Douglas Ross, Andrew Bridgen, Sir Roger Gale, William Wragg and Caroline Nokes have all turned on the PM in public – with many more considering it in private, and sixth MP Anne Marie Morris submitting her letter before Christmas
Image: via REUTERS)
So far five Tory MPs have called for Boris Johnson to quit in the wake of the Downing Street party scandal.
Douglas Ross, Andrew Bridgen, Sir Roger Gale, William Wragg and Caroline Nokes all say it’s time for a new leader after the PM admitted spending 25 minutes at a May 2020 garden party.
On the face of it it’s a small number – especially given 54 MPs need to send “no confidence” letters to the Tory 1922 Committee to trigger a leadership challenge.
But many more MPs are keeping quiet until after Sue Gray returns her report on Downing Street parties.
And a sixth, Anne Marie Morris, has told the Mirror she submitted a letter of no confidence before Christmas… but it no longer counts, because she’s lost the whip over an unrelated issue.
Herald Express / SWNS.com)
Meanwhile there is anger with Mr Johnson among Tory politicians in the regions that will pile the pressure on the PM.
Here’s a round-up of what the critics have been saying.
Tory MPs who’ve called on Boris Johnson to quit
Leader of the Scottish Conservatives Douglas Ross – never a close ally – led calls for the Prime Minister to stand down.
Johnson supporter and Cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg told Newsnight in response: “Douglas Ross has always been quite a lightweight figure.”
The former loyal supporter wrote in the Telegraph: “I’m calling on the Prime Minister to stand down, there is time yet to do the right thing.
“In years to come, Boris will be remembered as delivering Brexit and guiding us through a pandemic.
“His legacy shouldn’t become one mired in sleaze but rather one of knowing when the time is right to leave the stage.
“If Boris truly loves our country, our democracy and our party he should go now with some semblance of grace.”
Sir Roger Gale
The veteran backbencher – who has never been a big fan – described the Prime Minister as a “dead man walking”.
He told LBC’s Shelagh Fogarty: “I think it’s serious. I think it’s very serious indeed.
“And I frankly think that he’s done a good job delivering certain things.
“But I think we’ve now got to the stage where frankly we have to find another leader.”
Hazel Grove MP William Wragg is also Chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee.
The main defence currently employed by the PM and MPs is to wait until the findings of Sue Gray’s inquiry.
But Mr Wragg told the BBC: “I don’t think it should be left to the findings of a civil servant to determine the future of the Prime Minister and, indeed, who governs this country.”
He added: “The Prime Minister’s position is untenable.”
Manchester Evening News)
The Romsey and Southampton North MP told Peston: “There are a lot of MPs in Parliament who owe their seats to him.
“There are also MPs like me that recognise that when it came to winning that election in 2019, he did a fantastic job but now, regretfully, he looks like a liability.
“He is damaging the entire Conservative brand.”
Another Tory MP who’s lost the whip
Anne Marie Morris
The MP revealed she has been privately pushing for the PM’s resignation since before Christmas.
But her letter does not currently count towards the 54 total, because she lost the whip for voting to cut VAT on energy bills.
She said: “I t appears now that there is clear evidence that a breach of the rules took place and the appropriate consequences for those involved, whatever position they hold, such be substantial.
“Government should be setting an example, not breaking the rules they imposed on society…
“Given my increasing displeasure with the ongoing events in the latter part of 2021, I submitted a letter of no confidence to Sir Graham Brady before Christmas.”
She added: “Fundamentally, the country needs strong leadership and a clear direction to get back on its feet post-pandemic and take advantage of the opportunities to create a more prosperous society.”
Tory local politicians who’ve voiced their anger
Local vote calling on PM to quit
The Birmingham Post and Mail’s Jon Walker revealed officers of Sutton Coldfield Conservative association unanimously (10-0) passed a motion calling for Boris Johnson to stand down.
It previously backed Mr Johnson for the leadership.
‘I’m utterly dismayed and incredibly angry’
Hugo Brown, chairman of North Oxfordshire Conservative Association, wrote an e-mail to members saying he was “utterly dismayed and incredibly angry”.
The e-mail, handed to the Mirror, said: “I suspect most of you will feel the same.
“This is not the sort of behaviour the country or the party expects from a Prime Minister”.
He went on: “We have been badly let down. We have to expect better days on the horizon.”
‘Faith has been shaken’
Tory police commissioner for Cheshire John Dwyer said: “I am under no illusion about how [people] feel after seeing the same news reports as I have in recent days.
“I cannot condone any breaches of legislation that was specifically put in place to protect our health during a global pandemic.
“People’s faith in the system relies on trust, consent and good will. That faith has undoubtedly been shaken.”
Peter McCall, the Conservative PCC for Cumbria, warned the PM was “in a very, very difficult position.”
‘He should decide if he should go’
Nadeem Ahmed, leader of Tory-run Pendle Council, said: “I think it’s really a decision for the Prime Minister to make, whether he feels he should be in that position any longer.
“I think in public office you live with your own conscience and you should be doing the right thing.
“When you think you have done something or said something untenable, you know yourself whether you should be in that position.”