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

1 June 2022, 08:49 | Updated: 1 June 2022, 08:50

By Daisy Stephens

The public is not interested in a Conservative leadership contest and the "months-long Westminster navel-gazing" it would bring, Dominic Raab told LBC today.

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The deputy prime minister was asked by Nick Ferrari at Breakfast this morning whether he was nervous about the looming threat of a no confidence vote, which could see Boris Johnson ousted.

He said he thinks the prospect of a vote is "unlikely" but conceded there are "challenges" on the horizon at the top level of the party.

Mr Raab said it is easy to overlook "the overwhelming number" of Tory MPs who want him 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," he said.

Read more: Boris insists he did not break ministerial code as Lord Geidt questions his Partygate fine

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Mr Raab said there had been "all these distractions" at a time when Mr Johnson was trying to deal with "getting on with the job" during a "difficult patch".

"I think a lot of people are exhausted with this story," he said.

"I think that - I don't want to diminish it, the transparency and the accountability is important - but we're getting on with the job as a government.

"We had a £15b package of support for the cost of living announced [in the] last few days, that means a tax cut on national insurance, £330, coming in July, a cash grant of £400 to deal with energy bills coming in October, we've got the ongoing situation in Ukraine, I've been talking about crime-fighting, getting offenders into work... I think the most important thing for the government is to be getting on with the job."

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

Whilst the exact number of letters is currently unknown, 30 MPs have either said they have submitted a letter or publicly called for Mr Johnson to resign because of Partygate.

The scandal saw the Prime Minister receive a fine from the Metropolitan Police.

He also had to go to Parliament to explain the content of a scathing report from senior civil servant Sue Gray, which highlighted a culture of rule-breaking in Downing Street that was ultimately the fault of "senior leadership".

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

A full list of MPs that have either called for Mr Johnson to resign or submitted letters of no confidence is as follows.

  1. William Wragg - MP for Hazel Grove and Vice-Chairman of the 1922 Committee
  2. Caroline Nokes - MP Romsey and Southampton North
  3. Tim Loughton - MP for East Worthing
  4. David Davis - MP for Haltemprice and Howden
  5. Andrew Mitchell - MP for Royal Sutton Coldfield
  6. Peter Aldous - MP for Waveney
  7. Tobias Ellwood - chairman of the defence select committee and MP for Bournemouth East
  8. Sir Gary Streeter - MP for South West Devon
  9. Anthony Mangnall - MP for Totnes
  10. Aaron Bell - MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme
  11. Sir Nick Gibb - MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton
  12. Craig Whittaker - MP for Calder Valley
  13. Nigel Mills - MP for Amber Valley
  14. Karen Bradley - MP for Staffordshire Moorlands
  15. Mark Harper - MP for Forest of Dean
  16. Steve Baker - MP for Wycombe
  17. Sir Roger Gale - MP for North Thanet
  18. Julian Sturdy – MP for York Outer
  19. Angela Richardson – MP for Guildford
  20. Steve Brine – MP for Winchester
  21. David Simmonds - MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner
  22. John Baron - MP for Basildon and Billericay
  23. Stephen Hammond - MP for Wimbledon
  24. Alicia Kearns - MP for Rutland and Melton
  25. Sir Bob Neill - MP for Bromley and Chislehurst
  26. Anne Marie Morris - MP for Newton Abbot
  27. Jeremy Wright - MP for Kenilworth and Southam
  28. Elliot Colburn - MP for Carshalton and Wallington
  29. Andrew Bridgen - MP for North West Leicestershire
  30. John Stevenson - MP for Carlisle

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