Tories demand Boris Johnson is forced to leave No 10 today and not be caretaker

Growing fears of further damage – after outgoing prime minister bent constitution in a desperate bid to stay in power

Boris Johnson resigns as prime minister

Worried senior Tories want Boris Johnson to be forced out of No 10 immediately, fearing further damage after he bent the constitution in a desperate bid to stay in power.

The outgoing prime minister has signalled he intends to stay on as a caretaker until a new Tory leader is elected, probably in September – creating a two-month period of uncertainty.

The interim is normally uncontroversial, but never before has a prime minister initially refused to leave power after a cabinet revolt, or previously broken other laws and conventions.

George Freeman, who quit as science minister today, tweeted: “Boris Johnson needs to hand in the seals of office, apologise to Her Majesty & advise her to call for a Caretaker Prime Minister To take over today”.

It would allow ministers to “get back to work & we can choose a new Conservative Leader to try & repair the damage & rebuild trust”, he added.

Nick Gibb, the former schools minister, said: “As well as resigning as Party leader the PM must resign his office.

“After losing so many ministers, he has lost the trust and authority required to continue. We need an acting PM who is not a candidate for leader to stabilise the government while a new leader is elected.”

David Frost, the former Brexit minister, agreed that Mr Johnson “cannot now credibly be a caretaker Prime Minister while a leadership election is taking place”.

“We have a Deputy PM who can straightforwardly fulfil that role and he should,” he added – referring to Dominic Raab.

Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s former aide and now bitter enemy, was blunter: tweeting: “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 shd be interim PM by evening.”

And Ruth Davidson, the former Tory leader in Scotland, warned: “There’s no way he can stay on until October. It’s arrant nonsense to think he can. Someone needs to grip this.”

Other prime ministers have used a caretaker period to shape their legacy, notably Theresa May who passed the landmark legislation committing the UK to net zero carbon emissions.

Mr Johnson will be keen to do the same – and has the added motivation of needing to stay in Downing Street for another 28 days to outlast his predecessor.

Extraordinarily, Mr Johnson is thought to still be planning a big economic speech in the next few weeks, to shape momentous decisions on future Treasury policy – including, possibly, tax cuts.

Today, the Office for Budget Responsibility, the independent Treasury watchdog, warned taxes must rise to avert an “unsustainable” tax burden.

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