Tories in turmoil:

Boris Johnson resigns – but insists he’ll stay as PM for coming months

Boris Johnson is in ‘real trouble’ and could face confidence vote next week, says William Hague

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The Prime Minister is in “real trouble” and could face a confidence vote as early as next week, Lord William Hague said on Tuesday.

The former Tory leader said “respected” Conservative backbenchers had begun turning their backs on Boris Johnson after the publication of the damning partygate report.

Lord Hague added that the Conservative Party was “very troubled” by the contents of Sue Gray’s report, which found Mr Johnson presided over a boozy culture that developed in Downing Street during the pandemic.

“Excessive” amounts of alcohol were consumed at illegal gatherings and “a lack of respect” was shown to cleaning and security staff, the senior civil servant found.

“I think Boris Johnson is in real trouble here,” Lord Hague told Times Radio.

He said that some MPs may want to wait until after the by-elections being held in Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton on June 23 before deciding on Mr Johnson’s future as Prime Minister, but others would want to force a leadership vote earlier.

“A lot of people misread the events of last week as meaning the trouble is over, Boris is free,” he said.

“And that’s actually not the mood in the Conservative Party which is very, very troubled about the contents of that report.

“I think that the Conservative Party will need to resolve this one way or another because to be an effective party, they either need to rally behind the Prime Minister they’ve got or they need to decide to force him out. And I think they are moving toward, either next week or around the end of June, they are moving towards having a ballot.”

Mr Johnson will face a confidence vote if 54 Tory MPs write to Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the backbench 1922 committee, demanding one be held.

The Prime Minister was dealt a fresh blow on Tuesday as another Tory MP confirmed they have sent sent a letter of no confidence to Sir Graham.

Carlisle MP John Stevenson said a confidence vote was “the only way we are to draw a line under all the recent issues surrounding the activities in Number 10.”

And in a further development, Mr Johnson’s standards adviser said there is a “legitimate question” over whether the prime minister broke the ministerial code after he received a partygate fine.

In an explosive intervention on Tuesday night, Lord Geidt called on Mr Johnson to explain why he does not think he broke the code after police issued him with a fixed penalty notice over a birthday party in the Cabinet Room in June 2020 when indoor socialising was banned.

Seventeen Tory MPs have now confirmed that they have written to Sir Graham, while another 20 have called for Mr Johnson to resign but not confirmed a letter. A further 32 Tory MPs have publicly criticised Mr Johnson over the partygate scandal.

Bromley and Chislehurst MP Sir Bob Neill has confirmed he submitted a letter of no confidence because of the “very strong condemnation of a failure in leadership” outlined in the Ms Gray’s report.

He said: “I think history generally shows that not everybody, for perfectly sound reasons, will wish to speak about whether they have sent a letter in. Only Sir Graham knows that and he is scrupulous about maintaining complete confidentiality until such time as any trigger figure is passed.”

Four London MPs, Stephen Hammond (Wimbledon), Elliot Colburn (Carshalton), David Simmonds (Ruislip, North-wood and Pinner) and Sir Bob, have so far called on Mr Johnson to stand down.

Minister for London Paul Scully said “the PM has my support and I would resigned from Gov-ernment if he didn’t”. Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant also said he supported Mr Johnson. “Colleagues who are working to depose Boris as PM because of perceived unpopularity or Brexit are self-defeating,” he said.

But on Tuesday former cabinet minister Andrea Leadsom criticised Mr Johnson for a “failure” of leadership, but did not confirm whether she had submitted a letter of no confidence.

In a statement to her constituents in South Northamptonshire she said: “There have been unacceptable failings of leadership that cannot be tolerated and are the responsibility of the Prime Minister.

“Each of my Conservative MP colleagues and I must now decide on what is right course of ac-tion that will restore confidence in our Government.”

Meanwhile a new poll on Tuesday showed Labour has increased its lead over the Conservatives by two points following the publication of the Gray report.

The poll by Savanta ComRes shows Sir Keir Starmer’s party with 42 per cent of the vote - an 11 point lead over Boris Johnson’s Conservatives who were down three points to 31 per cent and the largest recorded by the pollsters since February.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting