Keep hunting down 17 Tories who lied to Boris Johnson about supporting the confidence vote


A Tory witch hunt is underway to find the 17 MPs who voted to unseat Boris Johnson as Prime Minister despite publicly showering him with praise.

The Sunday Mirror has spoken to a number of ministers who publicly supported the Prime Minister but privately said they had no confidence in his leadership on Monday.

And analysis of public statements by Conservative MPs in the days surrounding the vote revealed that more supported him than voted to keep him as party leader.

The prime minister received 211 votes of confidence on Monday night – with 148 MPs saying he should go.

Analysis by the Sunday Mirror revealed 204 MPs who had either claimed to have voted for Mr Johnson or had made positive statements about his leadership in the days surrounding the vote.

And another 24 MPs who have government jobs – either ministers, whips or Parliamentary Private Secretaries (PPS) – who have not made any public statements but are expected to resign if they lack confidence in the prime minister.

There are 228 people who publicly support Boris Johnson – 17 more than the number who voted for him in the secret ballot.

Mr Johnson claimed a “decisive” victory at the challenge despite more than 40% of his MPs voting to oust him.

And it has sparked feverish speculation among the Prime Minister’s allies over who from his top team stabbed him in the back while publicly supporting him.

“There’s a strange vibe at Number 10 at the moment,” said a Whitehall source.

228 MPs expressed their support – but only 211 voted for the Prime Minister


AFP via Getty Images)

“There’s relief, of course, and plans to move on, and a kind of weird energy.

“But of course there will be a witch hunt. It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out who did what when the cast change comes. They will get to the bottom of what happened.”

The rebels are now said to be preparing for a second bid to oust Mr Johnson if he loses both upcoming by-elections in Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton later this month.

A second attempted coup would require a change in Tory party rules, which have currently shielded Boris Johnson from an internal challenge for years.

Privately, some Downing Street insiders have given up on winning at Wakefield – but are “throwing everything” at Tiverton.

“Johnson thinks Tiverton is the one,” said a Whitehall source. “They will throw everything at it. Secretly, they admit it won’t be comfortable, but they’ll live with winning one and losing the other.”

Insiders say it would be “pretty easy” to suffer defeat in the Wakefield by-election sparked by the conviction of former MP Imran Ahmed-Khan for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

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Meanwhile, the prime minister’s timetable means a joint speech by Mr Johnson and Rishi Sunak on the economy has been scheduled from this week to the end of the month.

The double by-election will be followed by an inquiry into whether Mr Johnson lied to Parliament from the Commons Procedure Committee.

This week, Labor is expected to appoint Harriet Harman to lead the inquiry – which could bring to light damning private messages proving how much Mr Johnson knew about Downing Street parties and when.

But the probe will probably not report until the fall.

Mr Johnson is expected to use a reshuffle in the coming weeks to punish disloyal ministers – and reward those who have backed him.

On the day of the vote, all cabinet ministers were under strict orders to tweet their support.

A visiting minister who was struggling to get phone service to send his tweet received “increasingly angry” calls from Number 10.

Boris Johnson leaves the House of Commons on the night of the vote



MEPs were warned by text message: “Only loyalty will be rewarded in the reshuffle.”

Several sources said Downing Street was surprised by the scale of the rebellion.

In the hours after the vote, a minister conceded that 148 was a “damn big number” and admitted Mr Johnson’s team had not been “skillful” enough to see the mass revolt coming.

But the Prime Minister’s mood is said to have lifted after the vote.

“Boris is much happier,” said a source.

MPs wait for the Chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, to read the results of the vote



“Number 10 was almost glad the letters landed when they did. After the by-election it might have been a different story.

“The numbers weren’t great, but at least it’s over. Just the by-elections every now and then is a pretty clear run. Economics and the cost of living are obviously an issue, but that’s not BJ’s fault.”

Mr Johnson himself reportedly kept the news that he would be hours away from a vote after being told by the chairman of the 1922 committee, Sir Graham Brady, early Sunday afternoon, just before he left for the Queen’s Jubilee contest.

A source said the Prime Minister had not told even his closest aides that the threshold of 54 letters from Tory MPs had only been reached after the pageant.

Guto Harri, Johnson’s media chief


Photo only/PA images)

Chief of Staff Steve Barclay


(Getty Images)

He gathered members of his inner circle, including Media Chief Guto Harri and Chief of Staff Steve Barclay, at his Downing Street flat to discuss strategy.

“The thought was, ‘Let’s go really, really, really fast,'” a source said. “So Boris called Brady at midnight and said he was ready to go.”

On the day of the vote, Mr Johnson spent time in the morning personally addressing and signing letters to each Tory MP asking for their support. Some letters were signed “Best Wishes”, others simply “Boris”.

Party leaders and No. 10 staff personally delivered the letters in white envelopes to MPs’ offices in the afternoon.

In the hours leading up to the vote, Mr Johnson met with wavering MPs in his office in the House of Commons to persuade them.

Johnson learned he would face a vote of confidence just before leaving to compete in the Queen’s Jubilee competition


POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Former Prime Minister Theresa May was on the list of “wavers” – raising eyebrows from some on Johnson’s team.

“Sway how?” said a Whitehall source.

“What could he offer her to change her mind?”

Ms May gasped as she arrived in a striking navy blue ball gown to cast her vote en route to an anniversary dinner.

The ex-PM last wore the dress in public in November 2018, just weeks before her own vote of confidence.

Conservative Party sources have claimed ex-Cabinet Secretary Chris Grayling has told friends he is “on his way back to Cabinet” – which he denies.

“He isn’t,” quipped a senior Tory source.

And Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely admitted he voted for the Prime Minister after a “discussion with senior ministers” who promised they would “reconsider” the island’s funding hours before the 6pm vote “.

But Mr Seely angrily denied he had backed the Prime Minister in exchange for a “bag of money”.

On Tuesday, ministers approved highly controversial plans to drill for natural gas in the rural Surrey constituency controlled by high-profile rebel Jeremy Hunt.

Mr Hunt had urged colleagues to “vote for change” and oust Mr Johnson.

Mr Hunt wrote on Twitter on Thursday, calling the decision “bitterly disappointing and wrong both economically and environmentally”.

A Whitehall source said: “What better way to show Hunt they don’t like him than to dig up his frigging constituency.

“Realistically, the timing is just a coincidence, but it’s great, isn’t it? Mess with me and you’ll get a mine. Brilliant.”

A senior Tory source suggested that the idea of ​​Mr Hunt returning to Cabinet as Chancellor was “absurd”.

“Why do you want your enemy to live next to you?” They said. “He’s done.”

A Downing Street spokesman said: “The Prime Minister expects all ministers to uphold high standards of behavior and act in a way that ensures the highest standards of decency are observed.

“All of these issues have been previously addressed and statements have been made public.”

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Continue reading Keep hunting down 17 Tories who lied to Boris Johnson about supporting the confidence vote

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