Buckingham Palace plans to block Boris Johnson calling snap election, senior Tory MP says

·Political Correspondent, Yahoo News UK
·3-min read
File photo dated 24/7/2019 of Queen Elizabeth II welcoming the newly-elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace, London, where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government. Issue date: Sunday January 30, 2022.
The Queen has the power to reject a request to hold an early general election (PA Images)

A senior Conservative MP has told Yahoo News UK that Buckingham Palace intends to block an early general election if Boris Johnson calls one as a last ditch attempt to save his premiership.

Johnson is hanging on by a thread after Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid turned on him and announced their resignations on Tuesday evening.

A number of more junior ministers have since followed suit and resigned.

Their decision came in the aftermath of Number 10's false claims that Johnson had not been aware that Chris Pincher - who resigned on Thursday after reportedly sexually assaulting two people in club - had a history of sexual misconduct before the PM gave him a ministerial job.

PM
Boris Johnson is understood to be considering a snap election in a bid to avoid being ousted by his own MPs. (Reuters)

Read more: Do you think Boris Johnson should quit?

There has since been speculation that Johnson could call a snap general election in a bid for a fresh mandate, and to avoid being ousted by his own MPs in another no confidence vote this year.

However Andrew Bridgen, senior Tory MP and leading Brexiteer, said Buckingham Palace are preparing to stop Johnson from attempting such a move.

Andrew Bridgen speaks to the media on College Green in central London, as Boris Johnson is facing a vote of no confidence by Tory MPs amid anger across the party at the disclosures over lockdown parties in Downing Street. Picture date: Monday June 6, 2022.
Senior Tory MP Andrew Bridgen has said Buckingham Place would block an attempt by Boris Johnson to call an early general election. (PA)

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"I've been told that the Palace are prepared to block an early snap election if Johnson attempts to call one to save his own skin," said the MP for North West Leicestershire.

"And the Palace has the right to do that under the Lascelles Principles."

At present, the prime minister has to ask the monarch's permission to call a general election, as she is the head of state.

Read more: Boris Johnson ‘didn’t give a toss’ about Chris Pincher groping claims

The Lascelles Principles mean the Queen is able to reject the request and order the government to find "another prime minister who could govern for a reasonable period with a working majority in the House of Commons".

Buckingham Palace has been approached for comment.

File photo dated 07/09/21 of (left to right) Health Secretary Sajid Javid, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Prime Minister Boris Johnson arriving at No 9 Downing Street for a media briefing. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid, have resigned after the Prime Minister was forced into a humiliating apology over his handling of the Chris Pincher row after it emerged he had forgotten about being told of previous allegations of
Rishi Sunak was appointed as chancellor in 2020 after Sajid Javid resigned - with Javid appointed as health secretary last year after Matt Hancock's resignation. (PA)

Elsewhere, Bridgen said the Conservative Party's 1922 committee will change the rules imminently to allow another no confidence vote in Johnson within weeks.

"The 1922 committee elections end next week, then the rules will be changed straight away to allow another no confidence vote - which he will lose and be removed," said Bridgen.

Read more: Dominic Raab clashes with Susanna Reid over PM's ‘lies’ about Pincher scandal

Bridgen still said a general election is still likely this year.

"Deputy prime minister Dominic Raab will then become PM [if Johnson goes]... then we'll probably have an early election, in September, before [parliamentary] recess and conference season," said Bridgen.

The warnings come as eyes turn to prime minister's questions and the liaison committee on Wednesday where Johnson will face a grilling over everything from the cost-of-living crisis to ministerial standards.

He is also set to face the parliamentary standards and privileges committee in October, which will decide whether he knowingly misled parliament over Partygate.

Read more: How could Boris Johnson be ousted as PM? The 1922 Committee election could be key