Boris Johnson has agreed to resign as prime minister following calls to step down from cabinet ministers late on Wednesday night, but will stay in the post while a leadership contest takes place.

Boris Johnson

Source: Shutterstock / Ilyas Tayfun Salci

Calls for Johnson’s resignation have been growing in the past 48 hours after 59 Conservative MPs handed in their resignations following revelations that the PM knew about sexual assault allegations from former housing minister Christopher Pincher when he was promoted to deputy chief whip of the party.

Cabinet ministers including former housing secretary Michael Gove called for the PM to step down. Gove was subsequently sacked by Johnson yesterday evening.

Newly appointed chancellor Nadim Zahawi told the PM in a letter to “go now” amid more MPs resigning in protest.

A leadership race will take place this summer, with a new prime minister in place by October, the BBC has reported.

The property industry has called for “honest leadership in all forms” in response to the changing political landscape.

David Partridge, chairman of Related Argent, told Property Week: “What we in real estate, and everybody, are crying out for is someone to get a grip, put all this behind us and start rebalancing the economy and facing up to inflation.”

Boxpark founder and director Roger Wade added: “He [Boris Johnson] doesn’t care one bit about the property industry. What we need is honest leadership in all forms, not just in government, but also in the property industry.”

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: “The political climate of the last few weeks has damaged the UK’s international reputation and attractiveness to the global investment which will be essential to the revitalisation of our towns and cities. At home millions of people are facing huge pressures on their family budgets and the economy is stalled and teetering on the brink of recession.

”The next few weeks must bring a clear vision and decisive political leadership to tackle these challenges and to create the partnership between public and private sectors that can drive forward the critical agendas of delivering more homes and the decarbonisation of the built environment.”

James Blakey, planning director at Moda Living, said: “The property industry, in particular the housing market, desperately needs stable, focused leadership from central government so that we can work together to address the dramatic shortage of homes across the UK.

“There is an opportunity for the rental living sector to meet a significant portion of the demand and to deliver quality, sustainable homes for tens of thousands of people. But to realise this, it is vital that we have stability and a genuine desire to make meaningful change from government.”

Trevor Morriss, principal at SPPARC Studio, added: “This latest disaster for the UK Government is another setback for the housing sector. Without a consistent position held and plan in place, town centre regeneration and housing delivery will be side-lined to the detriment of people across the entire UK with perhaps the midlands and the north most impacted.”

Russell Pedley, co-founder and director at Assael Architecture said:“The departure of Michael Gove is Levelling Up’s false-start. Across the UK, in areas in desperate need of regeneration to promote social equality, housing growth and reanimate decaying town centres, the inconsistency of leadership raises questions about the support they can expect at a national level.

“New legislation, including the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, is likely to be on hold. We can only estimate for how long. Private sector partnerships, to build more homes in the right places and level the playing field for areas in decline, will be more important now than ever.”