Boris gears up for Brexit battle as foreign office minister Alan Duncan QUITS

Boris Johnson is today gearing up for battle over Brexit today as a foreign office minister quit saying he will not serve under the new PM.

Sir Alan Duncan - a long-time foe of Mr Johnson - announced he had resigned just a day before the new Tory leader is due to be installed.

Mr Johnson is almost certain to defeat Jeremy Hunt for the top post, and will take over from Theresa May in Downing Street on Wednesday after her final PMQs.

Allies of the Tory front runner have played down speculation he will sack Mr Hunt as Foreign Secretary if he wins by a big margin, telling MailOnline they will 'kiss and make up' after bitter clashes during the contest. 

Polls show Mr Johnson is likely to win a comprehensive victory when the result of the Tory leadership race is announced tomorrow.

But in a sign of difficulties he faces once in No10, senior ministers opposing No Deal including Philip Hammond and David Gauke announced they would quit the Government before he becomes Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson will have a wafer-thin Commons majority of just four when he becomes PM, which could fall to two if the Tories lose a by-election next month. His Brexit plan faced a double blow last night before he even enters No 10

Sir Alan Duncan (pictured) - a long-time foe of Mr Johnson - announced he had resigned just a day before the new Tory leader is due to be installed

Sir Alan Duncan (pictured) - a long-time foe of Mr Johnson - announced he had resigned just a day before the new Tory leader is due to be installed

They are among half a dozen ministers expected to resign on Wednesday, when Theresa May leaves office, rather than being sacked.

Sir Alan decided to take matters into his own hands today, delivering his resignation letter from the Foreign Office. 

In addition, six more MPs are rumoured to be planning to defect to the Liberal Democrats if he becomes the party's new leader.

And Mr Johnson is not just facing trouble from within his own party. Yesterday the Irish government took a hardline stance against his demand for a better Brexit deal.

Ireland's deputy prime minister Simon Coveney insisted the EU would not renegotiate the withdrawal agreement and rejected outright the idea of a time limit on the Northern Ireland backstop. 

But in a sign of difficulties he faces once in Downing Street, senior ministers opposing No Deal including Philip Hammond and David Gauke (above) announced they would quit the Government if he becomes Prime Minister

But in a sign of difficulties he faces once in Downing Street, senior ministers opposing No Deal including Philip Hammond and David Gauke (above) announced they would quit the Government if he becomes Prime Minister

Last night Mr Johnson was finalising the list of senior Downing Street staff to join him in No 10 and work in his Cabinet.

Expectations of his victory were raised by a ConservativeHome poll showing up to 73 per cent of Tory members back him for leader, in what would be a landslide over Jeremy Hunt.

The result will be announced shortly after 11am tomorrow. Mrs May will conduct her final Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday before she goes to Buckingham Palace to resign. Mr Johnson is then expected to make his first speech as PM outside No 10 at around 5pm and begin making Cabinet appointments later in the evening.

He has promised to leave the EU 'do or die' on October 31, and last week toughened his Brexit stance by insisting he would not accept minor changes to the Irish backstop.

But up to half a dozen ministers in the so-called 'Gaukeward Squad' – named after Justice Secretary Mr Gauke – strongly opposed to No Deal are expected to walk out on the day and begin organising against him from the backbenches. 

Chancellor Phillip Hammond is also among half a dozen ministers expected to resign on Wednesday, when Theresa May leaves office, rather than being sacked

Margot James, who resigned as a culture minister last week to support efforts to stop Parliament being suspended, is thought to be among the group who have discussed defecting to the Liberal Democrats

Margot James, who resigned as a culture minister last

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