There are five stages of grief. Psychologists believe Boris Johnson went through them all in one week

The Prime Minster is comforted by his wife, Carrie, and son, Wilfred, after giving his resignation speech - Andrew Parsons / No10 Downing Street
The Prime Minster is comforted by his wife, Carrie, and son, Wilfred, after giving his resignation speech - Andrew Parsons / No10 Downing Street

There are usually considered to be five stages of grief. Psychologists believe Boris Johnson may have experienced all of them in just one week.

As he was shorn of power in a dramatic 48 hours that saw his own party turn against him, the Prime Minister would have undergone a “process of loss”, according to experts.

The PM quit on Thursday following a mass exodus from his Government, but only after clinging on to power long after his fate had been sealed.

Mr Johnson initially refused to accept that he would have to step down, even when many around him knew the writing was on the wall.

Dr Catherine Huckle, a clinical psychologist at the University of Surrey, said he likely went through the five stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

“Letting go of the role of Prime Minister essentially involves losing the activity that supports the sense of identity and so a process of loss could be anticipated,” she told The Telegraph.

“The turbulence in government…could have seen Boris move between the stages of grief until finally settling at acceptance on the morning of his resignation.”

The denial...

The Prime Minister displayed signs of experiencing at least four stages of grief as he fought against the huge rebellion to oust him from No 10.

As events spiralled out of control even those closest to Mr Johnson must have questioned whether he was in denial about the severity of the situation.

On Wednesday, just hours after Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid had handed in their resignations, he insisted at PMQs that he would go on to win the next general election.

Hours later he told MPs that “the government of the country is being carried on with ever increasing energy” as an avalanche of ministers quit all around him.

The bargaining...and the anger

As the crisis set in, the PM apparently entered the bargaining stage, appointing new Cabinet members despite it being apparent to all the game was up.

He also rushed through plans to move forward with tax cuts in a bid to woo Tory MPs, despite having spent months resisting their calls.

As the chaos deepened there were flashes of anger from Downing Street, with allies of Mr Johnson raging that he was “being brought down by pygmies”.

He then sacked Michael Gove on Wednesday evening in a move seen as revenge for the Levelling Up Secretary wrecking his 2016 leadership bid.

Mr Johnson came closest to getting emotional when, on Thursday morning shortly before he quit, he joked to allies about needing to “plough on before I take out my onion”.

Finally, the acceptance...

The grief in No 10 largely manifested itself around Mr Johnson, with one distraught staffer heard crying in the toilets moments before heading out to watch his resignation speech.

The grief in No 10 largely manifested itself around the PM's loyal staff - Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street
The grief in No 10 largely manifested itself around the PM's loyal staff - Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street

Acceptance is said to have struck the PM early on Thursday morning when, after a night’s sleep, his defiance melted away into acknowledgement he couldn’t carry on.

Those close to him in No 10 say the PM was very matter of fact and took a “sanguine” view when he came to the conclusion he would have to quit.