The reception could not have been more different. The deed done, after consigning himself to the Prime Ministerial scrapheap with the jeers of protesters echoing in his ears, Boris returned to the sanctuary of Downing Street, and the welcoming arms of his family.
In the reception lobby of No10, son Wilf was waiting for his father on the famous chessboard tiles, arms outstretched. The bigger of the two tousle-haired blonds scooped the smaller one up.
In a scene repeated across the country a million times when daddy arrives home from work – the youngster prodded the older man’s face. It’s a father-and-son moment the Johnsons will have more time for in coming months.
Wife Carrie and nine-month-old daughter Romy, cradled on her mother’s chest, had been on the street moments earlier as Boris bade a reluctant farewell to the greatest job in the world.
Now back inside, the family foursome could be properly reunited in an embrace that said: ‘That’s all over. Forget the past 48 hours – we are still here for you.’
Mr Johnson had spent the morning largely alone, poring over his resignation speech having made a 6am decision that the weight of resistance was now unbearable.
It was now lunchtime and the staff of Downing Street returned inside to greet their leader behind the world famous black door. But as their applause – and tears – echoed in the hallway, the PM only had eyes for Wilf.
The historic scene was captured for the nation by Mr Johnson’s official photographer, Andrew Parsons, who had recorded so many of the key moments of the Premiership and was now there for the beginning of its end.
The official caption described Mr Johnson’s family ‘comforting’ him following the statement.
After giving the address, he returned to his study to plot his latest – and final – Cabinet.
Boris Johnson holds son Wilf, two, who already appears the spitting image of his father. The PM resigned at lunchtime yesterday
Mr Johnson embraced wife Carrie and baby daughter Romy, who was held in a carrier as she attended his resignation speech
Special relationship: Wilf was born just days after his father survived a life-threatening bout of Covid at St Thomas’s Hospital
After making his speech, Mr Johnson was applauded by aides and ministerial colleagues including Johnny Mercer (centre left), who was now been re-appointed to the Cabinet as Minister for Veterans’ Affairs. The PM smirks at Wilf (below) as wife Carrie (right, in red) beams. Downing Street aide Ross Kempsell (furthest left) also applauds Mr Johnson
By yesterday afternoon, Jacob Rees-Mogg (centre) and Nadine Dorries (right of Mr Johnson) were among the only Cabinet ministers still in support of the PM’s continued tenure. Johnson is pictured conferring with colleagues after making his speech yesterday
Boris Johnson was pictured yesterday afternoon in conversation with President Zelensky, perhaps his last as prime minister
Downing Street photographer Andrew Parsons captured the moment Johnson strode out of Downing Street to give the speech
In another pensive image, Johnson goes through his statement in the minutes before stepping out in front of Number Ten
Admirers: standing in front of the podium and watched by close aides and Carrie with baby Romy (pictured, centre right), Mr Johnson pointed to his achievements since winning the 2019 general election. Staff reportedly cried before and afterwards
Mrs Johnson kisses nine-month-old Romy who was with her to hear the resignation speech yesterday. Ms Dorries is also present
Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nadine Dorries and Alister Jack, his most loyal trio of Cabinet lieutenants, feature prominently.
From a rocky start to political power couple: A timeline of Boris and Carrie Johnson’s relationship
2009: Carrie Symonds, then 21, joins the Conservative Party as press officer. Her association with Mr Johnson dates back to the early years, having worked on his successful re-election bid at City Hall in 2012.
February 2018: Boris, then still married to wife Maria Wheeler, is spotted with Carrie outside the Conservative party Black and White Ball at the Natural History Museum. It is thought to be the first time the pair were photographed together.
September 2018: News breaks that Boris has been kicked out of the marital home by his wife of 25 years amid reports he was seeing another woman.
First photo: Boris, then still married to Maria Wheeler, is spotted with Carrie outside a Conservative party fundraiser
June 2019: By now Boris and Carrie are living together in her flat in Camberwell, South East London. Reports emerge that police were called to the property after neighbours heard a loud altercation involving screaming, shouting and banging. Symonds could allegedly be heard telling Johnson to ‘get off me’ and ‘get out of my flat’.
Police initially said they had no record of a domestic incident at the address, but later issued a statement saying: ‘At 00:24hrs on Friday, 21 June, police responded to a call from a local resident in [south London]. The caller was concerned for the welfare of a female neighbour.
‘Police attended and spoke to all occupants of the address, who were all safe and well. There were no offences or concerns apparent to the officers and there was no cause for police action.’
Neither Boris nor Carrie have spoken publicly about the incident.
Front and centre: Boris Johnson is elected as the leader of the Conservative party. Carrie is pictured alongside his family as he arrives at Downing Street
June 2019: A few days later the couple were pictured holding hands in the countryside.
July 2019: The couple buy a £1.3million house in Camberwell after Boris sells the £3.7million mansion he shared with wife Marina.
23 July 2019: Boris Johnson is elected as the leader of the Conservative party and Prime Minister. Carrie is pictured alongside his family as he arrives at Downing Street.
29 July 2019: Spokesperson confirms Carrie Symonds will move into Downing Street. They are the first unmarried couple to officially live at the address.
September 2019: Couple adopt a rescue dog, Dilyn.
December 2019: Boris Johnson wins the general election and the couple flies to St Lucia and Mustique to celebrate
February 2020: Boris Johnson’s divorce from Marina Wheeler is approved to proceed
29 February 2020: Boris and Carrie announce they are engaged and expecting a baby. A spokesperson for the couple said: ‘The prime minister and Miss Symonds are very pleased to announce their engagement and that they are expecting a baby in the early summer.’
27 March 2020: Boris Johnson tests positive for Covid-19 and is subsequently hospitalised.
29 April 2020: Couple welcome their son Wilfred. Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson in full – was named after Mr and Mrs Johnson’s grandfathers and partly in tribute to two doctors, Nick Hart and Nick Price, who helped save Mr Johnson’s life when he was in hospital with Covid in 2020.
Family life: Couple welcome their son Wilfred. Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson in full – was named after Mr and Mrs Johnson’s grandfathers and partly in tribute to two doctors, Nick Hart and Nick Price, who helped save Mr Johnson’s life
26 May 2020: Boris and Carrie Johnson wed at Westminster Cathedral with a small garden party the following day. News was made public a few days later.
31 July 2020: Couple announce they are expecting a second child and reveal they suffered a miscarriage earlier in the year.
June 2021: Carrie joins Boris at the G7 summit and introduces son Wilfred to President Biden and his wife Jill
9 December 2021: Carrie and Boris announce birth of a baby girl
16 December 2021: The couple announced they have named their daughter Romy Iris Charlotte Johnson.
Baby girl: Carrie and Boris announce birth of a baby girl. The couple later revealed they had named their daughter Romy Iris Charlotte Johnson (pictured with brother Wilf)
Mrs Johnson explained the choice of name: ‘Romy after my aunt, Rosemary. Iris from the Greek, meaning rainbow. Charlotte [after] Boris’s late mum whom we miss so much.’
June 2022: Carrie joins Boris at a series of high profile events including the Platinum Jubilee, a Commonwealth visit to Rwanda and the G7 summit. Daughter Romy joins her parents on the latter two.
7 July 2022: Boris Johnson announces he will resign following a slew of ministerial resignations.
Also present were Tory MPs Johnny Mercer, Sarah Dines, James Duddridge, and Downing Street staffers Andrew Griffith, Ross Kempsell and Charlotte Owen.
Front-row guests outside Downing Street yesterday included culture secretary Nadine Dorries and supportive backbencher Andrea Jenkyns.
After trying to weather the storm brought by Conservative MPs and numerous Cabinet ministers since Tuesday evening, Mr Johnson finally decided at 6am yesterday that he would step down.
A Downing Street official phoned BBC political editor Chris Mason while he was appearing on a bumper special episode of the Today programme, which ran from 6.30 till 9.45am.
Mr Johnson then wrote his resignation speech alone before delivering it at lunchtime.
Unusually somber in tone, Johnson nevertheless sniped Cabinet rivals and backbench rebels, claiming it was ‘herd instincts’ in Westminster that did him in.
Mr Johnson said: ‘In the last few days I have tried to persuade my colleagues it would be eccentric to change governments when we are delivering so much.
‘And when we have such a vast mandate, and when we’re actually only a handful of points behind in the polls, even in mid-term after quite a few months of pretty relentless sledging.
‘Of course it’s painful not to be able to see through so many ideas and projects myself.
‘But, as we’ve seen at Westminster, the herd instinct is powerful and when the herd moves, it moves.
‘In politics, no one is remotely indispensable. Our brilliant and Darwinian system will produce another leader equally committed to taking this country forward through tough times.’
After delivering the speech, Johnson returned to his office, where he set about re-appointing the Cabinet after a slew of resignations over the past 48 hours.
Consensus-driven Commons committee chair Greg Clark was named the new Levelling Up Secretary, replacing sacked Michael Gove.
James Cleverly became Education Secretary after Nadim Zahawi was made Chancellor and his replacement, Michelle Donelan, stepped down after mere hours in the job.
Robert Buckland returned to the Cabinet as Welsh Secretary and Shailesh Vara took over as Northern Ireland Secretary.
Kit Malthouse was named the new Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, a title also held by Mr Gove.
The PM’s resignation announcement effectively fires the starting gun on what looks set to be a chaotic leadership battle.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss – expected to be a candidate – will cut short a visit to Indonesia to return to the UK.
It was revealed tonight that the ensuing Conservative leadership election will conclude by early September.
Proposals presented to the backbench 1922 Committee are set to be approved on Monday, the FT reported.
A spate of resignations sparked by Sajid Javid’s decision to step down on Tuesday evening virtually decapitated Johnson’s government – and threatened to deprive numerous Whitehall departments of any ministers at all.
George Freeman, who announced he was resigning as science minister this morning, said Mr Johnson must apologise to the Queen.
He also advised her to call for a caretaker prime minister, which would be an unprecedented step in modern constitutional history.
‘Boris Johnson needs to hand in the seals of office, apologise to Her Majesty and advise her to call for a caretaker prime minister,’ he said.
‘To take over today so that ministers can get back to work and we can choose a new Conservative leader to try and repair the damage and rebuild trust.’
One ex-minister told MailOnline: ‘We need to be rid of the Johnson poison as quickly as possible.’
Ex-No10 strategy chief Dominic Cummings wrote on Twitter: ‘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.’
Another former minister, Nick Gibb, 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.’
The most serious blow perhaps came from Mr Zahawi, who just hours after reportedly threatening to resign if he wasn’t handed the keys to No 11, publicly called on the PM to quit.
He tweeted a resignation letter, signed on Treasury headed paper, and wrote: ‘Prime Minister: this is not sustainable and it will only get worse: for you, for the Conservative Party and most important of all the country.
‘You must do the right thing and go now.’
A council of Cabinet ministers reportedly visited Johnson and urged him to go yesterday afternoon.
They included Home Secretary Priti Patel, Welsh Secretary Simon Hart, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, the BBC reported.
After Johnson refused, Mr Hart quit.
It appears the only Cabinet ministers who truly wished for Mr Johnson to stay were Ms Dorries and Brexit opportunities secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: ‘It is good news for the country that Boris Johnson has resigned as Prime Minister.
‘But it should have happened long ago. He was always unfit for office. He has been responsible for lies, scandal and fraud on an industrial scale.
‘And all those who have been complicit should be utterly ashamed.
‘The Tory party have inflicted chaos upon the country during the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades. And they cannot now pretend they are the ones to sort it out.
‘They have been in power for 12 years. The damage they have done is profound.’
In a sensational twist late last night, Mr Johnson summarily sacked Michael Gove with No10 sources branding the Levelling Up Secretary a ‘snake’ who had tried to tell the premier that the ‘the game was up’.
Constitutional experts have branded the ‘nuclear option’ of asking the Queen for a dissolution ‘deluded madness’ which would spark a crisis as the monarch would be obliged to turned down his request.
In his resignation letter, Mr Lewis – a former party chairman who has been Northern Ireland Secretary since early 2020 – warned divided Conservatives cannot win elections.
He said: ‘A decision to leave Government is never taken lightly, particularly at such a critical time for Northern Ireland. I have taken a lot of time to consider this decision, having outlined my position to you at length last night.
Mr Lewis told the Prime Minister that in recent months, the Conservative Party has been ‘relentlessly on the defensive, consumed by introspection and in-fighting’.
‘A divided Party cannot win elections. It cannot deliver for those who trusted us with their votes for the first time in 2019.’
Mr Lewis told Mr Johnson he had ‘given you, and those around you, the benefit of the doubt’.
Mrs Johnson, a former Conservative Party communications chief, re-wore a £325 red L.K. Bennett for the occasion and held her daughter Romy in a baby carrier
The couple tied the knot in a secret ceremony at Westminster Cathedral in front of just a handful of guests in May 2021 but according to sources have planned a second event at Chequers at the end of July
‘I have gone out and defended this Government both publicly and privately,’ the Northern Ireland Secretary told Boris Johnson in his resignation letter.
‘We are, however, now past the point of no return. I cannot sacrifice my personal integrity to defend things as they stand now.
‘It is clear that our Party, parliamentary colleagues, volunteers and the whole country, deserve better.’
Ms Whately, MP for Faversham and Mid Kent and another loyalist, said: ‘I have argued that you should continue as Prime Minister many times in recent months, but there are only so many times you can apologise and move on. That point has been reached.’
Johnson re-enters Downing Street after delivering the statement in which he announced his intention to resign as PM
The PM’s resignation announcement effectively fires the starting gun on what looks set to be a chaotic leadership battle
The PM is understood to have been ‘mainly alone’ as he wrote the resignation statement, which came at 12.30pm yesterday
Yesterday afternoon Mr Johnson thanked the public for letting him serve them as PM, describing it as ‘the best job in the world’