What will Boris do now? What will happen if he quits or calls a snap election? The PM’s options after Sunak and Javid triggered resignation plot

Boris Johnson was tonight dealt a huge double blow following the resignations of Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid.

But does this mean Mr Johnson’s time as Prime Minister is coming to a close? Might he quit himself? Or can he ride through another storm and remain in Number 10?

Here, MailOnline looks at what the consequences could be:

What’s happened?

Mr Sunak and Mr Javid both resigned as Cabinet ministers within minutes of each other tonight.

The outgoing Chancellor told the PM that ‘we cannot continue like this’, adding: ‘The public rightly expect Government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously.’

Meanwhile, Mr Javid publicly questioned Mr Johnson’s integrity, competence and ability to act in the national interest.

Why did they quit?

The duo left Government amid a fresh Tory sleaze scandal battering Mr Johnson’s administration.

Chris Pincher resigned as Tory deputy chief whip last week amid claims he drunkenly groped two men.

And – just hours before Mr Sunak and Mr Javid’s departure – Number 10 admitted the PM had been informed of a past complaint about the ‘inappropriate’ behaviour of Mr Pincher before he appointed him to the whips’ office in February.

The admission was the latest in a series of changing positions from Downing Street over what Mr Johnson had known of Mr Pincher’s past conduct.

In his resignation letter, Mr Sunak also spoke of ‘fundamental’ differences between himself and the PM on economic policy.

Boris Johnson’s chances of staying in Number 10 have been dealt a huge blow – but is it fatal?

Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid both resigned as Cabinet ministers within minutes of each other to leave the PM teetering on the brink

Will the PM now also have to quit?

Not necessarily.

In fact, the PM’s chances of avoiding his own resignation were boosted by the fact that no other Cabinet ministers immediately followed Mr Sunak and Mr Javid out the door.

Many declared their support for Mr Johnson although some – such as Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi – were notably quiet.

With the PM having already seen off huge pressure to quit over the Partygate scandal, it seems unlikely that he will fall on his sword at this moment.

He has even shrugged off the resignation of a Chancellor before when Mr Javid quit the top Treasury role in February 2020.

Ex-PM David Cameron famously referred to Mr Johnson as a ‘greased piglet’ due to his ability to survive various scrapes.

So many would back him to escape once again. 

What will Boris have to do to stay in power?

Most pressingly, the PM will have to find a new Chancellor and a new Health Secretary.

Due to the importance of the position to governing the country, Mr Johnson can’t go too long without having someone in charge of the Treasury.

But possible candidates will have to weigh up whether they want to take the role at such a precarious moment in Mr Johnson’s premiership.

The PM seems to already be struggling to appoint a new Conservative Party chair after Oliver Dowden’s resignation from the position 11 days ago.

If the PM does successfully replace Mr Sunak and Mr Javid, he will then have to set about shoring up support among the rest of his ministerial ranks and Tory MPs.

One dramatic course of action could be Mr Johnson calling a vote of confidence in his leadership himself – thereby daring Conservative MPs to vote him out of office.

Or, if he wants to prevent Tory MPs plotting in Westminster, the PM could try and bring Parliament’s summer recess forward and send them off to their constituencies earlier than planned.

Could the PM call a general election?

Another possibility, albeit slim, could be Mr Johnson calling a snap general election in a bid to seek a fresh mandate from the country.

If that were to happen, the calculation in No10 would be that – although increasing numbers of Tory MPs want him gone – voters themselves might still back him to remain in office.

How else will Tory rebels try to force the PM out?

There is already a plot among Tory rebel MPs to change the rules of the Conservative Party in order to force a new vote of no confidence in Mr Johnson.

This is despite the PM having won a contest on his leadership last month that granted him 12 months’ immunity from another challenge under current rules.

The rebel plot will see them try to secure key posts on the 1922 Committee, the powerful Tory body in charge of leadership contests, in a battle with PM loyalists.

If they win a majority on the Committee’s 18-strong executive, they will be able to force through the rule change they want.

But, with elections to the 1922 executive not due to be held until next week and MPs going their summer break later this month, Mr Johnson could yet be safe from another contest until September.

What about Labour?

Sir Keir Starmer could attempt to force the PM out of Downing Street by tabling a no confidence motion over Mr Johnson’s Government in the House of Commons.

If he were to do so, the Labour leader would be calculating that Tory MPs are so fed up with Mr Johnson that they would side with the Opposition and vote to bring down their own Government.

There is a recent precedent for Sir Keir to follow, although Mr Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, survived a confidence vote in January 2019 after it had been called for by then Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

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