Britain's finance minister Sajid Javid has quit his post amid reports of a row with Prime Minister Boris Johnson over his closest aides.

Mr Johnson had been expected to keep Mr Javid on as Chancellor of the Exchequer in a reshuffle of his cabinet.

Sources say the Prime Minister had ordered Mr Javid to fire all of his senior aides if he wanted to remain at the Treasury - something Mr Javid refused to do.

The news came after long-standing rumours of tensions between the ex-chancellor and Mr Johnson's closest aide Dominic Cummings.

In August he had fired Mr Javid's aide Sonia Khan.

Mr Javid said that "no self-respecting minister" could accept the condition being imposed.

"He has turned down the job of Chancellor of the Exchequer," a source close to Mr Javid said.

"The Prime Minister said he had to fire all his special advisers and replace them with Number 10 special advisers to make it one team.

"The Chancellor said no self-respecting minister would accept those terms."

Mr Javid had walked smiling into Number 10 in a sign that he expected to remain in place ahead of the March 11 Budget.

He has been replaced by Rishi Sunak who previously served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury - the second in command to the chancellor. 

His departure came after Julian Smith was sacked as Northern Ireland Secretary, Andrea Leadsom was sacked as Business Secretary and Theresa Villiers lost her job as Environment Secretary.

Other senior ministers to be sacked included Geoffrey Cox from his post as Attorney General and Esther McVey as housing minister

Ms Leadsom said on twitter: "It has been a real privilege to serve in Government for the last six years, and in @beisgovuk for six months. I now look forward to focusing on my constituents and on my 20+ year campaign to see every baby get the best start in life.

"I'm particularly proud of my work in BEIS on net zero and the #CountDowntoCOP and on making the U.K. the best place in the world to work and to grow a business. Huge thanks to my brilliant team in @BEISGovUK.

"I will continue from the back benches to work to ensure everyone is treated with dignity and respect".

Ms McVey said she was "very sorry" to have been sacked as housing minister.

She tweeted: "I'm very sorry to be relieved of my duties as Housing Minister I wish my successor the very best & every success I'm very grateful to the Prime Minister for having given me the opportunity to serve in his government & he will continue to have my support from the back benches."

Ms Villiers said: "What the Prime Minister giveth, the Prime Minister taketh away: just over six months ago, I was delighted to be invited by the Prime Minister to return to government after three years on the backbenches. This morning he told me that I need to make way for someone new."

In a facebook post she added: "I am deeply grateful for having been given the opportunity to serve twice at the highest level of government, first as Northern Ireland Secretary and then as Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. I tackled both roles with passion, commitment, and huge amounts of hard work."

She added: "I wish the Prime Minister and his new Cabinet well in the tasks ahead of them. I am sad to no longer be part of that team, but they will have my full support as they take forward Boris' bold agenda to unite and level up every part of this great country." 

Universities minister Chris Skidmore left the government, saying he would have "more time to spend" with his family.

Mr Cox said he was leaving government at the Prime Minister's request.

He tweeted: "I have been truly privileged to have served as Attorney General during the recent turbulent political times. I am now leaving the government at the PM's request. I shall continue to represent and stand up strongly for the interests of Torridge and West Devon." 

George Freeman has lost his job as transport minister along with his junior minister Nusrat Ghani.