Voters are 'fed up of hearing how I stuffed up', claims PM as pressure mounts

25 June 2022, 13:16 | Updated: 25 June 2022, 15:12

Boris Johnson has said voters are "fed up" of hearing about the things he has "stuffed up"
Boris Johnson has said voters are "fed up" of hearing about the things he has "stuffed up". Picture: Alamy/Cabinet Office

By Daisy Stephens

Brits are "fed up hearing about things I stuffed up", Boris Johnson has claimed, as pressure on his leadership continues to pile up.

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In the past two days the Prime Minister has suffered two bruising by-election defeats and the resignation of a senior cabinet minister.

But as the pressure mounts on him to step down, Mr Johnson has said people are "not hearing enough about the things that really matter to them".

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"People were absolutely fed up hearing about things I stuffed up," he told Sky News.

"They wanted to hear... what is this guy doing."

Boris Johnson has weathered a series of scandals in recent months
Boris Johnson has weathered a series of scandals in recent months. Picture: Alamy

Tory chariman Oliver Dowden quit on Friday over the outcome of the by-elections in Wakefield, Yorkshire, and Tiverton and Honiton, Devon.

Both seats were formerly held by Tories but went to Labour and the Liberal Democrats respectively.

Oliver Dowden stepped down over the by-election results, saying "somebody must take responsibility"
Oliver Dowden stepped down over the by-election results, saying "somebody must take responsibility". Picture: Alamy

Also on Saturday, the Prime Minister said he "humbly and sincerely" accepts the criticism he receives but said that every Government gets "buffeted" by bad by-election results mid-term.

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When asked on BBC Radio 4 whether business could not continue as usual - as Mr Downden claimed in his resignation letter - the Prime Minister said: "If you're saying you want me to undergo some sort of psychological transformation, I think that our listeners would know that is not going to happen.

"What you can do, and what the Government should do, and what I want to do, is to get on with changing and reforming and improving our systems and our economy."

Despite some early speculation in the wake of the by-election results, Mr Dowden was the sole Cabinet minister to tender his resignation.

That has not stopped Tory rebels reportedly using the by-election defeats as the springboard for the latest attempted heave against the Prime Minister.

Opponents of Mr Johnson are planning a takeover of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers in a bid to change the rules to allow another confidence vote on his leadership, The Times reports.

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The departure of Mr Dowden may also prompt a reshuffle in the Prime Minister's top team, with reports that Priti Patel could be asked to leave her Home Secretary role to become party chair.

The Liberal Democrats said Mr Johnson's comments show "this leopard has no intention of changing his spots".

The Partygate scandal also threatened Mr Johnson's premiership
The Partygate scandal also threatened Mr Johnson's premiership. Picture: Cabinet Office

The PM, who is 4,000 miles away at a Commonwealth conference in Rwanda, pledged to "listen" after the huge by-election defeats in Tiverton and Wakefield, amid concerns that support for his leadership is ebbing away.

However, he remained resolute on Friday that he would not be going anywhere, insisting that such defeats were typical of mid-term governments.

Mr Johnson added: "There will still be some tough times ahead, no doubt people will continue to beat me up and say this or that to attack me.

"That's fine, that's quite right, that is the job of politicians.

"In the end, voters, journalists, they have no-one else to make their complaints to, I have to take that."

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