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- Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since 2019
A Conservative MP and prominent Brexiteer has submitted a letter of no confidence in Boris Johnson and condemned a "moral vacuum at the heart of Government".
Andrew Bridgen, who backed Mr Johnson to be leader in June 2019, told The Telegraph's Chopper's Politics podcast he should stand aside within three months.
He becomes the fifth Conservative MP to publicly call for the Prime Minister to quit this week after Douglas Ross, Sir Roger Gale, William Wragg and Caroline Nokes.
If more than 15 per cent of the party's MPs – 54 Conservatives – submit letters to Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee of Tory MPs, there has to be a vote on the leadership.
The Telegraph understands that as many as 30 letters of no confidence in Mr Johnson have now been submitted by Tories dismayed by the chaos in Downing Street.
Writing for The Telegraph, Mr Bridgen warned of "a moral vacuum at the heart of our Government" in the wake of the "partygate" revelations, adding: "Sadly, the Prime Minister's position has become untenable.
"Leadership is not just about the job title, or even making big decisions – it is equally about having a moral compass, of knowing not just right from left but right from wrong."
Mr Bridgen, 57, who was elected as the MP for North West Leicestershire in 2010, was moved to act as more revelations emerged about parties at Downing Street at a time when Britons were being threatened with prosecutions and fines if they broke Covid rules.
He said: "As more and more revelations have been published, and I fear more are yet to come out, it is clear that not only were rules broken in Downing Street but that the initial response was to stretch the truth about them being broken too.
"Claims by the Prime Minister that he did not know that he was attending a party seem at best misguided and at worst cynical. So today I'm calling on the Prime Minister to stand down – there is time yet to do the right thing. In years to come, Boris will be remembered as delivering Brexit and guiding us through a pandemic.
"His legacy shouldn't become one mired in sleaze, but rather one of knowing when the time is right to leave the stage. If Boris truly loves our country, our democracy and our party, he should go now with some semblance of grace."
Mr Bridgen said he and many others "will always be grateful for what Boris has achieved and his legacy should be cemented by a dignified exit from politics which would allow him to retain a place in the affection of a grateful nation".
He concluded: "With a heavy heart, I have to inform you that I have submitted my letter of no confidence to the chairman of the 1922 committee, Sir Graham Brady."
In an interview with Friday's Chopper's Politics podcast, which you can listen using the audio player at the top of this article, Mr Bridgen said he hoped Mr Johnson would be out of Number 10 within "two or three months".
He said: "That would be acceptable, and that would draw a line under the matter. If he left politics, he will leave with a great deal of gratitude from a large proportion of our population for the efforts that he's done on our behalf, delivering Brexit, getting us out of the pandemic."
Mr Bridgen described the process of handing in his letter of no confidence, which he gave to a worker at Sir Graham's office in Westminster's Portcullis House complex. He said. "I don't trust the internal post so I actually took it round his office by hand and handed it to his senior secretary and pointed out that it was a very, very confidential letter.
"People have asked me how many letters are in. I do not know. All I can tell you is I know there's one in."