Wednesday 6 July 2022 01:54 AM PM on the brink as party rebels threaten war if he doesn't quit after wave of ... trends now

Wednesday 6 July 2022 01:54 AM PM on the brink as party rebels threaten war if he doesn't quit after wave of ... trends now
Wednesday 6 July 2022 01:54 AM PM on the brink as party rebels threaten war if he doesn't quit after wave of ... trends now

Wednesday 6 July 2022 01:54 AM PM on the brink as party rebels threaten war if he doesn't quit after wave of ... trends now

Boris Johnson faces backbench mutiny as he attempts to cling onto power after a nightmare double resignation by Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid yesterday.

Rebel Tory MPs last night warned the PM that they will change the party's rules so he can be ousted as leader if he tries to carry on as leader.

They told the Prime Minister he faces the threat of another confidence vote next week, which would trigger a leadership contest if he loses. Asked what will happen if Mr Johnson refuses to quit, a rebel ringleader last night replied: 'War.'

The PM is engaged in a desperate damage limitation battle in the wake of the bombshells from the now-former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who walked out within minutes of each other berating his lack of 'integrity' and competence.

It came after the release of a damaging letter by Lord McDonald of Salford which gave critics of Mr Johnson further ammunition over his appointment of alleged groper Chris Pincher to the whips office.

In his resignation letter, Mr Sunak warned that 'we cannot continue like this' and he was ready to sacrifice his political career.

'The public rightly expect Government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously,' he wrote.

Meanwhile, Mr Javid questioned Mr Johnson's integrity, competence and ability to act in the national interest. 

The exits - which aides of both men claim were not coordinated - came despite Mr Johnson frantically trying to head off the crisis with a grovelling apology over his appointment of shamed MP Chris Pincher as deputy chief whip.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, trade minister Penny Mordaunt, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, former health secretary Jeremy Hunt and ex-chancellor Rishi Sunak are the bookies' favourites if there is a leadership contest.

Despite this, Mr Johnson has shown little sign of acquiescing - as he appointed Nadhim Zahawi as Chancellor and Steve Barclay as Health Secretary ahead of another attempt to reset his premiership - Michelle Donelan was promoted to Education Secretary to replace Zahawi.

The PM was even quoted by an aide to say 'F*** that' to the idea of resigning, according to the Times. 

Sir Graham Brady, who is chairman of the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers, was under pressure last night to tell the PM the game is up. The committee, which sets rules for the parliamentary party, is expected to announce today that it will hold elections for executive positions next Wednesday.

Boris Johnson is teetering on the brink as Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid both dramatically quit his Cabinet within minutes of each other yesterday

Boris Johnson is teetering on the brink as Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid both dramatically quit his Cabinet within minutes of each other yesterday

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson appoints Nadhim Zahawi as the chancellor of the Exchequer in the Cabinet Room of No10 Downing Street after a chaotic night of resignations from the Government

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson appoints Nadhim Zahawi as the chancellor of the Exchequer in the Cabinet Room of No10 Downing Street after a chaotic night of resignations from the Government

Zahawi is pictured smiling at 10 Downing Street amid his appointment as Chancellor of the Exchequer

Zahawi is pictured smiling at 10 Downing Street amid his appointment as Chancellor of the Exchequer

Johnson (L) instructed his Chief of Staff Steve Barclay (R) to take over as Health Secretary after Sajid Javid departed

Johnson (L) instructed his Chief of Staff Steve Barclay (R) to take over as Health Secretary after Sajid Javid departed

Supporters and opponents of Mr Johnson will battle for the places so they can influence whether he faces another confidence vote, which could happen almost immediately. The PM last month survived a ballot by a margin of 211 to 148 (Pictured) and has a 12-month grace period before another challenge

Supporters and opponents of Mr Johnson will battle for the places so they can influence whether he faces another confidence vote, which could happen almost immediately. The PM last month survived a ballot by a margin of 211 to 148 (Pictured) and has a 12-month grace period before another challenge

Mr Sunak's resignation letter

Mr Javid's resignation letter

In his resignation letter (left), Mr Sunak told the PM that 'we cannot continue like this'. Meanwhile, Mr Javid (right) publicly questioned Mr Johnson's integrity, competence and ability to act in the national interest

YouGov polls suggest 69 per cent of Brits want Boris to resign but few have confidence that he will heed the calls

YouGov polls suggest 69 per cent of Brits want Boris to resign but few have confidence that he will heed the calls

The double resignation came moments after the airing of a pool clip in which Boris gave a grovelling apology for appointing Chris Pincher

The double resignation came moments after the airing of a pool clip in which Boris gave a grovelling apology for appointing Chris Pincher

REMOANER HESELTINE GLOATS THAT BORIS'S EXIT WILL BE THE END OF BREXIT 

Lord Heseltine gloated last night that if Boris Johnson goes, Brexit will too.

He claimed the departure from the EU had been a disaster, and the Tories must change course to stay in government.

Asked if the party would oust a proven vote-winner, he told the BBC: ‘It has an instinct for survival. They know that under Boris they will not win the next election.’ The Remainer, who served in Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet but lost the whip in 2019 after backing the Lib Dems in European Parliament elections, said: ‘The cancer at the heart of this dilemma is Brexit. If Boris goes, Brexit goes.

Lord Heseltine, whose Henley seat was taken by Mr Johnson in 2001, said he liked the PM, but added: ‘That is often the case with real rogues – they can be entertaining... providing you can live with the lack of integrity.’

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Supporters and opponents of Mr Johnson will battle for the places so they can influence whether he faces another confidence vote, which could happen almost immediately. The PM last month survived a ballot by a margin of 211 to 148 and has a 12-month grace period before another challenge.

But his critics are plotting to change the rules to enable another vote before the summer recess.

Tory rebels yesterday revealed they were submitting letters of no confidence to Sir Graham so there can be an immediate confidence vote – if the rules are changed.

If the 12-month grace period is removed, a leadership challenge will take place if 54 of the party's 358 MPs put in letters. Mr Johnson's critics would then need more than half of the party's MPs to back removing him in a subsequent confidence vote.

If the leader fails to get a majority, he or she resigns and cannot stand in the contest.

One disgruntled Tory MP told the Mirror: 'If he had any decency then he'd resign, but he won't.

'The Cabinet know it's over but they keep propping him up.'

According to a survey by the Conservative Home website, Ben Wallace is currently the most popular potential leadership contender among the Tory membership.

Asked who they wanted to lead the party, 15.8 per cent said the Defence Secretary, just ahead of Penny Mordaunt on 15.5 per cent and Liz Truss on 13.9 per cent.

Tom Tugendhat, who is chairman of the Commons foreign affairs committee, was backed by 7 per cent of members, with new Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi on 6.6 per cent and former leadership hopeful Jeremy Hunt on 6.4 per cent.

It comes after it emerged that seven in ten Brits believe Boris Johnson should resign his post, according to a new YouGov poll of thousands of UK adults, while a majority of people who voted Conservative in 2019 also want him gone.

Lord Frost joined the rebels

Lord Frost (left) said Mr Sunak and Mr Javid had done the 'right thing'

The Cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning was a glum harbinger of the chaos which unfolded yesterday afternoon

The Cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning was a glum harbinger of the chaos which unfolded yesterday afternoon

Brexit Opportunities Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg said that there was no 'constitutional' reason for Boris to resign

Brexit Opportunities Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg said that there was no 'constitutional' reason for Boris to resign

Culture Secretary and vocal Boris advocate Nadine Dorries said she was '100 per cent' behind Boris

Culture Secretary and vocal Boris advocate Nadine Dorries said she was '100 per cent' behind Boris

Andrew Mitchell, a former chief whip, compared Boris Johnson with Rasputin.

'It's a bit like the death of Rasputin. He's been poisoned, stabbed, he's been shot, his body's been dumped in the freezing river and still he lives,' the Conservative MP told BBC Newsnight.

He was adamant that it was 'over' for the Prime Minister.

'This is an abnormal Prime Minister - brilliantly charismatic, very funny, very amusing, big, big character, but I'm afraid he has neither the character nor the temperament to be our prime minister.'

Leadership contenders need two nominations from colleagues to put themselves forward.

A series of votes would be held among the party's MPs to determine which two candidates end up on the ballot paper.

In the last contest in 2019, 66 per cent of members chose Mr Johnson over Mr Hunt.

Sir Roger Gale, one of the Prime Minister's most vocal critics who had opposed altering the rules on confidence votes, last night said he had changed his mind.

The Conservative MP for North Thanet told Sky News: 'I have said for several days now that I believe that we should not change the rules in the middle of the game and that the 1922 committee rules should remain as they are.

'But I'm afraid... this... changes that picture completely.'

He added: 'If the Prime Minister still refuses to go without the confidence of the backbench of his party, without the confidence, clearly, of significant members of his Cabinet, if that is not enough to persuade him that the time has come for him to step aside, then the 1922 committee, the backbench, is going to have to do it for him.'

Andrew Bridgen, Tory MP for North West Leicestershire, called for a summer leadership contest.

'There isn't a better time to get rid of Boris Johnson and get a new prime minister,' he told BBC News. 'We have got summer recess in two weeks' time, that is when we should be having our leadership election.'

Mr Johnson's immediate survival chances were boosted by Dominic Raab, Liz Truss, Priti Patel, Ben Wallace and Therese Coffey all declaring they will not be resigning. 

Notably Michael Gove, who notoriously stabbed Mr Johnson in the back to end his leadership hopes in 2016, does not appear to be jumping ship.

Environment Secretary George Eustice has yet to break his silence. 

However, some in the more junior ranks have been voting with their feet. Tory vice-chair Bim Afolami announced his exit live on TV, while former loyalist Jonathan Gullis, Saqib Bhatti, Nicola Richards and Virginia Crosbie stepped down from PPS roles.

Theo Clarke and Andrew Murrison also stepped down as the trade envoys to Kenya and Morocco respectively. 

Lord Frost, previously Mr Johnson's key Brexit envoy, said Mr Sunak and Mr Javid had done the 'right thing' and the premier could not change. 

Even Cabinet ministers staying in place sounded a gloomy tone privately, with one telling MailOnline yesterday that some of their closest colleagues had 'run out of sympathy with the PM'. 

Nadhim Zahawi leaves 10 Downing Street after being appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer

Nadhim Zahawi leaves 10 Downing Street after being appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer

Mr Johnson returned to Downing Street yesterday as he struggles to find a way to survive in office - beginning a reshuffle to replace two of his most senior Cabinet members

Mr Johnson returned to Downing Street yesterday as he struggles to find a way to survive in office - beginning a reshuffle to replace two of his most senior Cabinet members

Tory backbencher Andrew Bridgen warned Boris Johnson that the backbench 1922 Committee will 'deal' with his leadership.

Mr Bridgen, a critic of the Prime Minister, said: 'The portcullis is the emblem of our Parliament, it is the last defence of our democracy.

'The 1922 committee will deal with this turbulent prime minister, it's what it was created for.'

The Prime Minister is facing manoeuvring from Conservative MPs, who are hoping to change the rules of the 1922 Committee to re-run a confidence vote against him.

Brexit minister Jacob Rees-Mogg was sent out to bat in broadcast studios, insisting there is no 'constitutional' reason for the PM to go. 

Asked whether he would really survive a fresh Tory confidence vote, Mr Rees-Mogg told Sky News: 'He might very well win another.' 

Mr Rees-Mogg said Mr Johnson's mood after the resignations was 'business as usual' and he still hoped he would beat Robert Walpole's record of 21 years in No10.

Despite this, Mr Sunak and Mr Javid appear to have had heeded calls from Tory rebel MPs - who had been demanding action from Cabinet ministers over the latest sleaze scandal battering Mr Johnson's Government.

Mr Javid told the PM: 'It is with enormous regret that I must tell you that I can no longer, in good conscience, continue serving in this Government.

'I am instinctively a team player but the British people also rightly expect integrity from their Government.'

Nadhim Zahawi

Michelle Donelan

Universities minister Michelle Donelan (right) seen going into Downing Street before taking the post as Education Secretary, replacing Nadhim Zahawi (left) who was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer

Theo Clarke (left) and Andrew Murrison also stepped down as the trade envoys to Kenya and Morocco respectively

Theo Clarke (left) and Andrew Murrison also stepped down as the trade envoys to Kenya and Morocco respectively

Saqib Bhatti

Virginia Crosbie

Some in the more junior ranks have been voting with their feet. Tory vice-chair Bim Afolami announced his exit live on TV, while former loyalist Jonathan Gullis, Saqib Bhatti (left), Nicola Richards and Virginia Crosbie (right) stepped down from PPS roles

Nicola Richards

Tory MP Nicola Richards's resignation letter

Tory MP Nicola Richards quit as a PPS saying she did not 'recognise' the Conservative Party under Mr Johnson 

WHO HAS QUIT BORIS'S GOVERNMENT AND WHO STILL REMAINS? 

QUIT

Rishi Sunak

Sajid Javid

Nicola Richards

Jonathan Gullis

Saqib Bhatti

Virginia Crosbie

Andrew Murrison

Theo Clarke

Alex Chalk

Bim Afolami

 

NOT QUITTING

Dominic Raab

Ben Wallace

Priti Patel

Liz Truss

Brandon Lewis

Michael Gove

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Therese Coffey

Nadine Dorries

Nadhim Zahawi

Michelle Donelan

 

ON WATCH

George Eustice

Penny Mordaunt 

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It was the second time Mr Javid has resigned from a Johnson government, having quit as Chancellor on principle in 2020 when he was told he could not choose his own special advisers.

Boris broke his silence after the body blows by responding to the rebellious pair's resignation letters with his own.

Boris Johnson told Sajid Javid he was 'sorry' to receive his resignation letter as health secretary and suggested his Government would 'continue to deliver' plans for the NHS.

In a brief letter, the Prime Minister wrote: 'Dear Saj, Thank you for your letter this evening tendering your resignation. I was very sorry to receive it.

'You have served this Government, and the people of the United Kingdom, with distinction.'

Boris Johnson responded to Rishi Sunak's departure as chancellor, saying he was 'sorry' to have received Mr Sunak's resignation letter and praising his 'outstanding service'.

In a letter, the Prime Minister wrote: 'Dear Rishi, I was sorry to receive your letter resigning from the Government.

'You have provided outstanding service to the country through the most challenging period for our economy in peacetime history'.

He noted the furlough scheme, Mr Sunak's work on post-pandemic economic recovery and to repair public finances, as well as tax cuts.

The double resignation sparked feverish speculation that other members of the Cabinet might soon follow suit in quitting Mr Johnson's Government.

Conservative MP Saqib Bhatti quit his role as a PPS, following the example of former boss Mr Javid, stating 'recent events have undermined trust and standards in public life'.

Posting his resignation on Twitter, he wrote: 'The Conservative and Union Party has always been the party of integrity and honour.

'I feel that standards in public life are of the utmost importance, and the events of the past few months have undermined the public trust in all of us.

'I have been grappling with these issues for some time and my conscience will not allow me to continue to support this administration.

'It is for that reason I must tender my resignation.'

In a particularly stinging blow for the PM, one of his most loyal supporters Mr Gullis said he was resigning 'with a heavy heart'.

He wrote: 'I have been a member of the Conservative Party my entire adult life, a party I believe represents opportunity for all. I feel for too long we have been more focused on dealing with our reputational damage rather than delivering for the people of this country and spreading opportunity for all, which is why I came into politics.

The Cabinet rebellion came after the release of a damaging letter by Lord McDonald of Salford which gave critics of Mr Johnson further ammunition over his appointment of alleged groper Chris Pincher to the whips office

The Cabinet rebellion came after the release of a damaging letter by Lord McDonald of Salford which gave critics of Mr Johnson further ammunition over his appointment of alleged groper Chris Pincher to the whips office

Seven in 10 Britons - and even 54% of Conservative voters - say Boris Johnson SHOULD resign following bombshell departure of Javid and Sunak, poll reveals 

Seven in ten Brits believe Boris Johnson should resign his post, according to a new YouGov poll of thousands of UK adults, while a majority of people who voted Conservative in 2019 also want him gone.

The Prime Minister's tenure has been called into question after two members of his Cabinet - Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Chancellor Rishi Sunak - handed in their resignations yesterday in a scathing indictment of Johnson's leadership.

YouGov's poll found 69 per cent of people believe the PM should step down - up 11 per cent from June 9 - a sentiment shared by more than half (54 per cent) of respondents who voted Conservative in 2019's general election.

Just 34 per cent of Conservative voters wanted Johnson out on June 9 just days after he narrowly survived a no-confidence vote, suggesting that yesterday's Cabinet resignations represent the final straw for many Tory supporters.

Only 18 per cent of Brits overall believe Johnson should remain in charge, but despite the widespread calls for his resignation, just one in five YouGov poll respondents actually believe the Prime Minister will heed them. 

The Prime Minister was already fighting an uphill struggle to remain in No 10 as his handling of the row over scandal-hit former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher became the latest issue to raise questions over his judgment.

YouGov's Associate Director of Political and Social Research Patrick English said of the poll results: 'Tonight's figures make for dire reading for Boris Johnson. 

'With over half of the very people who put him into office in 2019 now wanting him out, he is losing the battle for support not just with the general public, but his own party's voters.' 

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'It is for this reason I can no longer to serve as part of your government.'

Who's staying and who's gone from the Government?

Conservative MP Nicola Richards quit her role as PPS to the Department for Transport, stating she cannot serve 'under the current circumstances'.

The West Bromwich East MP tweeted : 'At a time where my constituents are worried about the cost of living and I am doing my best to support them, I cannot bring myself to serve as a PPS under the current circumstances, where the focus is skewed by poor judgement that I don't wish to be associated with.

'I am loyal to my constituents and will always put them first.

'I am also loyal to the Conservative Party, of which is currently unrecognisable to me. I believe something must change.'

Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk also confirmed his resignation as Solicitor General late on Tuesday evening.

In a letter to Boris Johnson, Mr Chalk said it was 'with great sadness' he was quitting the post but added he could not 'defend the indefensible'.

He wrote: 'To be in government is to accept the duty to argue for difficult or even unpopular policy positions where that serves the broader national interest. But it cannot extend to defending the indefensible.

'The cumulative effect of the Owen Paterson debacle, Partygate and now the handling of the former Deputy Chief Whip's resignation, is that public confidence in the ability of Number 10 to uphold the standards of candour expected of a British Government has irretrievably broken down. I regret that I share that judgement.

'This comes at a moment of intense challenge for our country, when trust in government can rarely have been more important. I'm afraid the time has therefore come for fresh leadership.'

Tory MP for Hastings and Rye Sally-Ann Hart, who previously backed Mr Johnson the confidence vote last month, said she is no longer able to support him.

She tweeted: 'Considering the further revelations that have come to light, and given that the integrity of Parliament must be upheld, on behalf of my constituents of Hastings and Rye I am no longer able to support Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister.'

Just moments before the drama unfolded, the PM acknowledged he should have sacked Mr Pincher when he was told about the claims against him when he was a Foreign Office minister in 2019, but instead Mr Johnson went on to appoint him to other government roles.

Asked if that was an error, the PM said: 'I think it was a mistake and I apologise for it. In hindsight it was the wrong thing to do.

'I apologise to everybody who has been badly affected by it. I want to make absolutely clear that there's no place in this Government for anybody who is predatory or

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