Fifth aide resigns as 'Partygate' pressure continues for Boris Johnson
In the wake of the ongoing Partygate saga, a number of Tory MPs and politicians have publicly broken rank to denounce their leader.
Some have called on him to resign completely, while others have had harsh words against him and there are even rumours that MPs are sending no-confidence letters to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee, as part of a "pork pie plot". 54 are needed to trigger a vote that could denounce him and the BBC reckons 17 letters have already been sent.
Without further ado, here's a round-up of people who Johnson might not be able to count on for an invite to any of their parties in the future.
Scottish Conservatives Leader Douglas Ross calls on Prime Minister @BorisJohnson to resign\n\n'I don't think he can continue as leader of the Conservatives' @Douglas4Moray says https://www.itv.com/news/2022-01-12/johnson-faces-demands-to-come-clean-over-bring-your-own-booze-party\u00a0\u2026pic.twitter.com/1bO27H8YCm
The leader of the Scottish Conservative party - not that that seems to mean much to Jacob Rees-Mogg - called for Johnson to resign after he apologised for attending an organised drinks event in the Downing Street garden in May 2020 while the country was only allowed to meet one on one outside.
He told reporters in January: “I said yesterday if the prime minister attended this gathering, party, event in Downing Street on May 20th then he could not continue as prime minister. So regretfully I have to say his position is no longer tenable.”
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”.
Yesterday, after Sue Gray's report was (sort of) published, finding a "failure of leadership" in Downing Street, Ross reiterated his view and in a statement said:
“I made my position clear several weeks ago and that remains my position in light of the findings of Sue Gray’s report, which states ‘at least some of the gatherings in question represent a serious failure to observe not just the high standards expected of those working at the heart of government, but also of the standards expected of the entire British population at the time’".
He also called for the report to be published in full.
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.”
Later last month, he accused Number 10 of "blackmailing" rebels who were plotting against the PM.
\u201cHe\u2019s damaging us now, he\u2019s damaging the entire Conservative brand\u201d\n \n@CarolineNokes calls on @BorisJohnson to resign. \n \n#Pestonpic.twitter.com/h2Xzj2NN54
Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee and former minister Nokes told ITV’s Peston that Johnson was “damaging” for the party.
She said: “He looks like a liability and I think he either goes now, or he goes in three years’ time at a general election. And it’s up to the party to decide which way around that’s going to be.
“I know my thoughts are that he’s damaging us now, he’s damaging the entire Conservative brand with an unwillingness to accept the strictures that other people have lived by.”
Asked if she felt it was better for the sake of their party if Johnson goes now, Nokes said: “Absolutely.”
Sir Roger Gale
'Enough is enough, a red line has been crossed'\n\nVeteran Tory Sir Roger Gale tells @BorisJohnson he can either resign 'with dignity... or the 1922 Committee will have to take action' https://www.itv.com/news/2022-01-12/johnson-faces-demands-to-come-clean-over-bring-your-own-booze-party\u00a0\u2026pic.twitter.com/ddRfHI1bvk
Gale told ITV News that the prime minister should either resign “with dignity” or backbench Tories will be forced to remove him with letters of no confidence.
He said “a red line” had been crossed.
After the police asked Gray's probe to make “minimal reference” to incidents it is investigating, he said they were creating a "farce".
Bridgen became the fifth Tory MP to tell his leader to leave. In mid January, 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”.
The sixth Tory MP to tell Johnson to pack his suitcase (and not with wine), former Children’s Minister Loughton said PM’s position had become “untenable”, and his departure was the “only way to bring this whole unfortunate episode to an end.”
In a Facebook post, he wrote: “I have regretfully come to the conclusion that Boris Johnson’s position is now untenable, that his resignation is the only way to bring this whole unfortunate episode to an end and I am working with colleagues to impress that view on No 10.
"The longer that he resists the inevitable the more damage that will be done to his reputation and his legacy and that is why I hope this can be resolved satisfactorily by him in the next few days.
“If not, then I know what I need to do without any more advice, thank you very much.”
Absolutely devastating by Theresa May.pic.twitter.com/Iixj2YitQB
The former prime minister had strong words to say to her successor yesterday. Speaking in the house of commons after the report was published, she asked him if he had "read the rules", saying:
"What the Gray report does show is that No 10 Downing Street was not observing the regulations they had imposed on members of the public.
"So either my right honourable friend had not read the rules or didn't understand what they meant and others around him, or they didn't think the rules applied to Number 10. Which was it?"
Johnson replied: "No... that is not what the Gray report says. I suggest that she waits to see the conclusion of the inquiry."
Former Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell told MPs that Boris Johnson no longer has his support following the publication of Sue Gray\u2019s update.\n\nThe prime minister replied he hopes he will reconsider.\nhttps://www.itv.com/news/2022-01-31/sue-gray-report-condemns-serious-failure-in-number-10-to-observe-rules\u00a0\u2026pic.twitter.com/PqRb7pdIz7
During the same debate, Mitchell told Johnson "he no longer enjoys my support".
He said: "I am deeply concerned by these events and very concerned indeed by some of the things he has said from that despatch box and has said to the British public and our constituents.
"When he kindly invited me to see him 10 days ago, I told him that I thought he should think very carefully about what was now in the best interests of our country and of the Conservative Party, and I have to tell him he no longer enjoys my support."
The MP for Guildford revealed on Facebook that she had resigned last week as a ministerial aide over the parties and said Gray's report "clearly states that there were failings at No 10 Downing Street that let us all down" after it was published.
Ellwood said his support for the PM rested on whether Johnson releases the Gray report in full after it is published. Johnson has committed to doing so. He tweeted:
The PM promised to publish the Sue Gray Report in full so Parliament and the British people could better appreciate the facts and draw their own conclusions.\n\nIf the PM fails to publish the report in full then he will no longer have my support.pic.twitter.com/S7lO7xWs1l
Bell suggested his patience with the PM was running out during a recent speech in the Commons. He said he had attended his grandmother's funeral during the first lockdown, adding: "I didn't hug my siblings. I didn't hug my parents. I gave the eulogy and then afterwards I didn't even go to her house for cup of tea. I drove back three hours from Kent to Staffordshire. Does the prime minister think I'm a fool?"
Later, he posted a supportive message about Richardson, referencing her resignation.
Proud to call Angela my friend.https://twitter.com/darrenmccaffrey/status/1488219506791047171\u00a0\u2026
The chairman of the culture select committee told Times Radio that he was "very open-minded about the possibility of Johnson being ousted from power.
One Tory MP was so done with Johnson that he defected to the Labour Party minutes before a session of PMQs in January. Wakeford said: "My decision is about much more than the leadership of Boris Johnson and the disgraceful way he has conducted himself in recent weeks.”
He was believed to be one of those to have written a letter of no confidence in the prime minister about Downing Street parties.
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi
The former co-chairman of the Conservative Party and member of the House of Lords appeared to express her support for Johnson's removal as early as December.
Every minister , parliamentarian & staffer at the #downingstreetparty must resign NOW.\nNo ifs no buts\nThe rule of law is a fundamental value , the glue that hold us together as a nation.\nOnce that is trashed by those in power the very essence of our democracy is at stake.
In February, Mangnall admitted he had sent a letter of no-confidence in the PM. He tweeted:
Standards in public life matter.\n\nAt this time I can no longer support the PM. His actions and mistruths are overshadowing the extraordinary work of so many excellent ministers and colleagues.\n\nI have submitted a letter of no confidence.
— Anthony Mangnall MP (@Anthony Mangnall MP)
Streeter, who was elected to parliament in 1992, is another Tory MP who has publicly revealed he has submitted a letter. Writing on Facebook, he said he had wanted to wait for Gray's report and since it had been published he had come to his decision.
He said: "I cannot reconcile the pain and sacrifice of the vast majority of the British Public during lockdown with the attitude and activities of those working in Downing Street. Accordingly, I have now submitted a letter seeking a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister."
As well as dealing with Partygate, Johnson is now facing the fallout from his false claim that Starmer failed to prosecute Jimmy Savile while he was the head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
He has annoyed members of his own party who have called for him to withdraw his comments and it led to one of his senior members of staff in Downing Street, Munira Mirza, resigning.
The smear made against Keir Starmer relating to Jimmy Saville yesterday is wrong & cannot be defended. It should be withdrawn. False and baseless personal slurs are dangerous, corrode trust & can't just be accepted as part of the cut & thrust of parliamentary debate.
And Neill agrees with Smith, even if he can't get Starmer's name right.
@JulianSmithUK is right. This suggestion is baseless and unworthy, even in the cut and thrust of political debate. There are plenty of reasons to attack Keith Starmer and Labour on their policies but not a false premise. Let\u2019s at least fight out politics cleanly.https://twitter.com/juliansmithuk/status/1488436899215818753\u00a0\u2026
Walker - the MP who wanted to protest lockdown measures by prancing about with a pint of milk - wants Johnson to walk. He said he would “applaud” the PM if he took the decision to stand down.
He also said he is quitting at the next general election because after 17 years as an MP he has had quite enough.
The MP for Aldous is another calling for Johnson to resign.
“After a great deal of soul-searching, I have reached the conclusion that the Prime Minister should resign,” he wrote on Twitter. “It is clear that he has no intention of doing so and I have therefore written to the chairman of the 1922 Committee of Backbench Conservative MPs, advising him that I have no confidence in the Prime Minister as leader of the Conservative Party.
“I have never taken such action before and had hoped that I would not be put in such an invidious position. Whilst I am conscious that others will disagree with me, I believe that this is in the best interests of the country, the Government and the Conservative Party.”
Davis called on Johnson to resign in the most dramatic way.
During PMQs earlier this month, the former Brexit minister told the PM he had spent weeks defending him from “angry constituents” but said he expected leaders to “shoulder the responsibility for the actions they take”.
“You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. In the name of God, go.”
Gibb has also announced he has sent a letter of no-confidence in the PM.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the former minister said his constituents were "furious about the double standards" and that "to restore trust, we need to change the prime minister".
He said Covid restrictions imposed by Boris Johnson were "flagrantly disregarded" in Downing Street, and the PM was inaccurate when, in December, he told the House of Commons there was no party.
"Some argue that eating a few canapes with a glass of prosecco is hardly a reason to resign. But telling the truth matters, and nowhere more so than in the House of Commons where, like a court of law, truth must be told regardless of the personal consequences," he wrote.
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