Tory MPs Tobias Ellwood and Anthony Mangnall have called for the resignation of Boris Johnson today, with both revealing they will send in letters of no-confidence in the Prime Minister’s leadership of the Tory party.
Ellwood, who is MP for Bournemouth East and chair of the Defence Select Committee, said it was “time to resolve this” as the Tory party is now “slipping into a very ugly place” over the Downing Street parties scandal.
Mangnall, an MP for Totnes, said Johnson’s “actions and mistruths are overshadowing the extraordinary work of so many excellent ministers and colleagues”.
A vote on Johnson’s leadership of the party will be called if 54 letters of no-confidence are sent to Graham Brady, the 1992 Committee of Tory backbenchers chairman.
Thirteen MPs have now publicly called for Johnson to resign and others are likely to have sent in letters.
Johnson’s response to the slimmed down Sue Gray report into the Downing Street parties scandal has been met with dismay by a large group of Tory backbenchers.
The report, which was unable to reveal the vast majority of Gray’s findings on alleged lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street, found there was a “failure of leadership” in Number 10 and a culture of “excessive” workplace drinking.
Johnson apologised for the saga in the House of Commons on Monday, before launching into various attacks on Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer including a false claim that he chose not to prosecute Jimmy Saville when he was director of public prosecutions.
The reaction has led several more Conservative MPs to launch public attacks on the Prime Minister, with Charles Walker and Peter Aldous calling for his resignation yesterday.
Ellwood today said the saga was taking a particularly ugly turn.
“I don’t think the prime minister realises how worried colleagues are in every corner of the party, backbenchers and ministers alike, that this is all only going one way and will invariably slide towards a very ugly place,” he told Sky News.
“I believe it’s time for the prime minister to take a grip of this – he himself should call a vote of confidence rather than waiting for the inevitable 54 letters to be eventually submitted.
“It’s time to resolve this completely so the party can get back to governing, and, yes, I know the next question you will ask, I will be submitting my letter today to the 1922 Committee.”
Housing and levelling up secretary Michael Gove said: “All of these allegations are being investigated by the Metropolitan Police… I think it’s only right that we allow the Met to get on with their work and appropriate conclusions can be drawn at the end.
“All I would say is that there are sorts of allegations that have been made. I know that some of the allegations that have been made in some parts of the media are speculation that is not true … The Met are looking at those facts.”