‘They have been written’: More Tory MPs ‘on verge of sending no confidence letters’

·Political Correspondent, Yahoo News UK
·4-min read
Prime Minister Boris Johnson talks to staff during a visit to the Finchley Memorial Hospital in North London Picture date: Tuesday January 18, 2022.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson talks to staff during a visit to the Finchley Memorial Hospital in North London. (PA)

A Conservative MP has said more Tory MPs are on the verge of submitting confidence letters in Boris Johnson.

The PM faces a growing rebellion from his own MPs following reports of a string of parties in No 10 during lockdown.

Christian Wakeford, one of the new influx of 'Red Wall' MPs who helped sweep Boris Johnson to general election victory, told Yahoo News UK he has officially called for the PM to resign and warned of discontent among the 2019 intake.

He also confirmed a number of other Red Wall MPs had met on Tuesday to discuss submitting no-confidence letters in the PM.

Johnson admitted attending a party on 20 May 2020 this week and apologised – though he has insisted he believed the gathering was a work event.

On Tuesday, he denied allegations from his former special adviser, Dominic Cummings, that he had known about the rule-breaking party in advance and had given it the green light.

Read more: Chastened Boris Johnson apologises to Queen in humbling 'Partygate' interview

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London. Picture date: Wednesday January 12, 2022.
Boris Johnson admitted he attended a party during lockdown in Number 10 at a session of Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday. (PA Images)

“Nobody told me that what we were doing was against the rules, the event in question was something that... was not a work event,” he said.

Speaking to Yahoo News UK, Wakeford, Tory MP for Bury South, said he had sent his no-confidence letter to the Conservative’s 1922 Committee on Thursday. If 54 letters are submitted a vote of no-confidence is called which, if the PM loses, will cost him his job and trigger a Conservative leadership election to decide on his successor.

Wakeford’s joins six other MPs who have publicly called for the prime minister’s resignation - including senior Tory and Brexiteer Andrew Bridgen, and Tory stalwart Sir Roger Gale.

On Friday, Sir Roger told Yahoo News UK the party reported in Number 10 on the eve of Prince Philip’s was “grotesque” - and said none of Johnson’s predecessors would have tolerated such behaviour.

“I mean, none of the others would have done that, he said.

“They have more sensitivity."

Read more: Meet one of the five Tory MPs who says Boris must resign: ‘It’s grotesque’

christian wakeford
The Conservative MP for Bury South said there Tory MPs who are preparing to send letters of no confidence in the PM. (UK Parliament)

Alarmingly for the PM, Wakeford said there are other MP’s who “have written the letters but haven’t sent them in yet”.

Many of these MPs owe their seats to Johnson after he led them to a dramatic victory at the 2019 general election, snapping up safe Labour seats in the Midlands and the North.

Watch: ‘Do you support the prime minister?’: Moment Rishi Sunak walks off mid-interview over Boris Johnson grilling

Read more: Dominic Raab: Prime ministers should resign if they lie to Parliament and don’t correct it

Cummings said this week he is prepared to swear under oath that his allegations are the truth.

“The events of 20 May alone, never mind the string of other events, mean the PM lied to parliament about parties,” Cummings wrote on his blog.

“Not only me but other eyewitnesses who discussed this at the time would swear under oath this is what happened.”

When challenged on whether or not he would resign of the parties scandal on Tuesday, Johnson refused to rule such a move out. “Let’s see what the report says,” he said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson with his senior aid Dominic Cummings as they leave Downing Street, central London.
Since his dramatic resignation from his post as Boris Johnson's special adviser in November 2020, Dominic Cummings has openly admitted he seeks to get Johnson out of office. (PA Images)

Read more: One rule for them – How many people were fined during lockdown while Downing Street partied?

Labour have criticised the prime minister following the interview, and renewed their calls for him to resign.

“Boris Johnson set the rules, he didn’t need anyone to tell him the party he attended broke them,” deputy leader Angela Rayner tweeted on Tuesday.

“If he had any respect for the British public, he would resign.”

Wakeford, who has a slim majority of 402 votes, has been outspoken in the past about government on what he viewed as its shortcomings.

At the 2021 Conservative party conference he said the government was “failing children” - and in November, he told Yahoo News UK about his concerns over the government’s decision to scrap part of HS2 in the North.

Last week, he described the prime minister’s admission in parliament of attending a party in Number 10 during lockdown as a “half-arsed” apology.

Watch: Boris Johnson denies lying about parties to Parliament after Cummings' claim