Boris Johnson is warned he is ‘on probation’ as another Tory MP tells him to quit over Partygate
- Tory MP Sir Charles Walker said Boris would show ‘great courage’ if he resigned
- MP for Waveney Peter Aldous became 10th Tory to submit no confidence letter
- But a Cabinet source says they believe Boris still has time to ‘win people around’
A tenth Conservative MP submitted a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister yesterday as another called on him to show ‘great courage’ and resign.
Boris Johnson was last night warned he is ‘on probation’ over Partygate as Peter Aldous, who represents Waveney in Suffolk, became the latest Tory to formally call for him to resign.
Several other Conservative MPs also offered pointed criticism of Mr Johnson, denting hopes in Downing Street that his apology over the Partygate row had calmed tempers.
Sir Charles Walker, vice chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, last night announced he will quit Parliament as he urged the PM to stand down over Partygate.
He said that Mr Johnson would show ‘great courage’ if he chose to resign.
‘I think people are angry, I think there’s a lot of grief and pain and anxiety out in the country which was natural after 20 months lockdown,’ he told Channel 4 News.
Boris Johnson (pictured in Kyiv Tuesday) was last night warned he is ‘on probation’ over Partygate
Peter Aldous (pictured), who represents Waveney in Suffolk, became the latest Tory to formally call for him to resign.
He refused to reveal whether he had sent a letter of no confidence to 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady but announced he would not stand at the next election.
A Cabinet source said: ‘It feels like high noon has been delayed.
‘Yes there is more time – the PM has got the chance to win people round, things could change – but it hasn’t gone away. He’s on probation.’
Tory whips had been optimistic that the Prime Minister’s performance in front of backbench MPs on Monday night had been enough to secure an uneasy truce with his internal critics, with sources briefing reporters that he had ‘won the room’.
Loyalist MP Michael Fabricant said the PM had ‘really worked the room’, adding: ‘I think by the end it was like a Billy Graham evangelical love-in. He apologised again, but then outlined where we go from here.
But yesterday saw the number of Mr Johnson’s own MPs publicly criticising him continue to rise.
In a statement on Twitter Mr Aldous became the tenth Conservative MP to call for the Prime Minister to resign and the fourth to confirm he has submitted a formal letter of no confidence to backbench shop steward Sir Graham Brady.
Mr Aldous said it was ‘in the best interests of the country, the Government and the Conservative Party’.
Earlier, the former chief whip Andrew Mitchell warned that the Partygate row risked causing more damage to the reputation of the Conservative Party than the expenses scandal a decade ago.
In a statement on Twitter Mr Aldous became the tenth Conservative MP to call for the Prime Minister to resign and the fourth to confirm he has submitted a formal letter of no confidence to backbench shop steward Sir Graham Brady (pictured).
Former chief whip Andrew Mitchell (pictured) warned that the Partygate row risked causing more damage to the reputation of the Conservative Party than the expenses scandal a decade ago
Mr Mitchell, a close ally of fellow rebel David Davis, said the claims about lockdown parties were acting like ‘battery acid’ on public trust and ‘corroding the fabric of the Conservative Party’.
Allies of the Prime Minister were privately pointing out that one of the so-called ‘Pork Pie Plotters’ seeking to oust Mr Johnson had returned to the fold in the wake of the PM’s defence of his conduct this week.
Gary Sambrook, who represents Birmingham, Northfield, said the Prime Minister had now ‘made promises on how he wants to change how he does things, how he wants to deliver for my constituents and the UK and I support him in doing that’.
But a number of other Conservatives continued to voice concerns. Former minister Sir Gary Streeter said he was ‘wrestling with my conscience’ over whether to give Mr Johnson his continued support.
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt said that even on the limited evidence in the public domain it was ‘very clear that none of this is acceptable, excusable, or defensible’.
He said Mr Johnson had his support for now and that it was not the time to depose the Prime Minister, but that a line could not be drawn under the saga until the full report was published.
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