Boris Johnson digs in despite growing cabinet mutinyon July 6, 2022 at 7:17 pm

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

The PM says he wants to stay in office, but a group of ministers is calling on him to resign.

Boris Johnson at Prime Minister's QuestionsImage source, UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

Boris Johnson’s premiership is in increasing peril, with a group of cabinet ministers calling on him to resign.

Chief Whip Chris Heaton-Harris and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps are among those gathering in No 10 to call on him to go.

Tory backbench chief Sir Graham Brady is going in to see the PM “to offer wise counsel”, a source told the BBC.

But the PM has told MPs it would not be “responsible” for him to go.

Speaking at the Commons Liaison Committee, he said it would not be right for him to “walk away” amid economic pressures and the war in Ukraine.

Under repeated questioning by the committee, he ruled out calling a snap general election, saying the earliest date he can see for one is 2024.

Welsh Secretary Simon Hart is also among the group preparing to tell Mr Johnson to stand down, the BBC has been told.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove told him to go earlier, and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has told the chief whip the PM should resign.

BBC political editor Chris Mason said the ministers gathering in Downing Street to call on the PM to quit have been joined by another group arguing he should stay.

The BBC has also been told Mr Johnson has been stressing that “millions” voted for him and questioning whether any of his would-be successors would be able to “replicate his electoral success at the next election”.

Meanwhile, Tory party bosses on the executive of the backbench 1922 committee have postponed a decision on whether to change the rules governing a vote of confidence – but elections to replace the committee will take place next week.

Mr Johnson survived such a vote last month, and under the rules as they currently stand he would be immune from another challenge for a year.

The crisis engulfing Mr Johnson’s premiership began on Tuesday, following the dramatic resignations of Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid.

They quit within minutes of each other following a row over Mr Johnson’s decision to appoint Chris Pincher deputy chief whip earlier this year.

Their departures have triggered a wave of further resignations, with a senior ally of the prime minister telling the BBC: “It’s now a question of how he exits,” adding the situation was “not sustainable”.

‘Nodding dogs’

At PMQs, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the Conservatives had become a “corrupted party defending the indefensible”.

He took aim at ministers who have resigned in recent days, saying their decision not to quit before now showed they lacked a “shred of integrity”.

And he rounded on those who have stayed in post, mocking them as a “Z list cast of nodding dogs”, keeping the PM in power.

He added they were “only in office because no-one else is prepared to debase themselves any longer”, calling them the “charge of the lightweight brigade”.

Tory backbencher Gary Sambrook accused the PM of blaming other people for his mistakes and was applauded after calling on him to resign.

But Mr Johnson defied calls for him to go, adding he had a right to stay because of the 80-strong majority he won at the 2019 election.

“The job of a prime minister in difficult circumstances, when he’s been handed a colossal mandate, is to keep going – and that’s what I’m going to do.”

2px presentational grey line
Analysis box by Chris Mason, political editor

Sometimes politics is subtle. And then there are days like today.

Sitting in the Press Gallery, watching Prime Minister’s Questions, you could feel and hear Boris Johnson’s authority draining away.

Tribalism is measurable in decibels in Westminster, and the Conservative benches sat in near silence – the noise came from the opposition benches – in what was Boris Johnson’s toughest PMQs since the general election.

By early afternoon, the letters of resignation and no confidence were tumbling in, and even Mr Johnson’s most loyal supporters privately – and often bluntly and colourfully – acknowledged the game was up, it was over.

Is it curtains? I asked a cabinet minister. “Yes I fear so. It’s hours and days,” came the reply.

Then, one after another, cabinet ministers texted me saying they were heading to see the prime minister this evening to tell him explicitly he had to go.

Westminster is a postcode defined by power. And tonight it is shifting. The end of Boris Johnson’s premiership appears imminent.

2px presentational grey line

In a resignation statement after PMQs, Mr Javid said “treading the tightrope between loyalty and integrity” had become “impossible in recent months”.

He added: “At some point we have to conclude that enough is enough. I believe that point is now.”

Mr Johnson has admitted it was a “bad mistake” to appoint Mr Pincher, despite being aware of misconduct allegations against him.

The row over his appointment comes after the PM’s relations with his backbenchers have been damaged by the Partygate scandal and unhappiness over tax rises.

Several key cabinet ministers have rallied round the prime minister.

However, rebel Tories want to use the upcoming vote to the backbench 1922 committee to scrap the year-long gap between contests, making it possible he could face another challenge later this summer.

2px presentational grey line

How could Boris Johnson go?

If party bosses change the one-year rule on leadership challenges, rebel Tory MPs could try again to oust him later this summer, or in the autumn.

If Mr Johnson lost a vote of no confidence in Parliament, he would have to resign or call an election.

Otherwise, he would have to resign himself – possibly in the face of cabinet pressure, like Margaret Thatcher – or after a fresh wave of ministerial resignations.

Around the BBC - Sounds
Around the BBC footer - Sounds
- Advertisement -




Euro 2021 Final: Small number of fans broke into Wembley, say policeon July 11, 2021 at 7:59 pm

Videos show dozens of ticketless fans pushing through barriers and gates ahead of the match.Videos show dozens of ticketless fans pushing through barriers and...

Climate change: Alps glaciers melting faster as heatwaves hiton August 8, 2022 at 1:44 pm

Meltwater flows from the glaciers, which may be set for their highest mass losses in 60 years.Meltwater flows from the glaciers, which may be...

Turkey earthquake: Bodies in street after quake as anger grows over aidon February 7, 2023 at 6:36 pm

The death toll in Turkey continues to rise as survivors struggle to find shelter and support.The death toll in Turkey continues to rise as...

Sebastian Vettel: Aston Martin driver ruled out of Saudi Arabia race because of Covid-19on March 25, 2022 at 8:25 am

Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel is ruled out of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix because of Covid-19.

Chelsea sale: Who are the key people behind consortium buying club?on May 7, 2022 at 9:40 am

Chelsea have agreed terms on a sale, but who are the key names in the consortium buying the club?