Boris Johnson has sacked Michael Gove as the Prime Minister began a revenge reshuffle to shore up his crisis-hit leadership.
A defiant Mr Johnson insisted he was going nowhere despite Cabinet Ministers urging him to quit and a flood of Tory resignations.
Tonight, the PM was sacked his old ally-turned-enemy after Mr Gove told him that he had run out of road.
A source close to Mr Gove earlier did not deny that he had urged the PM to quit as he’d lost the support of the Tory party.
Reports initially suggest that Mr Johnson had dismissed the Levelling Up Secretary for disloyalty, with a No10 source branding him a “snake”.
The source told the BBC: “You cannot have a snake who is not with you on any of the big arguments who then gleefully briefs the press that he has called for the leader to go.
“You cannot operate like that.”
But the move went down badly in some quarters, with Mr Gove’s Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) Danny Kruger saying Mr Johnson should have gone instead.
Mr Kruger announced he was resigning, adding: “Very sorry indeed to hear @michaelgove has been fired by the PM.
“As I told No 10 earlier today it should be the PM leaving office. I am resigning as PPS at [Department for Levelling Up].”
Only one minister – Eddie Hughes – appears to be left at the Levelling Up department after a flurry of resignations.
Between 6pm on Tuesday and 9.45pm today, 41 MPs have quit the Government in an extraordinary Tory exodus.
The PM’s PPS James Duddridge claimed Mr Johnson was in a “buoyant mood” – and he was preparing to appoint new Cabinet ministers tonight.
Mr Duddridge also said the PM and his new Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi would set out a new economic plan tomorrow – despite Mr Zahawi joining a delegation of top Tories telling Mr Johnson to go.
Home Secretary Priti Patel, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis and Welsh Secretary Simon Hart were among the Cabinet ministers telling Mr Johnson to stand down.
Loyalist Ms Patel is understood to have told the PM the “overwhelming view” of the parliamentary party.
The incendiary decision to sack Mr Gove is likely to provoke anger among some Tories and comes after years of tensions between the pair.
Mr Gove famously derailed Mr Johnson’s leadership bid in 2016 by withdrawing his support and deciding to run himself.