MPs from Suffolk and Essex have had a crucial role in the unravelling of Boris Johnson's premiership this week - as previously loyal Tories lost faith in their leader.

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt had been critical of the PM during the "Partygate" revelations - but ultimately decided, on balance, to support him in last month's confidence vote.

In a long statement outlining his decision, Mr Hunt said: "Events of the past week have been the straw that has broken the camel's back. In a sense one of the worst things about the revelations at the Carlton Club last week was how unsurprising they were to many colleagues.

"I personally find it hard to believe that the Prime Minister wasn't aware of the extent of concerns about the former Deputy Chief whip.

"I strongly believe that the situation which occurred last week could have been avoided and I also think that the handling of it subsequently was deeply disappointing.

"I do not regret voting for Boris Johnson to become Prime Minister. And I do not regret giving him some space to try and turn things around and regain the trust of both the public and the Parliamentary Conservative Party.

"Sadly however, this opportunity has not been taken and I foresee things descending to new depths and I do not think that under the Prime Minister's leadership it will be possible to unite the Conservative Parliamentary Party and give us the best chance possible of winning the next General Election.

"On the key issues, I believe that the Conservative Party continue to be on the right side of the argument and the Labour Party the wrong side.

"The Government has many great achievements to its name and many extremely competent Ministers.

"However, under the Prime Minister's leadership it is becoming increasingly difficult for both the Government and us as Parliamentarians to focus on these key issues and achieve our full potential in delivering for the British people.

"There is no good in blaming sections of the media for the situation we find ourselves in. They've been given the ammunition time and time again.

"The great risk as I can see it is that the status quo rumbles on, more division is created in our Party and we end up with a Labour Government propped up by the Lib Dems and the SNP."

The pressure mounted on Mr Johnson after it emerged that Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey and Colchester MP Will Quince were sent out to do interviews defending the PM after being inaccurately briefed by the Number 10 Press Office.

Dr Coffey has remained as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions but Mr Quince resigned as a junior education minister.

%image(14470544, type="article-full", alt="Colchester Conservative MP Will Quince said while he felt the amendments were "well-intentioned" he did not feel he could support them Picture: WILL QUINCE MP")

In his letter to the Prime Minister he said: "Thank you for meeting with me yesterday evening and for your sincere apology regarding the briefings I received from No 10 ahead of Monday's media round, which we now know to be inaccurate.

"It is with a great sadness and regret that I feel that I have no choice but to tender my resignation as Minister for Children and Families as I accepted and repeated those assurances in good faith.

"Reaching this decision has not been easy. Stepping away from a job I love, where we are working every day to improve the life chances of vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people up and down our country, pains me greatly.

"I will miss it hugely but pledge to do all I can to continue this important work from the backbenches."

His resignation was followed by that of Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill who stood down as an environment minister.

%image(14470545, type="article-full", alt="Jo Churchill, MP for Bury St Edmunds, told a cancer conference of her experiences battling the disease")

She said: "Recent events have shown integrity, competence, and judgement are all essential to the role of Prime Minister, while a jocular self-serving approach is bound to have its limitations.

"Our beloved country is facing an uncertain future and strong headwinds. A clear, selfless vision is needed. The country and party deserve better and so with a heavy heart I have decided to resign."

Backbench MP Dr Dan Poulter from Central Suffolk and North Ipswich expressed his frustration at the situation.

%image(14470546, type="article-full", alt="MP Dan Poulter would like to stop pedestrian access to the Orwell Bridge")

He said: “High public office demands high standards of honesty and integrity. What has taken place over the last few days reflects poorly on the Prime Minister.

"I understand why a number of ministers feel that they can no longer, in good conscience, serve in the government and I support their principled decisions to resign.

“Unfortunately, it is many of the more competent amongst the current ministers who are resigning, which will make the job of effective Government harder in the future.

“Boris Johnson has led the country through difficult times, and he has got a number of the big calls on issues such as the pandemic, the vaccine rollout, and the Ukraine right, but integrity in high public office matters.

"So the time has come for him to take stock and consider his position and what is now the right way forward and in the best interests of the county.”