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Conservative party whips are plotting a fightback to save Boris Johnson's job as rebel MPs urge him to quit, saying it would be for the good of the British government
Conservative party whips are plotting a fightback to save Boris Johnson's job as rebel MPs urge him to quit, saying it would be for the good of the British government.
A steady stream of Tories have backed a ballot to decide the Prime Minister's future, or called for Mr Johnson to step down, in response to an increasingly long list of 'Partygate' revelations and the release of the Sue Gray report last week.
Three new names surfaced Monday and a fourth MP - Andrew Bridgen - resubmitted a letter of no confidence he previously withdrew in light of the war in Ukraine.
Now, Tory whips are in talks about how to respond if the letter tally reaches 54, which would force 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Br
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And a fourth Tory MP, Nickie Aiken, suggested Mr Johnson should submit himself to a confidence vote to end the 'damaging speculation' over his future.
Meanwhile, No 10 is under renewed pressure to say if Mr Johnson's wife hosted a second lockdown party in the Downing Street flat on the day of the Prime Minister's 56th birthday.
Earlier in the day on June 19 2020, Mr Johnson was present at an impromptu gathering in the Cabinet Room, which led to him being fined by the Metropolitan Police along with his wife and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
The Government had already been facing questions over another event in the flat later in the year, on November 13, when Mrs Johnson reportedly held the so-called 'Abba party' to celebrate the departure of Dominic Cummings in the fallout from a bitter No 10 power struggle.
In her report, Ms Gray said she had only gathered 'limited' evidence on the event when she had to stop due to the police investigation, and that she did not consider it 'appropriate or proportionate' to resume after officers concluded their inquiry.
(image: ) Mr Bridgen emailed his North West Leicestershire constituents on Monday to say he has resubmitted his letter of no confidence in Boris Johnson
(image: ) (image: ) Former Attorney General Jeremy Wright (left) said the PM should go 'for the good of the government'.
Elliot Colburn (right) - who was elected MP for Carshalton and Wallington in 2019 with a small majority over the Lib Dems - was believed to have send a letter a few months ago, but has now gone public
(image: ) Nickie Aiken, a former vice chair of the Tory party, stopped short of urging the PM to resign but called on the PM to 'end this speculation' by calling a confidence vote in his leadership himself
In his email, Mr Bridgen said: 'I did believe that during the initial stages of the Russia/Ukraine war that it would be wrong to have a leadership contest.
'There have, however, been further revelations over the past week and there is obviously and rightly still a lot of anger about the culture in No 10 during the lockdown period.
'I and colleagues have put in a letter of no confidence over the past few days and it may well be the numbers are close to triggering a vote of no confidence.
'This would give the parliamentary party the opportunity to register whether they believe Boris Johnson is the person to continue leading the party or not.'
In addition, Tory chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat, reportedly said he had made his position on the matter 'clear to those who need to hear it'.
The backbench MP, who previously said he was open to running for the Tory leadership, was quoted as criticising Mr Johnson, but did not appear to call for him to resign.
According to Sky News' Tom Larkin, he said: 'The PM put the governance of the UK at risk to a single, severe Covid outbreak.
That is to say nothing of the lack of respect it showed for the British people or the Queen.
'I have made my position clear to those who need to hear it.'
Mr Johnson is still facing unrest among Tory MPs, koora live despite the Sue Gray report stopping short of criticising his personal behaviour and ministers offering staunch support.
However, it is not clear how close the insurrection is to reaching the 54 no-confidence letters needed to trigger a full vote. While 29 have publicly called for the PM to quit, but not all will have sent letters - and others might have done so privately.
Graham Brady, chair of the powerful 1922 committee, has broad discretion on when to announce the threshold has been hit and has signalled he would not do so when Parliament is in recess.
(image: ) Tory whips are in talks about how to respond if the letter tally reaches 54, which would force 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady to call a vote, The Daily Telegraph reported
(image: ) Graham Brady, chair of the powerful 1922 committee, has broad discretion on when to announce the threshold has been hit and has signalled he would not do so when Parliament is in recess - which it currently is for the Queen's Jubilee
(image: ) Meanwhile, No 10 is under renewed pressure to say if Mr Johnson's wife hosted a second lockdown party in the Downing Street flat on the day of the Prime Minister's 56th birthday
No10 also denied that details of an alleged Downing Street flat party were removed from Ms Gray's investigation into coronavirus rule breaking
The Sunday Times reported that the senior civil servant, who on Wednesday delivered her 37-page report into events held in Downing Street and Whitehall during England's lockdowns, had pressure placed on her by senior members of Boris Johnson's team to remove certain details and names.
The newspaper said the so-called 'Abba party' held in the Prime Minister's flat on November 13 2020 was 'tweaked' by Mr Johnson's chief-of-staff Steve Barclay on the eve of publication.
It is alleged an earlier draft of Ms Gray's report referred to music being played and stated at what time the gathering ended, but that the information was redacted.
But No 10 and Cabinet Office sources denied that any edits were made by Mr Barclay, who is also the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
A No 10 source said: 'It is untrue that anyone on the political side saw anything in advance or sought to influence it.'
The Cabinet Office rejected claims that the report was edited due to pressure or that any events were not investigated because of requests made by senior figures.
They referred back to the wording of the report where Ms Gray explained her rationale for halting her probe into what happened in the flat Mr Johnson shares with his wife Carrie.
Mr Johnson suffered another blow as his ratings dropped into negative territory in the latest ConservativeHome grassroots poll - with a net score of minus 15.
(image: ) Boris Johnson is the only member of the Cabinet in negative territory in the latest ConservativeHome grassroots poll
In contrast, Defence Secretary remains top of the pile with an overall positive score of 85, and has clawed back some standing following a dramatic plunge.
Although the survey is not scientific it is tracked by ministers and MPs, and will do little to ease anxiety in No10.
In a long statement on his website, Kenilworth and Southam MP Mr Wright - who also served as culture secretary - said he 'cannot be sure that the Prime Minister knowingly misled the House of Commons'.
But he added Partygate that had a 'real and lasting damage to the reputation not just of this Government but to the institutions and authority of Government more generally'.
He said: 'That matters because it is sadly likely that a Government will again need to ask the citizens of this country to follow rules it will be difficult to comply with and to make sacrifices which will be hard to bear, in order to serve or preserve the greater good.
The collective consequences of those citizens declining to do so may again be severe.'
He concluded: 'It now seems to me that the Prime Minister remaining in office will hinder those crucial objectives. I have therefore, with regret, concluded that, for the good of this and future Governments, the Prime Minister should resign.'
Mr Wright initially caused confusion by deleting his 2,300-word statement, but then re-posted the message.
Mr Colburn - who was elected MP for Carshalton and Wallington in 2019 with a small majority over the Lib Dems - was believed to have send a letter a few months ago, but has now gone public.
In a message to constituents he said nothing had emerged to 'convince me that my decision to submit a letter to the 1922 committee (which I did some time ago) was the wrong one'.
(image: ) The PM is still facing unrest among Tory MPs, despite the Sue Gray report stopping short of criticising his personal behaviour and ministers offering staunch support
<div class="art-ins mol-factbox news floatRHS" data-version="2" id="mol-0e182610-e04d-11ec-be7e-056f278ed1d2" website resubmits letter of no confidence in Boris Johnson
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