A defiant Boris Johnson has rejected calls from Cabinet colleagues to quit after support for his leadership collapsed at Westminster.
The Prime Minister met ministers in No 10 on tonight, where he was told he had lost the confidence of the Tory party and could not continue in office.
In response, the PM sacked Michael Gove.
BBC’s Chris Mason then tweeted: “‘You cannot have a snake who is not with you on any of the big arguments who then gleefully briefs the press that he has called for the leader to go. You cannot operate like that,’ a No10 source tells me.”
The former Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary, who famously stabbed Mr Johnson in the back during his 2016 leadership bid, had earlier urged him to quit Downing Street as the Tory coup ramped up.
Mr Gove was thought to have told the Prime Minister on Wednesday morning that it was time for him to quit.
That was followed by a delegation of Cabinet ministers going to No 10 to tell Mr Johnson he should stand down after losing the trust of his MPs.
The BBC reported that Communities Secretary Mr Gove had been sacked, with a No 10 source telling the broadcaster: “You cannot have a snake who is not with you on any of the big arguments who then gleefully briefs the press that he has called for the leader to go.
“You cannot operate like that.”
This was HOURS ago!
A source close to the Prime Minister said he told his colleagues there would be “chaos” if he quit and the party would almost certainly lose the next election.
The source said Mr Johnson was “continuing to focus on delivering for the public” and addressing the “hugely important issues facing the country”.
Neither Mr Shapps nor Mr Zahawi are expected to resign, despite the Prime Minister’s refusal to go.