Friday, 12 Aug 2022

Boris Johnson braces for no-confidence vote as senior Tory confirms ‘letters are going in’

BBC Newsnight: Boris Johnson 'braces for no-confidence vote'

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BBC Newsnight’s political editor Nicholas Watt discussed what senior Tory MPs had been telling him about the future of Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he has been coming under fire for multiple allegations of lockdown rule breaks. More leaked text messages came out this week alleging a party was held at Downing Street by Mr Johnson’s top aide Martin Reynolds. Mr Watt reported senior MP told him “the atmosphere is one of resignation” among Tories as Boris Johnson faces a potential vote of no confidence.

Newsnight host Kirsty Wark said: “Nick, how close do you think it is for Boris Johnson to be taking a fall?”

Mr Watt said:” Well I do have to say, Kirsty, there was a noticeable ebbing away of Boris Johnson’s authority today amongst his MPs.

“And talk about whether we are nearing the end of his premiership, so just listen to this, this is one senior Conservative MP who is a Brexiteer and this is what they told me.

“It’s goodnight Vienna, we can’t go on like this, it’s a joke, it’s a shambles. We are reaching a tipping point

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Mr Watt added: “And they said that the party can’t wait for the report by Sue Gray, they’ve got to move themselves.

“And the MP said that they believe that letters are going into Sir Graham Brady, that’s the Chairman of the 1922 committee.

“If 15 percent of the Parliamentary party express no confidence in the Prime Minister, then there would have to be a no-confidence vote.

“But interestingly this MP said they think what might be more likely is, a deputation to the Prime Minister.

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Mr Watt added: “And I said well that sounds very much like the men in grey suits showing up or should we say the men and women in grey suits.

“That’s the executive of the 1922, and this person said ‘we are moving towards that, we just cannot go on like this.’ Interestingly I was talking to another grandee.

“They said to me ‘the atmosphere is not ‘febrile’ the thing about febrile atmosphere is you can pull that back, this person said to me the atmosphere is one of resignation.”

The Tory Government have so far rejected requests for Johnson to hand in his resignation over multiple allegations that he attended parties at Downing Street during lockdowns in 2020.

Johnson has not denied the latest allegation that he attended a party thrown by his Private Secretary Martin Reynolds, who invited up to 100 people via email.

Mr Johnson faced more criticism after failing to show up to Parliament to answer an urgent question on the latest round of allegations.

Deputy Labour party leader Angela Rayner expressed her thoughts in Parliament on the matter. Ms Rayner said his absence in Parliament “speaks volumes”.

Ms Rayner also added: “It is incredibly disappointing, but not unsurprising, that the Prime Minister of whom I asked this question is not here today despite not having any official engagements.

“The public have already drawn their own conclusions. He can run but he can’t hide.

“There’s no need for an investigation into the simple central question today: did the Prime Minister attend the event in the Downing Street garden on the 20 May 2020? It won’t wash to blame this on a few junior civil servants – the Prime Minister sets the tone.”

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