As the instability at 10 Downing Street continues, another Conservative MP has called on Boris Johnson to quit.
Former minister Nick Gibb is the latest Tory to issue a letter of no confidence in the ongoing debate over events in No. 10 during the lockdown. Conservative MP Stephen Hammond said he is “considering very carefully” whether he still has faith in the Prime Minister. However, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said that Mr Johnson had the backing of a “vast majority” of Conservative MPs.
Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror says that a photo of Mr Johnson carrying a beer at a birthday party has been sent over to police investigating Covid violations.
The photo was one of 300 sent to the Metropolitan Police inquiry into 12 purported meetings, according to the article, and was considered to have been shot by the PM’s official photographer, who is paid by the taxpayer.
It claimed to show the prime minister holding a can of beer at a June 2020 function in No. 10’s Cabinet Room, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who was holding a soft drink. Law prohibited gatherings of more than two individuals indoors at the time.
It comes at the conclusion of a terrible week for the Prime Minister, which has seen five No. 10 aides quit and the release of the preliminary findings of the Sue Gray study into events at Downing Street when Covid restrictions were in place.
Mr Gibb, who has worked under three prime ministers and was sacked as schools minister in Boris Johnson’s reshuffle last September, wrote in the Daily Telegraph that his people were “furious about the double standards” and that “to restore trust, we need to change the prime minister”
He said that Mr Johnson’s Covid limitations were “flagrantly disregarded” in Downing Street, and that the Prime Minister was mistaken when he informed the House of Commons in December that there was no party.
“Some believe that a few canapés and a glass of prosecco isn’t enough of an excuse to quit. But stating the truth is important, especially in the House of Commons, where, like in a court of law, the truth must be revealed regardless of the personal repercussions “he penned
“I think all Conservative colleagues, all of whom I know, are in it for trying to do the best for their constituents, and the country will be wrestling with their consciences this weekend,” Stephen Hammond, Conservative MP for Wimbledon, told BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster: “I think all Conservative colleagues, all of whom I know, are in it for trying to do the best for their constituents, and the country will be wrestling with their consciences this weekend.”
Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen said on Newsnight that it was now the cabinet’s role to “show leadership” and “confront” the problem of the prime minister’s leadership.
However, his Tory colleague Richard Bacon said that it was up to the public to change administrations, not politicians.
Former trade secretary Liam Fox warned that the party was at risk of becoming distracted from major issues like inflation, the energy crisis, and the situation in Ukraine.
Some of Mr Johnson’s supporters, including one former cabinet minister, have accused Chancellor Rishi Sunak of being disloyal at a difficult time when he distanced himself from the prime minister’s contentious statements about Sir Keir Starmer this week.
Munira Mirza, the policy chief at No 10, resigned on Thursday, calling Mr Johnson’s remarks about Sir Keir “scurrilous”
During his term as director of public prosecutions, the prime minister erroneously claimed that the Labour leader had failed to pursue paedophile Jimmy Savile.