Boris Johnson will march into 10 Downing Street as the UK’s new prime minister before appointing what he claims is a “cabinet for modern Britain”.
On what will be an emotional and historic day at Westminster, Theresa May will appear at her final Prime Minister’s Questions before heading to Buckingham Palace to resign.
As she leaves Downing Street, she will deliver her final words as PM, in what could be as dramatic a moment as her tearful announcement that she was quitting two months ago.
Then, after he visits the palace to meet the Queen, Mr Johnson will arrive at Number 10 – without his girlfriend Carrie Symonds, who accepts she would be a distraction – and give a typically upbeat speech.
He will then set about the task of appointing his cabinet, which senior Westminster sources have told Sky News will be “two-thirds Brexiteers and one-third Remainers”, the margin of his victory over Jeremy Hunt.
Sky News has learned that Mr Hunt’s future in the cabinet is in serious doubt after a stand-off in which he resisted demotion from foreign secretary and turned down the offer of defence secretary.
If Mr Hunt is moved from the Foreign Office, either the current Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt or Treasury Chief Secretary Liz Truss, both Brexiteers, could replace him.
During a leadership debate last week Mr Johnson pledged to appoint at least one woman to one of the so-called “great offices of state”: the Treasury, Foreign Office and Home Office.
Sky News has also learned that Gavin Williamson, a major Johnson backer, is unhappy. He wants to be education secretary, but has been offered housing, communities and local government.
Mr Johnson’s team has revealed that he is expected to appoint a record number of ethnic minority politicians to the cabinet and increase the number of women attending as full cabinet members from the present five.
Priti Patel, who quit as international development secretary over unauthorised talks with the Israeli government, and housing minister Alok Sharma are both expected to be promoted, Mr Johnson’s allies revealed.
The Times reports that Ms Patel, a hard line Brexiteer who consistently voted against Mrs May’s Brexit deal in the Commons earlier this year, is on course to be made home secretary.
Sajid Javid remains favourite to become chancellor. The current home secretary arrived with Mr Johnson when the new Conservative leader addressed his MPs at a meeting of the backbench 1922 Committee.
Mr Johnson’s allies have also revealed that the reshuffle will also propel “a host of Tory rising stars” – with promotions likely for Rishi Sunak, Oliver Dowden, Tracey Crouch and Robert Jenrick – “as he looks to recognise talent from across the party”.
A source close to the incoming prime minister said: “Boris will build a cabinet showcasing all the talents within the party that truly reflect modern Britain.”
One appointment has already been made. Mark Spencer, a burly farmer from Nottinghamshire who is MP for Sherwood, has been appointed chief whip, despite backing Remain in the EU referendum.
Mrs May’s long-suffering chief whip, Julian Smith, is not being dropped from the government. He is to become a minister of state who attends cabinet.
Sky News has learned from a senior Westminster source that Mr Johnson will “definitely” address MPs in the Commons on the last day before they head off for a five-week summer recess.
It is understood there was a clash between “parliamentarians” on his team, who wanted him to address the Commons, and his staff and advisers, who wanted his first big speech to be outside Westminster.
But the parliamentarians prevailed and negotiations with Speaker John Bercow are now under way about whether Mr Johnson should make a “speech as new PM” or a conventional Commons statement, on which he could be questioned by Jeremy Corbyn and other MPs.