Boris Johnson is facing an increasingly conservative mutiny against his leadership as a “sulfurous” mood engulfed the party over his attendance at a break-in. “bring your own drink” drink event in Downing Street.
Some Tory MPs claimed the quarrel, which called into question Johnson’s judgment and honesty, was potentially terminal for his premiership; two polls found the majority of the public thought he should resign.
Johnson is under pressure from senior Tories to admit that he attended the liquor party in the number 10 garden on May 20, 2020 – as confirmed by numerous witnesses – in violation of England’s restriction rules.
Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said: “If he violated his own leadership, if he was not honest, then this is an extremely important issue.” He told Sky News that if Johnson misled parliament “then he should resign”.
The prime minister’s performance on Wednesday during Question Time in the House of Commons is seen by Tory MPs as a turning point and many Tory MPs want him to apologize.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer told the prime minister on Tuesday: “You not only knew about the parties in Downing Street, you attended it. Stop lying to the British public. It’s time to dump her and move on. “
One Conservative MP said the prime minister’s allegations last month that he was unaware of alleged illegal parties in Downing Street did not now look “like lies”. The MP added: “The mood is sulfurous. It is potentially terminal. “
Even Johnson’s former supporters said a “turning point” had been reached. One MP said letters of no confidence were being handed to Graham Brady, chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 committee. A government member said: “We can not go on like this.”
A total of 54 letters – 15 per cent from Tory MPs – would cause a vote of no confidence. Most Tory MPs want to wait until local elections on May 5 before taking a view on Johnson’s future, but some believe the settlement could come sooner.
John Caudwell, the Phones4U founder and leading Tory donor, said: “Sort it out, Boris, or step aside and let someone else sort it out so the Tories are not wiped out at the next election.”
Conservative MPs hoped the start of a new year would draw a line under Johnson’s political problems; instead, he struggles to fight allegations about parties that took place during Covid restrictions in 2020.
Downing Street declined to comment on May 2020 party – revealed by Johnson’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings – insists it is subject to ongoing review by Sue Gray, a senior civil servant. But the wall of silence from number 10 made Tory MPs furious.
Johnson on Tuesday at the May 2020 party refused to answer an urgent question in the Commons, and sent Paymaster General Michael Ellis to put questions in his place.
Unsurprisingly for Johnson, no minister showed up to support him and the Tory banks were largely empty. Johnny Mercer, a former minister, tweeted: “I’m sorry. It is humiliating and does not reflect the majority of my colleagues who * at least try * and lead by example. ”
The Metropolitan Police are working with the Cabinet Office on a possible criminal investigation into the party, which took place when outside meetings were allowed with only one person from another household.
The party was organized by Martin Reynolds, the head of Johnson’s office, who invited about 100 Downing Street staff to “make the best of the glorious weather” by attending the party, and asked them to “bring your own drinks. to bring together ”.
“It is surprising that Number 10 was so stupid that it allowed it to happen,” said one minister. Reynolds may face the ax with other close associates of the prime minister, but many MPs believe the money will stop at Johnson.
Meanwhile, a flash survey by Savanta ComRes found 66 per cent of British adults think the pprime minister must retire; that figure was 42 percent for Tory voters. A second poll by YouGov found that 56 percent of people thought Johnson should quit.