Well over a dozen MPs have called for Boris Johnson to go, including those who spoke out before he got a Partygate fine from police and haven’t retracted their comments. Here’s the full list
Boris Johnson is fighting for his political life over the Sue Gray report into parties in Downing Street and Whitehall.
Scotland Yard slapped him with a £50 fine for attending his own illegal birthday party during lockdown – leading to a fresh investigation into whether the Prime Minister misled Parliament.
Critics believe he lied when he said all rules were followed in No10 – and when he denied any party on 13 November 2020, only for photos to show him raising a glass of fizz next to a groaning table of booze.
Some Tories who previously called for him to quit withdrew their pleas in recent months saying it would be irresponsible during the Ukraine war.
But others have come forward for the first time, telling the Prime Minister “the gig’s up” and condemning the “toxic” atmosphere under his leadership.
Senior Tory Tom Tugendhat – who’s not ruled out a leadership bid – has not formally called for him to resign but said he was “talking to colleagues” about it, adding: “Frankly, it’s very difficult to have confidence in the government right now.”
It takes 54 letters of no confidence from Tory MPs to trigger a no confidence vote, so despite claims that threshold is near, we are still a long way off from the Prime Minister being deposed.
Even if a confidence vote is triggered, 180 MPs would have to vote against Boris Johnson to lead to a full leadership election.
That said, here’s the full list of Tory MPs who have publicly called for Boris Johnson to go – either beforehand or since the PM got fined by the Met Police.
Tories who have called for Boris Johnson to resign
Peter Aldous: Sent a no-confidence letter and urged the PM to go after a “great deal of soul-searching”. Added: “I believe that this is in the best interests of the country, the Government and the Conservative Party.” He later said he was standing by it.
Steve Baker: Influential rebel said in a bombshell speech: “I’ve been tempted to forgive. But I have to say now the possibility of that really has gone… The Prime Minister should know the gig’s up”. After ‘fizzgate’ he tweeted an NHS poster during Covid that had a sick patient and the words “LOOK HER IN THE EYES AND TELL HER YOU NEVER BEND THE RULES”.
Aaron Bell: 2019 MP said he obeyed Covid laws to attend his gran’s May 2020 funeral before asking: “Does the Prime Minister think I’m a fool?” in a charged PMQs speech. He confirmed in February that he had submitted a no confidence letter in the PM.
Karen Bradley: Ex-Cabinet minister said “law breaking in Downing Street is unforgivable”. While the Ukraine war means MPs should “act responsibly”, she added: “If I had been a minister found to have broken the laws that I passed, I would be tendering my resignation now.”
Tobias Ellwood: Defence Committee chief sent a no-confidence letter in February, and after the fine added Boris Johnson may have to call a confidence vote in himself. He dismissed claims a leadership contest could not be held during the war in Ukraine.
Sir Roger Gale: Veteran backbencher confirmed he had submitted a no-confidence letter in January, branding Mr Johnson a “dead man walking”. He then said it wasn’t the time due to Ukraine before U-turning again, saying: “It’s absolutely clear that there was a party, that he attended it, that he was raising a toast to one of his colleagues. And therefore, he misled us from the despatch box. And, honourably, there is one answer.”
Nick Gibb: Long-time former minister said in February “to restore trust, we need to change the Prime Minister”, contrasting Allegra Stratton’s resignation for a party she didn’t attend with the PM’s response to one he did. “It is hard to see how it can be the case that the prime minister told the truth,” he added.
Mark Harper: Told the Prime Minister he is “unworthy” of the office he holds moments after hearing Mr Johnson’s apology for his Partygate fine in the Commons. Mr Harper told MPs: “[He] hasn’t been straightforward about it and is now going to ask the decent men and women on these benches to defend what I think is indefensible.”
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Neil Hudson: Said it is not “prudent or responsible” for the PM to quit right now, but he must “outline a timetable for an orderly transition” once the Ukraine war recedes. He added: “The fact that the law makers went on to break those very laws they brought in to keep us all safe is deeply damaging for our democracy.”
Tim Loughton: Said PM’s position had become “untenable” way back in January, and his “resignation is the only way to bring this whole unfortunate episode to an end”. He said at the time: “Frankly the issue for me is not how many sausage rolls or glasses of prosecco… [it’s] the way that he has handled the mounting revelations.”
Anthony Mangnall: Before the fine, 2019 MP said Boris Johnson’s “mistruths” were “overshadowing” good work elsewhere, tweeting: “At this time I can no longer support the PM.” After the fine he said: “I do forgive the Prime Minister for making those mistakes, but I do not forgive him for misleading the House as I see it.”
Nigel Mills: Became first Tory MP to break ranks after Boris Johnson was fined, saying: “I don’t think a prime minister can survive or should survive breaking the rules he put in place… I don’t think his position is tenable, in my view.”
Andrew Mitchell: Ex-minister said he “hasn’t changed” his February view that the PM “no longer enjoys my support”. He added: “The Prime Minister has been fined for committing a criminal offence”.
Caroline Nokes: Former minister is understood to be standing by her comments earlier this year, that Boris Johnson ‘did a fantastic job’ in 2019 but ‘now, regretfully, he looks like a liability. He is damaging the entire Conservative brand.’
Sir Gary Streeter: Veteran confirmed in February he had sent a no-confidence letter, saying: “I cannot reconcile the pain and sacrifice of the vast majority of the British public during lockdown with the attitude and activities of those working in Downing Street.”
Craig Whittaker: Said: “I not only think that the Prime Minister should resign but I also think that Rishi Sunak should resign as well. Through this whole process it hasn’t been particularly clear that the Prime Minister broke any rules – until of course he’s been issued with a [fine].”
Lord Wolfson: Not an MP, but given a special mention because the Lords Justice minister quit his job in protest. In a scathing letter he told Boris Johnson “there was repeated rule breaking, and breaches of the criminal law, in Downing Street”, adding: “It is not just a question of what happened in Downing Street, or your own conduct. It is also, and perhaps more so, the official response to what took place.”
William Wragg: Public Administration Committee chairman said the PM’s position was “untenable” even before Sue Gray’s report was published. After the fine he said in a searing speech “it is utterly depressing, defending the indefensible” – “each time, a part of us withers”. He went on: “We have been working in a toxic atmosphere.”
Tories who called for him to quit earlier this year, then U-turned, but could turn back
Andrew Bridgen: MP said in January: “If Boris truly loves our country, our democracy and our party he should go now with some semblance of grace.” He withdrew his letter in March, saying it would be an “indulgence” during the Ukraine war, but later added: “This is not the end of this matter.”
David Davis: In January ex-Cabinet minister quoted words that helped oust Neville Chamberlain: “In the name of God, go.” Weeks later he U-turned and told the Evening Standard that “now is not the time to talk about it” after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Douglas Ross: Scottish Tory leader demanded PM quit in January, saying: “I don’t think his position is tenable and he does need to resign.” But he withdrew his letter to the 1922 Committee in March saying the focus should be on the war in Ukraine. After ‘fizzgate’ photos emerged he said the PM would have to explain himself.