts with integrity.
Prime Minister, you know in your heart what the right thing to do is, and go now.
New chancellor Nadhim Zahawi urges Johnson to 'do the right thing and go now'
Nadhim Zahawi was promoted from education secretary to chancellor only on Tuesday night, replacing Rishi Sunak who resigned.
Today Zahawi is calling on Boris Johnson to resign.
George Osborne, the former Conservative chancellor, has urged Boris Johnson to quit today.
Late last night James Davies said he was resigning as a PPS to the health department in a post on his Facebook account.
Yesterday Mark Logan resigned as parliamentary private secretary. This morning he posted this on Twitter, no doubt speaking for many of his colleagues.
James Cartlidge resigns as courts minister, saying it is now 'no longer remotely possible' for PM to recover
James Cartlidge has resigned as courts minister. In his resignation letter he says it is now “no longer even remotely possible” for Boris Johnson to “change and reset”.
Braverman confirms that she wants to run for Tory leadership to deliver promises in Tory manifesto
Last night Braverman said she would stand in the Tory leadership contest when Boris Johnson goes.
When it was put to her that she did not have enough experience, Braverman did not accept that. She said she had run a government department, the attorney general’s department.
She said she wanted to be leader to deliver on the promises contained in the party’s manifesto, particularly on Brexit.
UPDATE: Here is the clip on ITV’s Peston last night saying she would like to run for the Tory leadership.
Britain 'technically' still has functioning government, attorney general Suella Braverman says
On the Today programme Suella Braverman, the attorney general, is being interviewed now. Normally when a minister is one the programme it is because they have been nominated by No 10. But last night Braverman said Boris Johnson should stand down, and this morning she is on the programme freelancing.
Despite calling for Johnson to go, Braverman has not resigned - and she has not been sacked.
Asked if Britain still has a functioning government, Braverman replies: “Technically, yes we do.”
She says she chose not to resign because, as attorney general, she has duties to fulfil on behalf of the country.
Chris Philp resigns as tech minister, stressing importance of 'integrity, honesty and trust' in politcs
Chris Philp has resigned as minister for tech. In his resignation letter, he says he cannot serve under Boris Johnson any longer because of the importance of “integrity, honesty and trust” in politics.
Lord Frost says Johnson should not be allowed to stay on as caretaker PM while leadership contest takes place
Lord Frost, the former Brexit minister, says Boris Johnson should resign immediately.
He also suggests the Conservative 1922 Committee executive should meet again soon to bring forward another no confidence vote if Johnson does not quit. The executive met yesterday afternoon, but decided against an immediate change to the rules. Instead it made arrangements for the election of a new executive on Monday, after which the rules could be changed.
It has been widely assumed that, after announcing his resignation, Johnson will stay on in office while a new Tory leader is elected. This is what has always happened in the past. When Conservative MPs elected their leader, the handover took place quickly, but party members now vote on the leader and this meant Theresa May remained in office for several weeks while her successor was chosen.
Frost says this should not allowed to happen this time. He says Johnson cannot credibly stay on as a caretake prime minister, and that Dominic Raab, the deputy PM, should stand in for him during the leadership contest.
Guy Opperman resigns as pensions minister, telling Johnson 'government cannot function with you in charge'
Guy Opperman has resigned as pensions minister. In his resignation letter, he tells Boris Johnson “the government simply cannot function with you in charge”.
George Freeman has confirmed that he has resigned, the BBC reports.
George Freeman resigns as science minister, saying Johnson has triggered 'constitutional crisis'
And George Freeman seems to have quit as science minister. He has written a coruscating letter saying that Boris Johnson is presiding over a “constitutional crisis” and that he no longer has confidence in Johnson’s “leadership of our country, government or party”. He tells the PM:
I’m afraid the culmination of your lack of transparency and candour with parliament (and willingness to ask your ministers to mislead parliament), your removal of key pillars of the ministerial code, your handling of your appointment of a deputy chief whip who it turns out you knew had a history of sexual abuse allegations, is too much. This is seriously damaging public trust and respect for government, democracy and the law, and this great party’s long tradition as the party of standards, character, conduct, integrity and duty to office and country before partisan self-interest.
Your leadership, the chaos in No 10, breakdown of cabinet collective responsibility and collapse of public confidence in government represents a constitutional crisis. It is also now seriously undermining our authority in key negotiations on the world stage at a time of urgent international crises.
Freeman also says in the letter he is writing to Sir Graham Brady, chair of the Conservative 1922 Committee, calling for a fresh no confidence vote in Johnson.
But, although the letter reads like a resignation letter, Freeman does not explicitly say in it that he is resigning. (This is not the first time that Freeman has left some ambiguity in a public statement about his position on Boris Johnson.)
UPDATE: Freeman later confirmed he was resigning.
Damian Hinds resigns as security minister, says Johnson has presided over 'serious erosion' of standards
Damian Hinds has resigned as security minister. Hinds, who served in cabinet as education secretary under Theresa May, says in his resignation letter there has been a “serious erosion” of standards in public life under Boris Johnson. And he says:
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.
Here is another extract from Brandon Lewis’s resignation letter. 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 ...
I have gone out and defended this government both publicly and privately. 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 ...
A divided party cannot win elections. It cannot deliver for those who trusted us with their votes for the first time in 2019.
Brandon Lewis and Helen Whately become latest ministers to quit
Good morning. Boris Johnson is still prime minister. For weeks many Tories have been urging the cabinet to mount a coup against him, and force him out. A minimalist version of that happened yesterday, but Johnson saw them off and now he remains head of a government that appears fatally weakened, bereft of credibility - and much smaller than usual (because of all the ministers who have resigned).
Here is our overnight round-up.
Two cabinet ministers resigned on Tuesday night (Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid), yesterday a third was sacked (Michael Gove), and a fourth resigned (Simon Hart). And within the last few minutes a fifth has gone - Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland secretary. In his resignation letter Lewis said Johnson’s government was now “past the point of no return”.
This morning another more junior minister has resigned too. In her letter explaining why she quit her post as Treasury minister, Helen Whately, said there were only so many times the PM could apologise for something that went wrong and hope to move on.
Lewis’s resignation means 22 ministers have now left the government. (Many more PPSs have quit, but they are much less important.) It is debatable whether the government can even function with some many jobs left vacant. But Johnson may well continue in office until next week, when it seems certain that the Conservative backbencher 1922 Committee will change the rules to allow another no confidence vote in Johnson, which he would lose.
Quite what will happen today is anyone’s guess, but we will be covering all the developments here.