Cumbria's Rory Stewart is today taking up a seat on the backbenches after resigning from his cabinet role.

The Penrith and the Border MP had always said he would not serve under arch rival Boris Johnson, having clashed mainly on Brexit.

Following yesterday’s leadership announcement, Mr Stewart - who had himself stood as a leadership candidate - confirmed he was resigning as International Development Secretary.

Using social media, he congratulated his rival and reiterated his earlier stance.

He tweeted: “Congratulations Boris Johnson on becoming leader. Honour to serve in turn as Minister of Environment at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Middle East and Asia at the UK Department for International Development, Africa at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Prisons at Ministry of Justice UK and then Development Secretary in Cabinet. Backbench tomorrow serving Cumbria. Thank you all. More walking!”

The latter comment referred to Mr Stewart’s trademark “walks” - where he turns up at a location or event to meet the electorate, announcing the location on social media.

These events were a key part of his own leadership campaign - which saw him reach the final four candidates and participate in two high-profile TV debates.

During the contest, Mr Stewart clashed bitterly with Mr Johnson on several key issues, including Brexit and his spending promises.

Having been a vocal supporter of Theresa May’s Brexit deal, the Cumbrian MP is concerned Mr Johnson will lead the UK into a no-deal situation - prompting his promise to stand down.

His initial tweet led to national speculation about whether he would go ahead and quit the cabinet.

A second tweet yesterday once again confirmed this.

“I said I would not serve in Boris’ cabinet eight weeks ago but it keeps popping up. Not quite sure why this is still news,” said Mr Stewart.

He is not the only senior Conservative to resign over Mr Johnson’s appointment.

Foreign Minister Sir Alan Duncan and Education Minister Anne Milton have also returned to the back benches, while Chancellor Philip Hammond and Justice Minister David Gauke publicly said they would quit if he won.

Fellow Conservative MP John Stevenson, who represents Carlisle, said it was “disappointing” to see “talented and respected” members leaving the cabinet.

However he said he respected Mr Stewart for staying true to his word and hoped it wasn’t a permanent end to his ministerial career.

Mr Johnson will now appoint a new cabinet, with some key names expected to be confirmed today.

Mr Stevenson said he hoped these would be shared between different groups within the Conservative Party.