While ministers and members of the party have stuck to Johnson’s line that people must wait for the busy Sue Gray to finish her inquiry into the matter before any further action is taken, a few Tory MPs have publically broken ranks to denounce the PM’s actions and call for him to pack his bags.
He told reporters: “I said yesterday if the prime minister attended this gathering, party, event in Downing Street on May 20 then he could not continue as prime minister. So regretfully I have to say his position is no longer tenable.”
Scottish Conservatives Leader Douglas Ross calls on Prime Minister @BorisJohnson to resign
'I don't think he can c… https://t.co/vZ8eTVAgNE
He added that Johnson’s apology implies “acceptance from the prime minister that it was wrong and therefore, I don’t want to be in this position, but I am in this position now, where I don’t think he can continue as leader of the Conservatives”.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme, the Hazel Grove MP, who is chairman of the Public Affairs and Constitutional Affairs Committee also called on the PM to resign.
He said: “The Prime Minister’s position is untenable and I don’t believe it should be left to the findings of a civil servant to determine the future of the Prime Minister, and indeed, who governs this country.”
He said he felt for his colleagues who are “frankly, worn out of defending what is invariably indefensible.”
Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee and former minister Nokes told ITV’s Peston that Johnson was “damaging” for the party.
“He’s damaging us now, he’s damaging the entire Conservative brand”
@CarolineNokes calls on @BorisJohnson to resi… https://t.co/zQqkYrkg29
Bridgen has recently become the fifth Tory MP to tell his leader to leave. On Thursday evening, the MP for North West Leicestershire announced he had submitted a letter of no confidence in Johnson via an op-ed in the Telegraph.
He said the PM’s position was “untenable” and that there was “a moral vacuum at the heart of our government”.
What would it take for Johnson to go?
If a substantial number of his MPs turn against him, Johnson is in trouble. The Telegraph reported that as many as 30 letters of no confidence have been submitted so far. A total of 54 are needed to trigger a vote.
If there was a vote, more than 50 per cent of the party would have to vote against the leader for him to be ousted.
Or Johnson could resign, as these five MPs have said he should.