Boris Johnson has resigned as Conservative party leader, stepping down from the role less than 48 hours after Chancellor Rishi Sunak and health secretary Sajid Javid began a record spate of resignations.
Since Javid's resignation at 18:02 on 5 July, quickly followed by Sunak's at 18:11, a total of 54 minister have resigned from the government, with most citing a lack of faith in Johnson.
Johnson had held on, arguing he would not step down until his mandate from the British people was withdrawn, which led many to believe he may attempt to call a snap election. However, during a liaison committee meeting yesterday (6 July), Johnson was told in no uncertain terms that he would not be allowed to dissolve the government.
While it looked as though Johnson might remain as leader until next week when the 1922 committee was due to meet and likely change the rules to allow another vote of no confidence, cogs have been turning this morning to make his position untenable.
Newly-appointed chancellor Nadhim Zahawi published a letter on Twitter at 08:43, withdrawing his support for the prime minister just over 24 hours after he agreed to take on the role.
He wrote that he had taken the role out of loyalty "not to a man, but loyalty to this country", adding that if he was judged poorly for accepting the role, it is "criticism I am willing to shoulder".
Education secretary for just over a day Michelle Donelan turned in her resignation moments after, at 08:51.
With Johnson's resignation today, his tenure comes to an end at exactly the same length as Neville Chamberlain's, with each serving just two years and 348 days.
It remains uncertain as to how the end of Johnson's government will play out. Some have suggested that he will attempt to stay on as interim leader until a leadership election is completed in the autumn, while others are suggesting he will be forced to go today.
Dominic Cummings has tweeted (emphasis his): "Evict TODAY or he'll cause CARNAGE, even now he's playing for time & will try to stay. No ‘dignity', no ‘interim while leadership contest'. Raab [should] be interim PM by evening."
Sterling has been volatile in response to the news nudging upwards to $1.20, currently (10:01) resting at $1.1964, up 0.36% on the day.
Global sales trader at Saxo Markets Mike Owens explained that the move was likely related to relief over a decision after days of political uncertainty.
"Although predominately driven by the strong dollar, another less significant factor pushing the pound lower over recent weeks has been the political uncertainty, so I think we can expect to see some relief being priced into the UK currency as more details of Johnson's plan to step down are announced," he said. "Financial markets prefer certainty, and this situation is no different."
The FTSE 100 has remained in the green, up 1.24% at its peak (roughly the time the resignation was announced) and currently resting up 0.9%. - Investmentweek