Another Tory MP has called on the prime minister to resign over the partygate scandal.
Sir Bob Neill, who has represented Bromley and Chislehurst since 2006, said he could no longer support Boris Johnson.
It comes hours after Paul Holmes quit his role as parliamentary private secretary, blaming the PM for a ‘toxic culture’ in Downing Street.
A long-awaited probe into lockdown gatherings in Number 10 uncovered evidence of boozy parties that lasted through the night and disrespectful behaviour towards cleaning and security staff.
It concluded that ‘senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture’.
Polls since its publication have found a clear majority of voters think the prime minister should quit.
Sir Bob said he had submitted a letter of no confidence to the 1922 Committee, saying ‘we cannot have one rule for those working in government and a different one for everyone else’.
In a statement, the justice select committee head said the report ‘highlighted a pattern of wholly unacceptable behaviour, spread over a number of months’ and said the breaches had caused ‘real pain’ to members of the public.
The prime minister dodged further questions about partygate during a visit to the North East today (Picture: PA)
‘I have listened carefully to the explanations the prime minister has given, in Parliament and elsewhere, and, regrettably, do not find his assertions to be credible.
‘That is why, with a heavy heart, I submitted a letter of no confidence to Sir Graham Brady on Wednesday afternoon.
‘Trust is the most important commodity in politics, but these events have undermined trust in not just the office of the prime minister, but in the political process itself.
‘To rebuild that trust and move on, a change in leadership is required.’
He becomes the sixth Tory to challenge Mr Johnson’s authority since the report was published and around the 20th to go public since the affair began.
The prime minister wants to ‘move on’ from partygate but a leadership election could yet be forced (Picture: Getty)
Earlier this week, former minister Stephen Hammond said he ‘cannot and will not defend the indefensible’.
David Simmonds and John Baron spoke out on Thursday, while Julian Sturdy called for the PM to quit hours after the publication.
Sir Graham Brady, who chairs the influential backbench organisation, does not publicly disclose how many letters of no confidence he has received.
A leadership election will be triggered when 54 have been submitted, with some MPs believed to have done so without publicly revealing their position.
What is the 1922 Committee and how does it work?
The group, which is formally known as the Conservative Private Members’ Committee, is the body which represents backbench Tory MPs. It acts as a forum for the rank and file to liaise with the government and plays a crucial role in organising Tory leadership elections.
The phrase ‘men in grey suits’, which refers to the Tory big hitters who hold sway in the party behind the scenes, has become synonymous with the committee. Its current chair is Sir Graham Brady.
Under 1922 Committee rules, Conservatives MPs can force a leadership election by submitting letters of no-confidence to the chair. A confidence vote is triggered if 15% of the parliamentary party submit the letters (that works out as 54 MPs). The letters are submitted anonymously and there is no public tally.
If the threshold is reached, a secret ballot of Tory parliamentarians will be held. Mr Johnson would need a simple majority of his own MPs to back him in order to hold on to his position.
Is he lost a confidence vote, the Tories would elect a new leader – and new prime minister – in a race which Mr Johnson would be barred from standing in. It’s unclear if he would remain PM during the election or whether an interim would take the reins while the process played out.
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