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'This is the beginning of the end for Boris' says Starmer ahead of confidence vote tonight

6 June 2022, 09:26 | Updated: 6 June 2022, 09:42

Sir Keir said this is the beginning of the end for Boris Johnson
Sir Keir said this is the beginning of the end for Boris Johnson. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

The no confidence vote is the beginning of the end for Boris Johnson, even if he survives it tonight, Sir Keir Starmer has told LBC.

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The embattled Prime Minister is fighting to cling on to his job after at least 54 Tory MPs - or 15% of the parliamentary party - submitted letters calling for a vote on his leadership of the party.

Rebel Conservatives do not believe they have enough colleagues onside to secure the 180 votes needed to kick Mr Johnson out, it has been reported.

The Prime Minister would be immune from another confidence vote for a year if he survived, which he is thought to be confident of achieving, but Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer believes that even if he wins, his future looks bleak.

"I think history tells us that this is the beginning of the end," he told Call Keir on Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.

"If you look at the previous examples of no confidence votes, even when Conservative Prime Ministers survive those - and he might survive it tonight - the damage is already done.

"Usually, they fall reasonably swiftly afterwards."

He told Tory MPs they should oust him because it is in the "national interest".

"I think they've got to show some leadership and vote against the Prime Minister. He's lost the trust, I think, of the country, I think that's pretty clear on all the evidence I've seen," he said.

"He's also got no plan for the country. I think those two things mean that it's in the national interest that he goes."

Watch: Astonishing moment Boris Johnson gets booed at Queen's thanksgiving service

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Rebels within the Tory party who turned on the Prime Minister have submitted at least 54 letters to call a vote, or 15% of the parliamentary party, and the ballot is due to be held between 6 and 8pm.

"I've got the press release in front of me from Graham Brady [the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee]," Sir Roger Gale, a Conservative, told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.

"The threshold of 15% of the parliamentary party seeking a vote of confidence in the leader of the Conservative party has been exceeded.

"In accordance with the rules, a ballot will be held between 18.00 and 20.00 today, Monday the 6th of June, details to be confirmed. So there will be a ballot today."

Sir Graham Brady, the head of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers who the no confidence letters are submitted to, said he had told Mr Johnson we would face a vote on Sunday, but refused to confirm how many letters had been handed in.

"I notified the Prime Minister yesterday that the threshold had been reached," he told reporters outside Parliament on Monday morning.

"We agreed the timetable for the confidence vote to take place and he shared my view - which is also in line with the rules that we have in place - that that vote should happen as soon as could reasonably take place and that would be today."

He added that some Tories had asked for their letters not to be counted over the jubilee weekend.

Downing Street said: "Tonight is a chance to end months of speculation and allow the Government to draw a line and move on, delivering on the people's priorities."

"The PM welcomes the opportunity to make his case to MPs and will remind them that when they're united and focused on the issues that matter to voters there is no more formidable political force."

Speaking to Nick, health secretary Sajid Javid said before the vote was confirmed: "There are some of my colleagues that have publicly said they would like a vote. And by the way, that's their right.

"I understand their frustrations, and we have a democratic process and that’s something for them. I respect all my colleagues."

Mr Johnson's Tory opponents spent the jubilee bank holiday sending around a memo of 13 reasons to boot him out.

It said the only way the Conservatives will win another general election will be without Mr Johnson as Prime Minister.

Another reason given was the booing directed at Mr Johnson when he arrived at Friday's thanksgiving service for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee on Friday.

"A Conservative prime minister being booed by people who turned up to witness people arriving for a service in honour of the Queen is pretty dire," an unnamed Tory MP said.

"When you've lost the royalists, and a lot of them will be former service personnel, that's our core vote."