Boris Johnson is now the firm favourite to be the next prime minister after dramatically quitting Theresa May’s cabinet this afternoon.
The now-ex foreign secretary plunged Mrs May’s cabinet into crisis just hours after David Davis resigned as Secretary of State for exiting the European Union.
On Monday morning, the odds for Boris Johnson taking over the role of Prime Minister were 9/1.
Only hours later, the odds shortened to 3/1, putting him in first position.
Mr Johnson was the figurehead of the Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum, but dramatically pulled away from an expected leadership bid after losing the support of fellow minister Michael Gove.
Mrs May surprised many by appointing him to the Foreign Office, a position he has frequently used to forge a distinctive position on Brexit, including by setting out his own ‘red lines’ just days before the PM’s crucial speech to Conservative conference last year.
He was widely reported to have told the Chequers meeting on Friday that putting a positive gloss on Mrs May’s Brexit package would be like ‘polishing a turd’, though he later joined other ministers in signing up to the package.
There was no immediate statement from Mr Johnson to explain his decision to quit, which was seized upon by opposition politicians as a sign of increasing turmoil within Mrs May’s administration.
In a pointed message, the President of the European Council Donald Tusk appeared to suggest that the resignations could spell the end for Brexit.
“Politicians come and go but the problems they have created for people remain,” said Mr Tusk.
“I can only regret that the idea of Brexit has not left with Davis and Johnson. But…who knows?”
There was growing speculation about Mr Johnson’s plans on Monday after he failed to attend a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergencies committee as well as a summit of Western Balkan nations being held in London.
Theresa May told MPs she pays tribute to Boris Johnson and David Davis but said they ‘do not agree about’ the best way to proceed with Brexit.
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At 3pm on Monday, a statement was issued by Downing Street to say: ‘This afternoon, the Prime Minister accepted the resignation of Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary.
‘His replacement will be announced shortly. The Prime Minister thanks Boris for his work.’