Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing a severe threat to his premiership (Picture: Rex/Getty)
Boris Johnson could be unseated as Prime Minister today, it has been confirmed.
Sir Graham Brady, the leader of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs, announced this morning that he had received more than 54 letters calling for a vote of confidence.
That is the number needed to trigger a ballot on the leadership of the PM – who will now have to persuade a majority of Conservatives to back him if he is to continue in the job.
If Mr Johnson wins, he will have a year in office before another vote can be held – unless the rules are changed. But even though previous PMs have won confidence votes, the likes of Theresa May, John Major and Margaret Thatcher were fatally damaged by them.
Sir Graham explained in a statement: ‘The threshold of 15% of the parliamentary party seeking a vote of confidence in the leader of the Conservative Party has been exceeded.
‘In accordance with the rules, a ballot will be held between 6pm and 8pm today, Monday 6th June – details to be confirmed.
‘The votes will be counted immediately afterwards. An announcement will be made at a time to be advised. Arrangements for the announcement will be released later today.’
Sir Graham later added that the PM was told about the threshold being passed yesterday and suggested that some MPs had written to him asking for their letter to only be counted after the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations had finished.
The announcement comes after widespread anger among MPs and the public about Mr Johnson’s conduct during the partygate saga, which saw him become the first serving PM to break the law in office.
In order to oust the PM, the rebels will need 180 MPs – while allies of Mr Johnson have made clear he is determined to fight to stay on.
Earlier today, long-time supporter Jesse Norman turned on the PM and submitted a brutal letter of no confidence in the PM.
The former minister said that Mr Johnson’s current policy priorities were ‘deeply questionable’ and that there were no circumstances in which he could serve in a government led by him.
In the letter, he warned that any breach of the Northern Irish Protocol would be ‘economically very damaging, politically foolhardy and almost certainly illegal’.
Jesse Norman submitted a brutal no confidence letter in the PM (Picture: REX)
‘You are the leader of the Conservative and Unionist party, yet you are putting the Union itself gravely at risk,’ the Hereford and South Herefordshire MP said.
Mr Norman also branded the Government’s Rwanda refugee policy ‘ugly, likely to be counterproductive and of doubtful legality’ and suggested that plans to privatise Channel 4 were ‘unnecessary and provocative’.
Downing Street said Mr Johnson ‘welcomes the opportunity to make his case
to MPs’, with a No 10 spokeswoman claiming tonight’s vote was ‘a chance to end
months of speculation and allow the Government to draw a line and move on’.
She added: ‘Tonight is a chance to end months of speculation and allow the Government to draw a line and move on, delivering on the people’s priorities.
‘The PM welcomes the opportunity to make his case to MPs and will remind them that when they’re united and focused on the issues that matter to voters there is no more formidable political force.’
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But Sir Graham acknowledged that Mr Johnson will not necessarily be safe even if he survives tonight’s vote.
Although the Conservative committee’s rules say there could not be another confidence vote for 12 months, Sir Graham said those procedures could be changed.
‘Technically it’s possible for rules to be changed but the rule at present is there would be a period of grace,’ he explained.
Speaking shortly after Sir Graham made his announcement, Health Secretary Sajid Javid told Sky News: ‘If there is (a vote), the Prime Minister will stand and fight his corner with a very, very strong case.’
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