Wednesday 1 June 2022 02:13 AM Number of Tory MPs to publicly criticise Boris Johnson grows to FIFTY trends now

Wednesday 1 June 2022 02:13 AM Number of Tory MPs to publicly criticise Boris Johnson grows to FIFTY trends now
Wednesday 1 June 2022 02:13 AM Number of Tory MPs to publicly criticise Boris Johnson grows to FIFTY trends now

Wednesday 1 June 2022 02:13 AM Number of Tory MPs to publicly criticise Boris Johnson grows to FIFTY trends now

Nearly 50 Conservative party MPs have criticised Boris Johnson in public over the 'Partygate' scandal, while some have held talks over a possible replacement.

In response, the Cabinet last night rounded on the 'reckless' rebels trying to remove Mr Johnson from No 10. Allies of the Prime Minister warned the plotters they could destroy the Conservative Party's best chance of winning the next election.

As the mood at Westminster darkened, Mr Johnson's supporters hit back at the 'disgruntled ex-ministers' and nervous backbenchers agitating against him.

Former Cabinet minister Dame Andrea Leadsom yesterday joined the trickle of Tories who have broken cover to criticise the Prime Minister over the No10 parties.

She plunged the knife in as John Stevenson became the latest Tory MP to write a letter demanding the Prime Minister face a confidence vote.

It came as the PM's ethics tsar Lord Geidt said there was a 'legitimate question' about whether his Partygate fine represented a breach of the ministerial code after senior civil servant Sue Gray released a report into her findings.

Nearly 50 Conservative party MPs have criticised Boris Johnson in public over the 'Partygate' scandal, while some have held talks over a possible replacement

Nearly 50 Conservative party MPs have criticised Boris Johnson in public over the 'Partygate' scandal, while some have held talks over a possible replacement

Since the end of last week a steady stream of MPs - having had a chance to study Ms Gray's report in detail and consult with their constituents - have come forward calling on Mr Johnson to quit.

According to The Times, 30 Tory MPs have now called for a confidence vote, while a further 16 have spoken publicly against their embattled party leader.

Under party rules, the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee is required to call a vote of confidence in Mr Johnson's leadership if 54 Tory MPs - 15% of the parliamentary party - submit a letter calling for one. 

There is a growing belief at Westminster that it is only a matter of time before the 54 letters from Conservative MPs needed to trigger a confidence vote are reached.

Former Tory leader William Hague said the Prime Minister was in 'real trouble' while another ex-leader, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, appealed to colleagues to halt their plotting until celebrations for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee are over.

The celebrations which will take centre stage from Thursday and over the weekend.

The Times also reported that rebel MPs have discussed trade minister Penny Mordaunt as a possible successor. Others are said to back former health secretary Jeremy Hunt and Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the foreign affairs select committee.

From the current cabinet, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace are also seen as being in the running should Mr Johnson be ousted.

Former Cabinet minister Dame Andrea Leadsom yesterday joined the trickle of Tories who have broken cover to criticise the Prime Minister over the No10 parties

Former Cabinet minister Dame Andrea Leadsom yesterday joined the trickle of Tories who have broken cover to criticise the Prime Minister over the No10 parties

Boris Johnson toasts in 10 Downing Street during gathering on the departure of a special adviser, in London, Britain November 13, 2020 in this picture obtained from civil servant Sue Gray's report published on May 25, 2022

Boris Johnson toasts in 10 Downing Street during gathering on the departure of a special adviser, in London, Britain November 13, 2020 in this picture obtained from civil servant Sue Gray's report published on May 25, 2022

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson's backers accused the agitators of 'doing Labour's bidding'.

One Cabinet source said: 'The rebels don't have a plan apart from dripping out the names of people who don't like the PM or who have an axe to grind. It is disgruntled ex-ministers and a couple of frit 2019ers [frightened MPs from the 2019 intake]. None is a surprise.'

Downing Street insisted Mr Johnson still represented the best hope of victory for the Tories at the next general election. 'Who is the alternative?' a source asked.

It came as: 

Sir Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner received questionnaires from Durham Constabulary over Beergate; The PM began phoning Conservative MPs to shore up support; Former Tory leader William Hague said Mr Johnson was in 'real trouble'; Sir Iain Duncan Smith, another ex-leader, appealed to colleagues to halt their plotting until celebrations for the Platinum Jubilee are over.

No10 last night rejected a suggestion that Mr Johnson could call a vote of confidence himself to end speculation over his leadership. A source said: 'No. We have got to focus on delivering for the public and getting on with things that really make a difference to people's lives rather than talking about ourselves.'

No 10 also warned the rebels not to pull the rug from under the PM as

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