The no-confidence vote in Boris Johnson draws near as nearly 30 Tory MPs lash out

Since the Sue Gray report, there has been a slow drip of MPs not submitting letters of confidence, prompting speculation that a vote might be a matter of when, not if

Boris Johnson is facing increasing pressure from Tory MPs
Boris Johnson is facing increasing pressure from Tory MPs

A no-confidence vote in Boris Johnson is slowly approaching after a string of top Tories urged the Prime Minister to resign over Partygate.

As of tonight, 29 MPs had publicly urged the prime minister to send a drip of letters to the backbench committee since the 1922 Sue Gray report.

Months of largely empty speculation follow that the prime minister faces a leadership challenge, and most believe he would survive a vote.

But for the first time, the number of MPs publicly calling for his resignation has surpassed the 27 MPs who publicly took action against Theresa May before she faced a no-confidence vote in 2018.

It took Mrs May 48 secret letters from Tory MPs to trigger a no-confidence vote, while Boris Johnson needed a little over 54 (15% of Parliament party).

She easily won her vote when more than half of Conservative MPs backed her. Boris Johnson is expected to do the same – 180 MPs would need to vote to oust him before a full leadership contest.

But it dealt a blow to Ms May’s prime ministership and political pressure compelled her months later.

There was speculation today among Tory MPs, who have left Westminster for a week’s break, about how close Boris Johnson was to the threshold of 54 letters of no confidence.

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen reinstated his letter of no confidence after urging Boris Johnson to end his U-turn as the Ukraine war broke out.

He claimed, “It may well be that the numbers are on the verge of triggering a vote of no confidence.”

Former Attorney General Jeremy Wright said today “with regret” that Mr Johnson should go through the “corrosive” scandal and was unsure whether or not the Prime Minister lied to Parliament.

Elliot Colburn, who was elected in 2019, confirmed he had tabled a letter calling for a vote of no confidence in Mr Johnson’s leadership.

Former Attorney General Jeremy Wright said today “with regret” that Mr Johnson should go



And a fourth Tory MP, Nickie Aiken, suggested the Prime Minister should submit to a vote of confidence to end “speculation” about his future.

Only the chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, knows how many letters have been ‘received’ and they can also be withdrawn by MPs at any time.

When he last announced a no-confidence vote in 2018, it came suddenly and the vote took place on the same day as the announcement.

A Tory MP dampened speculation that the 54-letter threshold had been reached, but Sir Graham could wait until Parliament returns on Monday.

“He would generally get in touch right away, so I doubt that,” the MP said.

“It’s hiatus so maybe it could be pushed back to next week. But he usually tells No10 first and no doubt they would leak it or launch a campaign.”

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen claimed: “It may well be that the figures are on the verge of triggering a vote of no confidence.”



Another Tory told the FT: “I would be shocked if there wasn’t a vote,” but suggested it could take until the end of June after two crucial by-elections on June 23.

“It’s fatal when your peers are convinced you can’t win a majority in the next election,” Tory said.

A minister told the FT: “There will be another round [of no-confidence letters] publish the by-elections.”

It comes after No 10 failed to deny a report that Carrie Johnson threw a second party at the Downing Street flat where she and her husband live on the day of the Prime Minister’s 56th birthday.

On the day in question, 19 June 2020, Mr Johnson was also present at an impromptu gathering in the Cabinet Room which resulted in him being fined by the Metropolitan Police along with his wife and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The Sunday Times reported over the weekend that an unnamed staffer claimed to have told Ms Gray’s investigation that they had messages showing Ms Johnson had met “several” male friends that evening, with the Prime Minister later admitting the apartment where they had gathered.

When asked about the report, a No 10 spokesman said senior official Ms Gray had made it clear in her mandate that she would look into other allegations where there were “credible” allegations that rules had been broken.

The Sunday Times said the adviser, who has reportedly since written to the Cabinet Secretary about the news, told Ms Gray’s team they did not want to pass the messages on to her but were prepared to show investigators in person.

However, the Cabinet Office said the whistleblower was unwilling to relay the messages or meet in person, so their email exchanges were forwarded to police once the investigation into Operation Hillman began.

Police did not investigate the alleged evening gathering at the home, and when the adviser offered to share the news with Ms Gray, the Cabinet Office said the investigation was closed.

Labor Deputy Leader Angela Rayner said: “Less than a week after the publication of the Gray report, this raises serious questions about whether Downing Street has been caught lying again and why the incident has not been investigated.

“The Prime Minister has to get along with the British people.”

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