Tory civil war: 58 MPs criticise Boris Johnson over ‘partygate’ as rebels plot to oust PM

Boris Johnson grilled on 'ridiculous' defence of May party

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Boris Johnson, 57, could be forced to face a no confidence vote next week after one former ally told GB News more than 20 Tory MPs are expected to submit letters to chairman of the 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady, 54, taking the total beyond the threshold needed to challenge the Prime Minister’s leadership. However, new research conducted by the Times suggests more than 58 MPs have voiced their dismay at the way in which Mr Johnson and his operation have handled ‘partygate’ since his initial apology in the Commons on Wednesday.

The research was published shortly after Bury South MP Christian Wakeford, 37, became the seventh to admit he had submitted a letter of no confidence.

Mr Wakeford joined prominent Brexit-backing Tories Andrew Bridgen, 57, Tim Loughton, 59, and William Wragg, 34, in calling for the Prime Minister to go.

Ex-Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes, 49, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross, 38, and veteran MP Sir Roger Gale, 78, are also among the list of known letter writers.

Sixteen MPs elected to the Commons during Mr Johnson’s emphatic victory in the 2019 General Election appear to be particularly frustrated by the Prime Minister’s response to ‘partygate’.

Ian Levy, 55, who became the first Tory gain out of the ‘Red Wall’ on election night when the Blyth Valley declaration was announced, said: “I understand the real anger at reports that those in power were not abiding by the rules.

“The public deserves better than this.”

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Ashfield MP Lee Anderson, 55, added: “Personally, I would not back anyone who has knowingly done wrong.”

Some of Mr Johnson’s critics also appear to have supported the Uxbridge & South Ruislip MP during his successful bid for Tory leader in 2019.

Iain Duncan Smith, 67, who chaired Mr Johnson’s leadership campaign, said: “This is unforgivable, there is no question that what has been going on and the culture has become lazy and slack about what happens after hours, what happens in offices.”

Wycombe MP and former Brexit Minister Steve Baker, 50, appeared to grapple with his previous support for the Prime Minister.

He claimed: “I would still prefer that Boris Johnson were a roaring success.

“But right now, listening to the public, who remember very well all the sacrifices they made, I think people may be too angry to forgive.”

Sir Desmond Swayne, 65, added: “I am afraid [Johnson’s] apology at Prime Minister’s Questions this week has done little to quell my extreme concern over this very sorry state of affairs.”

The list also includes five select committee chairmen and 16 former ministers.

Despite growing opposition, the Prime Minister has been defended by many of his allies, including those in the Cabinet.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, 64, who supported Mr Johnson for the Tory leadership in 2016 and 2019, said: “The people who are doing this are being disloyal to the Prime Minister, the party, their constituents and the wider country.

“They should judge the prime minister on his record of achievement.

“We have more people boosted, tested and more anti-virals than any country in the EU. We have the most open and fastest growing economy in the G7.

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“He has led us out of a global pandemic to the other side.

“We have a responsibility to govern in a way that is stable and secure.”

A Cabinet source also told the Times: “It’s pretty sickening.

“They were only elected because of him.

“Most of them are a load of nobodies.

“It’s nuts.”

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