Tory rebel would be 'very surprised' if Boris Johnson is still PM come autumn

7 June 2022, 11:06 | Updated: 7 June 2022, 11:17

A rebel Tory MP has said he would be "very surprised" if Johnson remains PM at the end of the year
A rebel Tory MP has said he would be "very surprised" if Johnson remains PM at the end of the year. Picture: Alamy/LBC

By James Bickerton

A rebel Tory MP has said he would be "very surprised" if Boris Johnson remains Prime Minister "in the late Autumn of this year", after he narrowly survived a confidence vote.

The PM won Monday's poll with the votes of 211 MPs in favour, versus 148 against, meaning 41% of the parliamentary Conservative Party no longer support his leadership.

Sir Roger Gale, who voted against the Prime Minister, said the result means Mr Johnson should consider resigning.

Speaking to Lisa Aziz on LBC he said: "I'm hugely surprised at the figure that was achieved.

"I had hoped we might reach three figures, but I didn't think we would get to 41% of the Conservative parliamentary party and I think that sends out a very clear message to Downing Street.

"That 148 of us did that I think does send out a very clear message to Downing Street, and if I was the man in Downing Street I think I would be this morning considering my position."

Sir Roger, MP for North Thanet since 1983, argued Mr Johnson will face more challenges this year that are likely to dethrone him.

The former Remainer commented: "I would be very surprised if the Prime Minister is still in Downing Street in the late autumn of this year.

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"Coming down the tracks there are two by-elections. I wish our candidates well but I fear the results might not be glowing for the Conservative Party.

"Then there's the small matter of the privileges committee report that is due out in the Autumn.

"If that finds against the Prime Minister, if the privileges committee was to suspend him from the House of Commons, then I think his position would be wholly untenable."

On June 23 the Conservatives face two crunch by-elections, in Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton.

The first is a 'red wall' seat the Tories took in 2019, whilst the second is a formerly safe Conservative 'blue wall' seat facing a Lib Dem challenge.

Polling suggests the Tories will suffer a bad defeat in Wakefield.

Sir Roger concluded Mr Johnson's leadership is a fundamental problem for the Conservatives.

He stated: "There is very little confidence, clearly, within the Conservative Party in this Prime Minister. He has to consider his position in the light of that.

"What we can't do, some of us, is support this Prime Minister personally because it is he who is the problem."

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