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Tory MP who toppled Theresa May to run in party elections and ready to ‘remove’ Boris Johnson

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The Conservative MP who organised the campaign that toppled Theresa May is running in party elections to prepare for a fresh push to bring down Boris Johnson.

Steve Baker hopes a seat on the executive of the powerful 1922 Committee of backbenchers will allow him to change the rules to allow another no-confidence vote – if necessary.

The serial rebel described the prime minister’s position as “intolerable” if he is found to have lied to parliament over the scandal of the No 10 parties, many of which he attended.

He said: “If he were not to resign in those circumstances, it may prove necessary to take action to remove him. It is one thing to make an inadvertent error, but intolerable to deliberately mislead.”

Mr Baker added: “We should not change the rules and vote again lightly. However, there are foreseeable circumstances in which the 1922 may need to act.”

The former head of the European Research Group of pro-Brexit MPs also warned Mr Johnson against calling a snap general election to avoid a resignation – an idea floated by No 10.

“If the prime minister were to attempt to avoid publication of the report of the privileges committee by calling a general election, that might require action,” he told The Times.

The Independent revealed that the new 18-strong executive is set to be chosen on 13 July – sparking a battle between supporters and opponents of the prime minister.

Party rules currently prevent a second no-confidence vote within 12 months – which would mean until next June, after a badly-bruised Mr Johnson won a vote earlier this month – but they could be changed.

Mr Baker played a key role in the events that forced Mrs May’s resignation in 2019, by rallying hardline Tory MPs to continue to oppose her Brexit deal in the final meaningful vote.

He told them he was “consumed by a ferocious rage after that pantomime of sycophancy and bullying”, describing attempts to force backbenchers into line.

The pressure on Mr Johnson is very different – chiefly focusing on his character failings and honesty, rather than a specific policy clash – but is still very real.

He has fuelled Tory anger rejecting calls to change style and insisting much of the criticism of him “doesn’t matter”, while floating the idea of staying in power until 2030.

Senior MPs spoke out after the prime minister mocked the idea of him undergoing a “psychological transformation” to recover from disastrous by-election defeats, saying: “That’s not going to happen.”

Only backbenchers can serve on the 1922 Committee executive – and ministers and whips are not allowed to vote in the elections.

Mr Baker said it should be “slow to change well-established rules which promote political stability, but quick and resolute to act if it proves essential”, telling fellow Tories: “That is what I hope to provide.”

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