Senior Tory Confirms He Will Vote To Oust Boris Johnson Over Lack Of "Integrity, Competence And Vision"
Former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has confirmed he will vote to replace Boris Johnson as Tory leader when a confidence vote in the Prime Minister is held tonight.
On Monday morning, chair of the 1922 committee of Conservative backbenchers Sir Graham Brady confirmed that the number of MPs who had submitted letters of no confidence in the Prime Minister had reached a threshold of 15%, triggering a confidence vote.
The vote will be held between 6pm and 8pm this evening, and Johnson will need the support of at least 180 MPs in order to remain in Downing Street.
In a statement posted on Twitter, senior Conservative MP Hunt, who has also held the position of health secretary, described the Prime Minister as lacking the "integrity, competence and vision needed to lead the UK".
Hunt, who recently told PoliticsHome he would not rule out running against Johnson, is viewed as a favourite to replace the embattled Prime Minister.
“The Conservative Party must now decide if it wishes to change its leader,” Hunt said on Monday morning.
“Because of the situation in Ukraine this was not a debate I wanted to have now but under our rules we must do that,” he added.
“Anyone who believes our country is stronger, fairer and more prosperous when led by Conservatives should reflect that the consequence of not changing will be to hand the country to others who do not share those values.
“Today’s decision is change or lose. I will be voting for change.”
A government source dismissed Hunt's intervention. “There is something rather symbolic about Hunt navel gazing on Twitter while the PM is on a call with Zelenksy discussing further support for Ukraine,” they said.
In a second explosive intervention, anti-corruption tsar John Penrose, MP for Weston-super-Mare, resigned from the government appointed position.
Penrose said he was "sorry" to have to resign, but feels it is clear that Johnson broke the ministerial code.
Last week Johnson's ethics adviser Lord Geidt wrote to the Prime Minister accusing him of not promptly responding to a request for an explanation as to whether the ministerial code had been broken due to partygate. Johnson blamed a breakdown in communication and insisted that he did not believe the ministerial code had been broken.
"I’m sorry to have to resign as the PM’s Anti-Corruption Tsar but, after his reply last week about the Ministerial Code, it’s pretty clear he has broken it," Penrose, who is also Chair of Conservative Policy Forum said on Monday.
"That’s a resigning matter for me, and it should be for the PM too."
Guildford MP and former Parliamentart Private Secretary Angela Richardson has also confirmed she will vote against the Prime Minister's continued leadership on Monday evening.
In a statement the MP said the findings of civil servant Sue Gray's report into gatherings held in Downing Street and Whitehall during lockdown left her feeling "deep disappointment" in government.
"Given that, I will be voting No Confidence in Boris Johnson this evening," Richardson said.
Following in Richardson's footsteps, Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones confirmed he will vote against the Prime Minister tonight.
In a statement the former minister said he believes "law-makers can't be law-breakers".
"I have received emails from hundreds of people and the overwhelming majority of these think the Prime Minister should resign," Jones said.
Questions around Johnson's popularity among the public were raised again over the Platinum Jubilee weekend after the Prime Minister was booed while walking into St Paul's Cathedral for a service of thanksgiving.
Downing Street insisted the incident was an outlier and maintained Johnson is still supported by the British people.
"He was focused on on the service ahead, and obviously people were able to express their views," a Downing Street spokesperson said.
"As the Prime Minister travels around the country, I think those of you that travel with him see sort of positive responses he gets," they added.
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