This is no time for ‘unforced drama’, Boris Johnson tells MPs

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson  (PA Wire)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (PA Wire)

Boris Johnson told Conservative MPs this is not the moment for “a leisurely and entirely unforced domestic political drama” as he attempted to win them round ahead of Monday’s crunch vote of confidence.

Addressing members of his party, Mr Johnson stressed his administration’s record on tackling the cost of living crisis, delivering Brexit, immigration and dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

He also vowed to do more to boost home ownership and to cut taxes - a bid to win over waverers with core Conservative policies.

With a result set to be announced at 9pm on Monday evening, the Prime Minister needs to secure the backing of 180 MPs to cling on to power.

But if more than 100 Tories vote against him then that could still be enough to damage his authority.

A senior Conservative source said Mr Johnson’s mood was “upbeat” and added: “It’s a persuasive case...in the end the facts speak for themselves.

“I don’t think anyone is claiming there are the votes to end his premiership tonight so the only thing the party is looking to do is undermine their best electroral asset since the 1970s and if you’re cold blooded and ruthless about that then why would you do that.

“I would understand if people had an alternative vision, an alternative strategy and alternative leader in mind but there doesn’t seem to be one.”

The Prime Minister entered and left the 30 minute meeting to the loud banging of desks and appaluse and told colleagues “now is the time to lift the gaze from our navel”.

He also vowed that the “best was yet to come”.

The Conservative source added he took five questions after his speech - three positive and two hostile.

Long standing critic Mark Harper told him if you stay we are “defending the indefensible”.

Mr Johnson rejected that aggressively, according to the source.

He finished his address to MPs by saying: “Let’s show this country that we understand that this is a moment to unite and to serve and if we can do that then... Whatever they may say about me I will lead you to victory again and the winners will be the people of this country.”

But Steve Baker, MP for Wycombe, who called for Mr Johnson to go in April, said after the meeting: “The reality is this is a very very sad day.

“The Prime Minister has made an incredibly string case for himself and his record and where he wants to take the country. What I would say if he broke the law if he acquiesced in the law being broken or if he lied then he must go. I am afraid that continues to be my view.

“I think it’s highly likely he will formally win but there will be quite a big vote against him.

“I’m terribly regretful. This is a terrible moment. To be back here again is awful. I helped him become Prime Minister, I helped him get his 80 seat majority. Of course it’s regretful.”

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