James O'Brien skewers Tory politicians who don't want PM to face leadership contest

1 June 2022, 13:12 | Updated: 1 June 2022, 13:26

James O'Brien skewers Tory politicians who don't want PM to face leadership contest

By Sam Sholli

James O'Brien has blasted Conservative politicians who are against Boris Johnson facing a leadership contest "just because".

A total of 54 letters of no confidence in Boris Johnson from Tory MPs are needed to trigger a no confidence vote in his leadership of the Conservative Party.

The exact number of letters handed in is currently unknown, but at least 30 MPs have either said they have submitted a letter or publicly called for Mr Johnson to resign.

A total of 54 letters of no confidence are needed to trigger a no confidence vote in Mr Johnson.

The exact number of letters handed in is currently unknown, but at least 30 MPs have either said they have submitted a letter or publicly called for Mr Johnson to resign.

The Prime Minister has faced criticism from within his own party over Partygate, a scandal which has seen him receive a fine from the Metropolitan Police and attend Parliament to address the content of a scathing report from senior civil servant Sue Gray.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson is like a tin of baked beans, says Tory London AM

Earlier today, Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab told LBC's Nick Ferrari that it is easy to overlook "the overwhelming number" of Tory MPs who want Boris Johnson to stay.

"I speak to them daily... and they say to me what their constituents want, and what I suspect your listeners want, is us to get the distractions to one side, not re-engage in months-long Westminster navel-gazing which inevitably a leadership contest would bring into play," Mr Raab said.

Speaking to his listeners, James said: "I just want to know what you think genuinely about a [Conservative] leadership election, because I mean I have to listen to people like Dominic Raab. I'm not allowed to turn over in the office.

"So Dominic Raab talks about how it is an exercise in navel-gazing, using precisely the phrase that Theo Usherwood tweeted yesterday that a Downing Street source had told him.

"So they have even got the wit to come up with their own excuses for Boris Johnson anymore. They have to sort of get them from a centralised pool of cut and pasted excuses."

READ MORE: Public don't want 'Westminster navel-gazing' Tory leadership contest, says Raab

'There is a sense that the revolt is getting bigger almost by the day'

James added: "The idea is that you have to keep the show on the road because to not do so...[and] to have a leadership election against Boris Johnson after this catalogue of catastrophes over which he has presided would be bad just because."

James then gave an analogy of passengers on a bus being endangered by the vehicle being driven by a drunk driver.

He said: "Up at the front you've got the Cabinet - some of whom are pretending, some of whom probably mean it - and they're all claiming we've got to leave the drunk driver in the driving seat because there's a war in Ukraine and there's a cost of living crisis that we need to address.

"And you say 'yeah but the driver is drunk - so the bigger the problems ahead, surely the more important it is to get rid of the drunk driver'."

James later said: "So if you've got a drunk driver in the driving seat, the argument that you need to leave him there because there's some really difficult terrain ahead seems to me to be absolutely stupid.

"The more difficult the terrain ahead, the more important it is to replace the driver who keeps smashing into everything and running people over - including his own colleagues by the way. That seems to me to be self-evident."

READ MORE: Sick, fights and wine up the wall: Key points from Sue Gray's damning Partygate report

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