David Davis warns of 'agony' as he threatens no confidence letter if PM doesn't quit

31 January 2022, 21:29 | Updated: 1 February 2022, 05:25

By Sophie Barnett

Former Brexit secretary David Davis has told LBC we face "months of agony" if Boris Johnson doesn't resign over Partygate, saying he may hand in a letter of no confidence if the PM doesn't step down.

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Mr Davis, who has served as MP for Haltemprice and Howden since 1987, said if Mr Johnson resigned it would be the "best thing for the country".

Speaking to Iain Dale hours after the highly-anticipated Sue Gray report was published, Mr Davis said he wants the Prime Minister to quit.

His comments come just two weeks after the former Brexit secretary became the first Tory MP to call for the PM to quit, saying in a fiery PMQs: "In the name of God, go."

Asked by Iain whether he had put in a letter of no confidence, Mr Davis replied: "No, not yet."

Pressed as to why he hasn't handed one in, Mr Davis explained: "I want him to resign, that's what I want him to do.

"If we don't get a resolution soon I may well put a letter in - I haven't decided yet."

Read more: Boris says sorry as Partygate report slams No10's 'failures of leadership'

Read more: Read it in full: Sue Gray's much-anticipated Partygate report

Mr Davis continued that he feels a "duty of loyalty" and has never voted against a leader or put a letter of no confidence in against one.

He said: "My view is if he resigned he would do the best thing for the country, given what's going on elsewhere, he'd do the best thing for the party and actually he would do the best thing for himself so his reputation for some - three quite big achievements - will still be there.

"If he doesn't, it will be, as I say, death of a thousand cuts and people will not remember the good things he did."

Mr Davis continued: "I think what we are looking at now is possibly a few more months of agony. Maybe Cummings comes out with more in the next few days, who knows. Or other issues come up, and other aspects of the PM's activities.

"How seriously is Putin going to take him? How seriously is he going to take us at this point?"

Read more: Met Police given more than 300 photos in Partygate investigation

He added these issues are "where the standing of the country matters".

He also said he is "guilty" of putting Mr Johnson in power in the first place, saying he "confesses" to voting for him.

But, Mr Davis says he delivered on Brexit, Covid and a general election, and did those "very well".

"I was never under any illusions that he would be the best PM for the ordinary business," he added.

His comments come after Boris Johnson issued a humiliating apology in the Commons on Monday afternoon, following the publication of Sue Gray’s damning report into the partygate scandal which has taken over Westminster in recent months.

Read more: It's 'absolutely irrefutable' PM misled Commons, SNP's Ian Blackford tells LBC

Ms Gray looked into 16 allegations of lockdown-breaking gatherings said to have taken place across 2020 and 2021

She said that 12 of the gatherings held during Covid lockdown in 2020 and 2021 “should not have been allowed to take place or to develop in the way that they did”.

Following Mr Johnson’s Commons statement, he faced several calls to resign in a grilling from MPs - Theresa May and Ian Blackford to deliver some of the hardest blows to the PM.

He later gathered the whole Conservative parliamentary party in the evening, in a bid to regain their support in his ongoing fight to stay in power.