Boris' battle for survival as 3 Tories call for PM to quit over 'corrosive' No10 culture

30 May 2022, 14:12 | Updated: 30 May 2022, 20:11

Conservative MPs Andrew Bridgen (top right) and Jeremy Wright (bottom right) have called for Boris Johnson to resign.
Conservative MPs Andrew Bridgen (top right) and Jeremy Wright (bottom right) have called for Boris Johnson to resign. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Three more Conservative MPs have publicly called for Boris Johnson to quit due to the "corrosive" effect of the Partygate scandal.

In a bizarre turn of events the ex-attorney general Jeremy Wright published a statement on his website calling for the Prime Minister to step down before it was hurriedly taken down and then reposted.

In the 2,305-word statement, the former culture secretary said he could not be sure that the PM had lied to Parliament or “knowingly” misled the House of Commons, but said there is "clear evidence" Mr Johnson has been "negligent".

He said "corrosive" events in Downing Street have caused "real and lasting damage" to the Government's authority.

The Kenilworth and Southam MP, said: “I have, with regret, concluded that, for the good of this and future governments, the Prime Minister should resign.”

Read more: 'Boris and Carrie celebrated PM’s birthday with several friends in No10 flat' Labour claim

Read more: Lifelong Tory loyalist, 80, says he'll never vote for party again under Boris Johnson

Former minister Jeremy Wright.
Former minister Jeremy Wright. Picture: Alamy

Read more: Boris Johnson could be doomed by his 'lack of clarity' warns Tory Peer

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen, who previously said he would withdraw his letter of no confidence due to the war in Ukraine, has confirmed to his constituents he has submitted his letter.

He felt it would be "wrong" to have a leadership contest during the initial stages of the conflict but said recent "revelations" about Downing Street parties have changed his decision.

"I and colleagues have put in a letter of no confidence over the past few days and it may well be the numbers are close to triggering a vote of no confidence," the North West Leicestershire MP said.

Another Conservative MP, Elliot Colburn, confirmed he has submitted a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister.

The Carshalton and Wallington MP said in an email to constituents that nothing in the Met or Gray report convinced him to retract his letter which he handed in "some time ago".

Mr Colburn is the third Tory to add his name to the growing list today.

Boris Johnson is facing calls to resign.
Boris Johnson is facing calls to resign. Picture: Alamy

There are at least 25 MPs who have publicly called for the Prime Minister to go, and most have confirmed that they have written to Sir Graham.

Mr Johnson will face a confidence vote if 54 MPs write to Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the backbench 1922 committee, demanding one be held.

Former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe told LBC earlier that Mr Johnson is "shambolic" as Prime Minister, but his flaws are "countered by huge successes".

She told Andrew Pierce there "will be messes from time to time" and said the party needs to look at this.

She said the Tory party, which she used to be a part of, is an "undisciplined rabble that has lost its nerve".

It comes as Downing Street is under renewed pressure to reveal if the Prime Minister's wife Carrie hosted a second lockdown party in the Downing Street flat, after No10 failed to deny the reports.

It's been reported Mrs Johnson hosted a second party in the Downing Street flat, where she and her husband live, on the day of the Prime Minister's 56th birthday.

Earlier in the day on June 19 2020, Mr Johnson was present at an impromptu gathering in the Cabinet Room, which led to him being fined by the Metropolitan Police along with his wife and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Ann Widdecombe on Boris Johnson's Partygate conduct

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that an unnamed aide claimed to have told Sue Gray's investigation that they had messages showing Mrs Johnson met "several" male friends that evening, with the Prime Minister later heading up to the flat where they were gathered.

Asked about the report, a No 10 spokesman said senior civil servant Ms Gray had made clear in her terms of reference that she would look at other allegations where there were "credible" claims that rules had been breached.

"I have seen the same reporting that you have, but I think this is covered in the terms of reference in Sue Gray's report, where she clearly said that any other gatherings that were credible, where she received credible allegations, would be looked into.

'Partygate hasn't gone away - there are new questions.'

"Downing Street (staff) were given clear guidance to retain any relevant information and co-operate fully with the investigation."

The Sunday Times said the aide, who has since reportedly written to the Cabinet Secretary about the messages, told Ms Gray's team they did not want to forward the messages to them but were prepared to show investigators in person.

But the Cabinet Office said the informant had not been willing to provide the messages or to meet in person, so their email exchange was forwarded to the police once the Operation Hillman inquiry started.

The police did not investigate the alleged evening gathering in the flat and, by the time the aide offered to share the messages with Ms Gray, the Cabinet Office said the probe had been wrapped up.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said: "Less than a week after the release of the Gray report, this raises serious questions about whether Downing Street has been caught lying yet again and why the event has not been investigated.

"The Prime Minister must come clean with the British people."

The Prime Minister, following the conclusion of the Gray and police probes, faces a parliamentary investigation, with the Commons Privileges Committee set to look into whether he misled MPs with his reassurances that Covid rules were followed in No 10.

Which Tory MPs have publicly called for Boris Johnson to resign?

William Wragg - MP for Hazel Grove and Vice-Chairman of the 1922 Committee

Caroline Nokes - MP Romsey and Southampton North

Tim Loughton - MP for East Worthing

David Davis - MP for Haltemprice and Howden

Andrew Mitchell - MP for Royal Sutton Coldfield

Peter Aldous - MP for Waveney

Tobias Ellwood - chairman of the defence select committee and MP for Bournemouth East

Sir Gary Streeter - MP for South West Devon

Anthony Mangnall - MP for Totnes

Aaron Bell - MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme

Sir Nick Gibb - MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton

Craig Whittaker - MP for Calder Valley

Nigel Mills - MP for Amber Valley

Karen Bradley - MP for Staffordshire Moorlands

Mark Harper - MP for Forest of Dean

Steve Baker - MP for Wycombe

Sir Roger Gale - MP for North Thanet

Julian Sturdy – MP for York Outer

Angela Richardson – MP for Guildford

Steve Brine – MP for Winchester

David Simmonds - MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner

John Baron - MP for Basildon and Billericay

Stephen Hammond - MP for Wimbledon

Alicia Kearns - MP for Rutland and Melton

Sir Bob Neill - MP for Bromley and Chislehurst

Anne Marie Morris - MP for Newton Abbot

Jeremy Wright - MP for Kenilworth and Southam

Elliot Colburn - MP for Carshalton and Wallington

Andrew Bridgen - MP for North West Leicestershire

*The list above is those who have publicly called for Boris Johnson to resign or submitted letters of no confidence*