Former minister has filed a letter of no confidence in Boris Johnson
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Boris Johnson has been accused of a “failure of leadership” amid the partygate scandal and its subsequent handling, with MPs from within the Conservative Party turning on the Prime Minister. Some reports have suggested that as many as 40 letters of no confidence in Mr Johnson may have been submitted to the backbench 1922 Committee. If that number hits 54, a vote will be held.
However, some within the Prime Minister’s camp have said this latest attempt to overthrow his leadership might be rooted in an attempt to reverse Brexit.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, a long-time supporter of Mr Johnson, told Times Radio: “There are a small number of voices, whether they are people who were ardent supporters of Remain [or not], who see this as their last opportunity to reverse Brexit.”
Ms Dorries said that “regicide runs in the veins” of Conservatives, and said a Remainer plot was “certainly at play” by some in the party.
However, others have pointed out that not all of those who have called for the Prime Minister’s head have been anti-Brexit.
Conservative MP Stephen Hammond called Ms Dorries’ claims “predictable rubbish from a predictable source”.
He told the BBC’s Week in Westminster: “I think, as far as I can see, the people who so far declared that they’ve written a letter are from all wings of the party and none.”
Indeed, more than a dozen MPs have called openly for the Prime Minister to resign, and not all of them are ‘Remainers’.
Brexiteer MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme, Aaron Bell, is the latest to publicly add his name to the list.
In a statement on Friday, Mr Bell said: “The breach of trust that the events in Downing Street represent, and the manner in which they have been handled, makes [Mr Johnson’s] position untenable.”
He added: “As someone who backed Brexit and backed Boris Johnson for the leadership in 2019, I am profoundly disappointed that it has come to this.
“I believe it is in the country’s best interests that this matter is resolved as soon as possible.”
Even David Davis, the former Brexit Secretary and ardent supporter of Brexit, has called for Mr Johnson to step down, saying he had spent weeks defending him from “angry constituents”.
Mr Davis told the Commons: “I expect my leaders to shoulder the responsibility for the actions they take…
“So, I will remind him of a quotation which may be familiar to his ear: Leopold Amery to Neville Chamberlain.
“You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. In the name of God, go!”
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Another, Tim Loughton, Conservative MP for East Worthing and Shoreham and Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, has been a vocal supporter of the pro-Brexit Leave Means Leave group.
He said that Mr Johnson’s resignation “is the only way to bring this whole unfortunate spectacle to an end”.
Mr Loughton apologised for the “great hurt” that has been caused to people who have made “substantial sacrifices” during lockdown and said that we should “expect everyone to follow the rules equally, not least those responsible for implementing them”.
Nick Gibb, MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton and former schools minister voted to Remain in the 2016 referendum.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Mr Gibb said: “We need to face up to hard truths. To restore trust, we need to change the Prime Minister.”
He said his constituents are “furious about the double standards” following the partygate revelations in Downing Street and Whitehall during lockdown and the subsequent assurances there was no party and no Covid rules were broken.
However, he added that there was “still support” for the Prime Minister in his constituency for “getting Brexit done”, the vaccine rollout “and people like his style, his positivity and optimism…but they have serious doubts” about whether they can trust him.
So what do you think? Is Mr Johnson being subjected to a plot to oust him and overturn Brexit, or does Brexit have nothing to do with it? Vote in our poll and leave your comments below.
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