BORIS Johnson's brand new Education Secretary quit today just 36 hours after joining the post – moments before Boris Johnson threw in the towel himself.

Education Secretary Michelle Donelan resigned shortly before 9am, as the Prime Minister's own Chancellor told him to "go now".

The PM agreed to step down after more than 50 Tory MPs walked out in the wake of the Chris Pincher groping storm.

The Sun understands he will stay in post until October at which point he will conduct an "orderly handover".

Boris was left hanging on by his fingernails after seven ministers including two Cabinet members quit before 9am.

And in an unprecedented move, Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi told him: “You must do the right thing and go now.”

The stinging warning added: "Prime Minister: This is not sustainable and it will only get worse: for you, for the Conservative Party and most importantly of all the country."

In key developments:

  • Boris Johnson agrees to step down as Prime Minister
  • The PM had prepared to launch a reshuffle this morning
  • But ministers have been refusing to go into vacant jobs
  • The PM sacked "snake" Cabinet Minister Michael Gove last night
  • Four Cabinet Ministers have now resigned in three days
  • Much Parliamentary business was ditched today because there was not enough ministers
  • Attorney General Suella Braverman said she would run for leader but did not resign
  • Brexiteer Steve Baker said he was considering standing for leader

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The PM's fall comes after he last night ignored calls for him to go, warning Tory rebels they will have to "dip their hands in blood" if they want to force him out.

And the floodgates continued to unleash today as Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis told the PM he "cannot sacrifice his personal integrity to defend things as they stand now".

Junior Treasury minister Helen Whately and Security minister Damian Hinds followed moments after, with Mr Hinds insisting "we must have a change of leadership".

Science and Innovation minister George Freeman then vowed "enough is enough" adding "this can't go on".

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Digital Minister Chris Philp, Pensions Minister Guy Opperman quickly followed them out the door before 8am.

Courts Minister James Cartlidge and Education Secretary Michelle Donelan were the next to throw in the towel – both handing in their resignations before 9am.

In a desperate bid to save his leadership, the PM last night sacked big beast Michael Gove, who was branded a “snake” for telling Boris to quit.

The battered PM dramatically fired the Levelling UP Secretary for disloyalty after he had briefed the press that he had told Mr Johnson to go while “trying to dishonourably stay in post”.

But he point blank refused to bow to a delegation of his top ministers, who begged him to resign for the good of the party, saying: “I won’t go.”

A key ally said: “If the party wants to overthrow the elected will of the people, they have to dip their hands in blood.”

Backbenchers on the powerful 1922 Committee were expected to change leadership rules for a fresh vote on Mr Johnson’s future next week — which even his closest allies last night warned he would likely lose.

But despite Cabinet ministers queuing up to warn Mr Johnson, the PM told them no leadership rival could match his appeal at the ballot box.

One open-mouthed senior Tory said: “He has lost it. He has become like Caligula — the Roman emperor who wanted to make a horse a consul. Michael was one of the best ministers in the Cabinet.”

Another MP said: “Sacking Gove is revenge. But Boris is now detached from reality. He is now like Putin.”

Last night the beleaguered PM insisted he would fight to the bitter end on behalf of the 14million voters who gave him his thumping majority in 2019.

But he was forced to turn back on his word this morning after Cabinet members staged an assassination attempt which echoed Thatcher's removal.

A source said: "Boris Johnson has spoken to Graham Brady and agreed to stand down as party leader so that a new leader can be in place by party conference. He will remain as PM until that point."

'Quit Squad'

Instead of meeting a delegation dubbed the “Quit Squad” en masse, Mr Johnson singled them out one by one to warn ousting him would spell electoral doom for the Tories and risk months of chaos.

He warned that if he is ousted the Tories will spend months in-fighting and the next election will be lost to a “coalition of chaos” of Labour, the Lib Dems and the Scottish Nationalists.

He warned they will rip up the electoral system to “lock the Tories out of power for a generation”. Mr Johnson said: “The choice is not Boris or no Boris. The choice is a Conservative government with a new Chancellor who will soon outline a new economic programme. Or three months of tearing each other apart.”

His fighting talk came after an astonishing day of blood-letting triggered by The Sun’s revelation last Thursday that shamed MP Chris Pincher had drunkenly groped two men.

The PM shrugged off a record-breaking day of walkouts — with 41 Tory MPs resigning their posts.

It came after 17 ministers resigned in protest at the PM’s battered leadership, which took a massive hit when it emerged he had “forgotten” he had been warned that Pincher was a pervert.

A number of Cabinet Ministers including Simon Hart and Grant Shapps had let the Chief Whip know they thought the PM’s time was up and he would lose another confidence vote.

The choice is not Boris or no Boris. The choice is a Conservative government with a new Chancellor who will soon outline a new economic programme.

They were then invited by Chris Heaton Harris to tell the PM to his face. Another 18 junior bag carriers also quit the Government and the PM lost some of his most loyal MPs, including Red Waller Lee Anderson and ultra-loyalist Tom Hunt — who had also been some of his biggest defenders. Every single junior minister in Education and Levelling Up quit in the unprecedented walkout.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries and Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis also had private meetings with the PM. But despite a resignation almost every 15 minutes throughout the day, Mr Johnson remained defiant and insisted he will “of course” be PM for days more.

The mass resignation of ministers, along with a string of parliamentary aides, came after Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid quit their posts on Tuesday evening. Mr Johnson did not deny reports that Cabinet minister Michael Gove told him early on Wednesday that he must stand down, but later sacked him by phone.

At Prime Minister’s Questions, BoJo said the “colossal mandate” he had been handed by voters in 2019 means he should keep going despite the “difficult circumstances”.

But Mr Javid’s resignation statement in the House laid bare the scale of the problems facing the PM — and he challenged other Cabinet ministers to consider their positions.

'Enough is enough'

The PM stayed in the Commons chamber as Mr Javid set out the reasons for his resignation, saying Mr Johnson was not going to change and “enough is enough”.

Mr Javid said: “Treading the tightrope between loyalty and integrity has become impossible in recent months. I will never risk losing my integrity.”

He said “the problem starts at the top and I believe that is not going to change”.

In a message to Cabinet ministers who decided not to quit, he said: “Not doing something is an active decision. I’m deeply concerned about how the next generation will see the Conservative Party on our current course. It is incumbent on all of us to set high standards for ourselves and to take action when they are not met by others.”

Former justice minister Ms Atkins said: “I can no longer pirouette around our fractured values. We can and must do better than this.”

Rachel Maclean, who quit as a Home Office minister, said Boris should “resign for the good of the country and our party”. Former Cabinet ministers Robert Jenrick and Liam Fox also withdrew their support.

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Jonathan Reilley

BORIS Johnson could still stay on as Prime Minister while the Conservative party decides who will next get the keys to No10.

If Mr Johnson decides to call it a day with dignity, he could opt to remain in Downing Street to try to provide some stability.

However, if he is ousted in a bloody coup, an interim Prime Minister would then need to be selected to run the country.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab could take the reins while a leadership contest is held.

In either case, a new Tory party leader could be in place by the end of the summer.

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