Boris Johnson is in 'quite a lot of trouble' says MP
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The news comes as the Prime Minister faced yet another tough PMQ’s, in which the MP for Bury South, Christian Wakeford, defected to the Labour Party. Yet, the performance of the PM at the dispatch box appears to have given some rebellious Tory MPs the incentive to change their minds over the leader
Ms Kuenssberg wrote on Twitter: “Loyal Cabinet Minister says ‘the rebels are playing schoolboy politics and it’s running into the ground. I’m hearing letters are being removed as they lose their bottle.
“’I’m not sure there ever was a danger to the PM.’”
The suggestion implies that some of the MPs who had handed in a letter to Sir Graham Brady at the 1922 Committee may have changed their minds.
Ms Kuenssberg however went on to suggest that established Tory MPs are ready to strike the PM, along with some of the newer members.
She said: “Fair to say also that David Davis’ intervention doesn’t necessarily unleash another load of calls for him to go, but it is a clear demonstration that the unhappiness is in different parts of the Tory party, not just among 2019 contingent.”
With the Tory split in their opinion of the Prime Minister, it is clear that many are waiting for the outcome of the Sue Gray report.
Perhaps the most surprising, and powerful attack from within the party came from Mr Davis.
He said the PM had failed to take responsibility for his actions over lockdown parties in Downing Street, stating: “In the name of God, go.”
The defection of Mr Wakeford also brought unwanted pressure on the PM.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer welcomed the MP to his new party and repeated his call for Mr Johnson to quit, saying his “absurd and unreliable defences” of No 10 parties were unravelling.
Speaking afterwards to the BBC, Mr Davis, the former Brexit Secretary, said he had supported Mr Johnson until his interview on Tuesday, when he said he had not been told a party in the Downing Street garden risked breaking Covid rules.
He stated: “Yesterday’s interview was an attempt to escape responsibility, not to shoulder it. And that’s a test of leadership for me.”
But he confirmed he hasn’t sent in a letter of no confidence.
So far six Tory MPs have publicly declared no confidence in the PM, but more are thought to have submitted letters to Sir Graham, amid claims the threshold of 54 needed to trigger a leadership election could soon be reached.
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Jake Berry, chairman of the Northern Research Group of Red Wall Tory MPs, said he thought Mr Davis had “misjudged the mood of colleagues”, with his call for Mr Johnson to quit.
But he added that “the next few weeks and months” would prove whether the former minister was correct.
Mr Johnson again urged MPs to wait for outcome of Ms Gray’s report on lockdown parties in Downing Street, which he said would be next week.
Ms Gray’s team are talking to the PM’s former aide Dominic Cummings, who says he warned the PM that a “bring your own booze” party in the Downing Street garden risked breaking Covid rules.
The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford said: “This week was supposed to be ‘Operation Save Big Dog’, but it’s quickly become ‘Operation Dog’s Dinner’.”
He added: “The Prime Minister is taking the public for fools, nobody believes him. Will the Prime Minister finally take responsibility? Resign, go, Prime Minister.”
Ms Gray’s report is expected early next week.
The reason no one has any hard and fast answers about the report’s release date stems from the additional revelations cropping up about more parties alleged to have taken place.
After Ms Gray’s report, Mr Johnson will have the final say as to whether the Prime Minister’s adviser on ministerial interests, Lord Geidt, can actually start an investigation into any breaches of ministerial code.
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