The prime minister, Boris Johnson, has this evening sacked the long standing cabinet minister, Michael Gove.
Mr Gove who was until this evening the Secretary of State for Levelling up, now becomes potentially the first British cabinet minister to have been sacked by three different prime ministers. He was previously dismissed by both Theresa May and David Cameron.
A regular in and out of the cabinet since 2010, Mr Gove was previously the Secretary of State for Education, Justice Secretary, Chief Whip, and Secretary of State for the Environment.
Following the news that Mr Gove has been sacked, a further government PPS, Danny Kruger, the son of the TV chef, Prue Leith, has resigned, potentially in protest at Mr Gove’s sacking.
Mr Gove was one of a number of cabinet ministers who attended a meeting with the prime minister earlier to tell him to resign.
The precise details of Mr Gove’s departure remain unclear, but it is certainly possible that he was dismissed by Mr Johnson before he was able to resign.
Responding to Mr Gove’s resignation, the Conservative MP, Tim Loughton joked this evening on Sky News that Mr Gove had gone to Downing Street with a metaphorical bottle of whisky and a revolver, only to find that Mr Johnson had ‘downed the whisky and turned the revolver on Michael Gove’.
The prime minister’s PPS, James Duddridge MP, has this evening told Sky News that reports that other cabinet ministers, such as Nadhim Zahawi, called on Mr Johnson to resign, were incorrect.
Mr Gove previously thwarted Mr Johnson’s 2016 Conservative leadership bid
In an incredible day in British politics, some 43 Conservative MPs have now resigned as government ministers, parliamentary private secretaries, party vice chairman, and trade envoys.
The previous largest batch of government resignations in a single day was 11 in 1932.
With Mr Johnson currently refusing to resign, attention now turns to the 1922 Committee of conservative backbench MPs. The committee is now thought highly likely to initiate a follow up leadership ballot.
Speaking to Sky News this evening, the Conservative MP for the Isle of Wight, Bob Seeley, predicted that between 200 and 250 Conservative MPs would vote down Mr Johnson in such a ballot.
Mr Seeley is one of a number of Conservative MPs who backed Mr Johnson in the June leadership contest, but has said he will not now back Mr Johnson in a future leadership election.