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PM Told Delegation Of Cabinet Ministers Waiting In Downing Street To Tell Him To Go

PM Told Delegation Of Cabinet Ministers Waiting In Downing Street To Tell Him To Go
4 min read

The Prime Minister was informed during his appearance in front of the liaison committee that a delegation of his Cabinet ministers was waiting for him at Downing Street to ask him to resign.

PoliticsHome understands that Welsh secretary Simon Hart, transport secretary Grant Shapps, and newly-appointed chancellor Nadhim Zahawi are among those awaiting his arrival.

Business select committee chair Darren Jones informed the PM of the reports towards the end of the gruelling session.

It comes on a bruising day for Boris Johnson in which dozens of members of his government announced their resignation in the wake of allegations relating to former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher.

On Tuesday, his chancellor Rishi Sunak and health secretary Sajid Javid quit suddenly, and have since been followed by other ministers including Kemi Badenoch, Neil O'Brien, Alex Burghart, Lee Rowley and Julia Lopez.

Other Cabinet ministers have also begun calling for Johnson to go. A source close to Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis, who is currently in Belfast, told PoliticsHome that he “believes the situation is now untenable and has made his views clear to the chief whip”. 

Boris Johnson said during his appearance before the liaison committee — which consists of the chairs of other parliamentary committees — that he would not resign, despite being told that the “game is up” by SNP MP Angus MacNeil, who chairs the international trade committee.

"Rather than giving a running commentary on my own career I'm here to talk about what the government is doing,” the PM said.

Pushed by MacNeil on a technical question about holding elections, he added that he does not want MPs to be “electioneering now or in the immediate future”. 

“I think we need to get on with serving our voters and dealing with the issues they care about.”

He also said he had no plans to trigger a snap general election, insisting he had a strong mandate from the 2019 election.

"I look at the issues that this country faces, I look at the pressures people are under and the need for government to focus on their priorities, which is what we are doing; I look at the biggest war in Europe for 80 years and I cannot for the life of me see how it is responsible just to walk away from that," he said.

PoliticsHome understands that there is concern among senior Tories that the PM dissolving parliament to hold an early election would put the Queen in a difficult position.

William Wragg, chair of the public administration and constitutional affairs committee, asked Johnson “at which point does it become impossible” for government to continue following the mass resignations.

But Johnson insisted he would be able to recruit new ministers from the current crop of Tory MPs. He responded: “I really think you are underestimating the talent, energy and sheer ambition of Members of Parliament, and they want to get things done. The Government of this country is continuing with ever-increasing energy.”

Wragg pointed out that two more ministers had resigned during the PM’s time at the committee, and asked if there was sufficient supply “of those young thrusters on the back benches” to replace them. 

“I think it highly likely, yes,” Johnson said.

During the meeting, Huw Merriman, chair of the transport committee, published a statement confirming he no longer supports Johnson and calling on the 1922 Committee to alter its rules to be able to conduct a vote of confidence.

However, the 1922 commitee has since voted not to change its rules to allow a second vote of confidence in Johnson.

The elections for the new executive committee of the 1922 have now been pushed until Monday, and nominations are currently open. They will close at midday on Monday.

Members of the committee stated that it would not be right to have a rule change without a new executive.

The timing for the election means the earliest a new confidence vote in the Prime Minister can take place is Monday evening.

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