Tory MP says PM should quit, saying Pincher scandal 'effective cover-up of sexual abuse'

6 July 2022, 11:11

Conservative MP Chris Skidmore has submitted a letter of no confidence in Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Conservative MP Chris Skidmore has submitted a letter of no confidence in Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: Social Media/Twitter

By Asher McShane

Conservative MP Chris Skidmore has submitted a letter of no confidence in Prime Minister Boris Johnson accusing him of presiding over an 'effective cover-up of sexual abuse.'

Mr Skidmore, the former universities minister, said he no longer has confidence in Mr Johnson as Tory leader.

In a stinging letter, he said promoting Chris Pincher to deputy chief whip despite knowing about the sexual misconduct allegations against him, and then not telling the truth about what was known, was “tantamount to an effective cover-up of sexual abuse that would never be tolerated in any normal, functioning workplace”.

Mr Skidmore added that if this had been known at the time of the no confidence vote last month, it is “highly unlikely” that Johnson would have won.

Read more: Exodus from Government: Children's minister quits as PM fights for survival

But he does not say how he voted himself in that ballot, and at the time of the vote he also declined to disclose this.

"It is vital therefore that the 1922 must now urgently reconsider the rules that prevent a new vote of no confidence from taking place. The Prime Minister has made its clear that he will not change. It is therefore time that we change the Prime Minister," he said.

Mr Johnson was being hammered by further resignations as his leadership hangs in the balance.

Children’s minister Will Quince handed in his resignation this morning, days after being sent out on TV to defend him.

Mr Quince said he had "no choice" but to quit after he was forced on television to defend Mr Johnson using Downing Street briefings "which have now been found to be inaccurate".

Minister for Schools Robin Walker also left government.

In his letter to the prime minister, he said: "Unfortunately, recent events have made it clear to me that our great party, for which I have campaigned all of my adult life, has become distracted from its core missions by a relentless focus on questions of leadership."

Laura Trott has also resigned from her role as parliamentary private secretary to the Secretary of State for Transport this morning.

MP Lee Anderson submitted a letter of no confidence this morning to the PM writing: "I do not hold a position I can resign from so the only thing I can do is make my feelings known to my constituents and party members.

"This statement may upset some people and I am sure some people will be delighted with the demise of our PM but I have a job to do and I must do it with a clear conscience."

Boris Johnson was dealt the biggest blow of his premiership by the resignations of two senior cabinet ministers on Tuesday evening in the wake of his handling of the row over scandal-hit former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher.

A humiliating apology from the Prime Minister failed to prevent the departure of Rishi Sunak as chancellor and Sajid Javid as health secretary.

Mr Javid said he "can no longer continue in good conscience", adding: "I am instinctively a team player but the British people also rightly expect integrity from their Government. The tone you set as a leader, and the values you represent, reflect on your colleagues, your party and ultimately the country.

"Conservatives at their best are seen as hard-headed decision-makers, guided by strong values. We may not have always been popular, but we have been competent in acting in the national interest.

"Sadly, in the current circumstances, the public are concluding that we are now neither. The vote of confidence last month showed that a large number of our colleagues agree.

"I regret to say, however, that it is clear to me that this situation will not change under your leadership - and you have therefore lost my confidence too."