The Prime Minister was booed by crowds over the bank holiday – and he’s losing popularity with his MPs too (Picture: AP)
Tory rebels believe they have reached the threshold needed to force a vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson’s leadership, with confirmation expected to come as early as today.
The Prime Minister was booed by crowds this weekend as disastrous polling suggested he faces a battering in two upcoming by-elections and the general election, based on current trends.
But it is the partygate scandal which is thought to have pushed many of his MPs towards submitting a letter to the 1922 backbench committee of Tory MPs – with 54 needed to force a vote.
The Sunday Times this weekend suggested that as many as 67 letters have in fact gone in – but 1922 Chairman Sir Graham Brady did not want to interrupt the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee by calling the vote earlier than this week.
Almost 30 Tories have publicly urged the Prime Minister to resign but many more are thought to have written letters privately.
ITV reported this morning that rebels expected Sir Graham to make a statement today.
There have also been suggestions in i news that whips have been scrambling to attack rebels plotting to oust the PM, with threats and blackmail.
A minister admitted the Conservative Party ‘may well’ hold a vote on whether to keep Mr Johnson as leader, but backed him to ‘face down’ the rebels calling for him to quit.
Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie during the Platinum Pageant on Sunday (Picture: AFP)
But an earlier vote in his leadership could in fact be an advantage to Mr Johnson, if it comes before the Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton by-elections, both due to be held on June 23.
Concerning polling for the Conservatives strongly suggests they will lose the seats to Labour in the north and the Liberal Democrats in the South West.
The by-elections will be the first electoral test for the governing party since senior civil servant Sue Gray’s investigation into coronavirus rule-breaching events in No 10 and Whitehall was published last month.
That followed the Metropolitan Police fining Mr Johnson – making him the first serving PM in British history found to have broken the law in office.
Business minister Paul Scully told Channel 4 yesterday that the leadership contest ‘may well happen’.
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He told The Andrew Neil Show: ‘We may well have a vote of confidence.
‘If it does happen, the Prime Minister, I know, will face it down.’
Earlier, transport secretary Grant Shapps had said he did not expect a vote to take place but that Mr Johnson would win if one if there was.
Reports have suggested that the secret ballot on the PM’s leadership is said to be pencilled in for Wednesday.
If half of MPs vote that they do not hold confidence in Mr Johnson’s leadership, then he will be ousted.
But, as the rules currently stand, if Mr Johnson wins a confidence vote, he cannot be challenged again for 12 months.
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