PRITI Patel – one of Boris Johnson’s most fierce loyalists – has told the Prime Minister it is time for him to step down.

The Home Secretary relayed the feelings of the majority of the Conservative Party’s MPs to Johnson – namely that the confidence in him has evaporated.

By 7:30pm on Wednesday evening, Boris Johnson had lost 38 members of his government in just more than 24 hours.

The slew of resignation letters – which was accompanied by a separate reported mountain of no confidence letters sent to the backbench 1922 Committee – represented a record number in British political history.

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Michael Gove, Simon Hart – the Welsh Secretary, and the chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris are among key Johnson allies who are believed to have told the Prime Minister to step down but have not proffered resignations of their own.

Patel is now confirmed to have become a member of the rebel group, despite her close relationship with Johnson.

The Prime Minister lost his first ethics advisor, Alex Allan, after he sided with Patel despite his conclusions that her behaviour had amounted to bullying of staff.

However, reports say that Johnson is refusing to step down, instead insisting he has a mandate from the 2019 General Election to lead the country.

If Johnson is staunch in his refusal to leave, the 1922 Committee is likely to seek a change in the rules which block a second vote of no confidence within twelve months of a first.

The rule change may come in as soon as next week, meaning Johnson could be forced out within days even if he refuses to resign.

When Johnson won a no-confidence vote in his leadership in June, it was by a margin of 211 to 148. Assuming the 38 government resignations supported him in that vote, the numbers will now have switched.

If another no-confidence vote were held right now, Johnson would be likely to lose by at least 186 votes to 173.