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MPs Have "Pens Poised" On No Confidence Letters As Boris Johnson Braces For Sue Gray Report

MPs Have 'Pens Poised' On No Confidence Letters As Boris Johnson Braces For Sue Gray Report
3 min read

Conservative MPs are considering whether to submit letters of no confidence in Boris Johnson tomorrow when Sue Gray's highly-anticipated report into lockdown parties is expected to be published.

Several Tory MPs say they have their "pens poised" and have been consulting their colleagues on whether to send letters to Graham Brady, the chair of the Tory party's 1922 Committee, once the report is released, PoliticsHome understands.

To get rid of a Conservative leader, at least 54 of the party's MPs must submit letters to Brady, triggering a confidence vote in the House of Commons. The prime minister would need to win the support of a majority of MPs in order to remain in office. 

There has been a long-held view among a number of Conservative MPs that they should wait for Gray to publish her report before making a decision on whether to launch a bid to oust Johnson.

He has so far managed to avoid a confidence vote, despite being fined by the Met Police for his involvement in the partygate scandal, and the Conservative party losing nearly 500 councils seats at the local elections earlier this month.

Gray's report into law-breaking events held in Downing Street and Whitehall during lockdown is widely expected to be published on Wednesday. The publication of the senior civil servant's findings was delayed after the Met Police launched its own investigation into the parties.

The Met issued 126 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) to those found guilty of breaching lockdown regulations, including one for the Prime Minister. 

However, the force is facing questions over why it didn't fine Johnson for his attendance at a leaving drinks held for his former director of communications on 13 November 2021, after pictures leaked to ITV and reported on Monday appeared to show him drinking wine and raising a toast.

The prime minister is preparing to make a House of Commons statement once Downing Street publishes the report. He is also set to address the 1922 Committee meeting of Conservative MPs tomorrow, and it is understood that he plans to address the nation in a press conference.

Senior Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, who leads the foreign affairs select committee, on Tuesday said he was "talking to colleagues" about whether they should attempt to force Johnson out. 

He told Times Radio that Conservative MPs “need to focus on who is going to lead us into the future" after ITV published the image of Johnson at the November 2021 gathering.

Tugendhat, who is tipped to run for leader if Johnson is ousted, said: "I think it’s time for all of us to look at what this country needs.

“We should be pretty ruthless in our views.

"It's absolutely essential that whenever we come up to an electoral event, we look ahead, we look forward. What is the best answer for the United Kingdom?”

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