Boris Johnson, his top team and the Chancellor argued in a meeting lasting five hours last night.

In his first intervention on the crisis, Rishi Sunak hinted at Cabinet divisions over the Prime Minister’s disastrous attempt to block the suspension of former minister Owen Paterson for breaking lobbying rules.

During a round of media interviews yesterday, Mr Sunak said: ‘Reflecting over recent events – I think for us as a Government, it’s fair to say that we need to do better than we did last week, and we know that.’ 

In the meantime, the Cabinet meeting was apparently focusing solely on Levelling Up with ministers to discuss how their departments are supporting the initiative. 

Initial plans by the team were to hold an away-day at Chequers. But, they dropped these plans and instead met at Downing Street.

Therese Coffey, Work and Pensions Secretary arrived with an A3 map in order to convey her message.

But, it is thought that the political discussions also dealt with how to stem the tide of criticism about MPs having second jobs and conflicting interests.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid, Housing Secretary Michael Gove and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke were among those seen departing Downing Street after gathering for crunch talks late into the night.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak hinted at Cabinet divisions over the Prime Minister¿s disastrous attempt to block the suspension of former minister Owen Paterson for breaking lobbying rules

Chancellor Rishi Sunak hinted at Cabinet divisions over the Prime Minister’s disastrous attempt to block the suspension of former minister Owen Paterson for breaking lobbying rules

Boris Johnson (pictured on Armistice Day) and his senior team thrashed out their differences in a five-hour meeting last night after the Chancellor said the government 'needs to do better'

Boris Johnson (pictured during Armistice Day), and his senior colleagues fought out their differences last night in a five hour meeting after the Chancellor declared that the government “needs better”.

Allies of the Chancellor say he was dismayed by the decision last week to order Tory MPs to vote to tear up Parliament’s anti-sleaze laws in order to save Mr Paterson.

After imposition of a three-line whip, the Prime Minister won that vote. He was attending the Cop26 summit at Glasgow, so Mr Sunak wasn’t able to vote.

However, the plans were abandoned by the public in protest. Mr Paterson was forced to quit as MP.

This episode has led to a flurry of allegations of corruption against Conservatives. It also brought fresh attention to the interests of MPs.

This has led to a Tory slump, as Labour took the lead in many surveys for the first year.

Mr Sunak did not comment directly on the cases of either Mr Paterson or Sir Geoffrey Cox, the former attorney general who has racked up more than £5.5million in outside earnings.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove seen leaving Downing Street after a five-hour Cabinet meeting, which was ostensibly focusing on the Levelling Up agenda

Following a Cabinet meeting lasting five hours and which was supposed to be focusing solely on Levelling Up, Michael Gove (Host Housing Secretary) is seen departing Downing Street.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid smiles as he exits Downing Street after the mammoth five-hour talks

After the five-hour marathon talks, Sajid Javid, Health Secretary of India, smiles when he leaves Downing Street.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace seen leaving 10 Downing Street last night. Originally the team had planned an away-day at Chequers, but plans for this were dropped and they met at Downing Street instead

Yesterday, Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary was seen leaving 10 Downing Street. The team originally planned to go away at Chequers but these plans fell apart and they met at Downing Street.

He said: ‘People will have different motivations for doing what they do, the pay is set by an independent body, that’s absolutely right.

‘And with regard to second jobs, there’s an independent process that we have that’s set by Parliament that governs all of those things. And it’s absolutely right that that process is followed to the letter.’

Cabinet Office minister Steve Barclay expressed ‘regret’ this week for the ‘mistake’ made in attempting to force through a change in the rules on the back of Mr Paterson’s case.

As condemnation grew, the PM moved to remind MPs that they should ‘devote yourself primarily and above all to your constituents’. He did not propose any new steps to rebuild public trust. He refused to apologize for being adamant about Labour’s weaknesses.

An ally of Mr Sunak said he viewed last week’s events as ‘a mistake’ and believed ‘that point needs to be made by someone in the Cabinet’.

Environment Secretary George Eustice seen leaving Downing Street. The political discussion is believed to have also addressed to how to quell the rising tide of criticism about second jobs, conflicting interests and cronyism among MPs.

George Eustice is seen leaving Downing Street as Environment Secretary. It is thought that the political debate also dealt with how to stop rising criticisms about MPs’ second jobs, conflicts of interests, and cronyism.

Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg leaving Downing Street last night after five-hour talks

Jacob Rees Mogg was the Commons leader and he left Downing Street yesterday evening after five-hour negotiations

No 10 sources played down suggestions of Cabinet divisions, saying: ‘The PM has said that it is vital MPs focus on their constituents and obey the rules. He feels that anyone who breaks the rules should be penalized. We are all agreed on this.’

But another Cabinet source said the PM had ‘f***ed up’ and that the attempt to block the suspension of Mr Paterson looked ‘totally crooked’. Paul Scully (Business minister) expressed outrage at the yesterday’s scandal.

Questioned about the conduct of Sir Geoffrey, he told Sky News: ‘I’m not going to defend Geoffrey. I’m not going to say anything.’

The Backbench Tories expressed anger over the recent events, many of which are now facing backlash from their constituents.

One former minister told the Daily Mail: ‘The last week has been a hideous nightmare – it is dirtying us all. We knew that there would be chaos, but it was worth the price to beat Corbyn and achieve Brexit.

‘Those two tasks are completed now and his situation is more perilous than people think.’