Third letter of no confidence in Boris Johnson submitted in one day in wake of partygate scandal

Pressure continues to build on the primer minister, as Political Correspondent Shehab Khan reports

Three letters of no confidence in Boris Johnson's leadership have been submitted today - a crushing blow for a prime minister whose days in Downing Street could be numbered.

Sir Gary Streeter joined senior Tory Tobias Ellwood and Anthony Mangnall on the growing list of backbench Conservatives calling to have Mr Johnson removed as prime minister.

South West Devon MP Sir Gary wrote on Facebook: "I cannot reconcile the pain and sacrifice of the vast majority of the British Public during lockdown with the attitude and activities of those working in Downing Street.

"Accordingly, I have now submitted a letter seeking a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister.

"I have not come to this decision lightly. It is not my intention to say any more about this matter."

Boris Johnson has been in Ukraine trying to prevent a Russian invasion, but he's been unable to escape the partygate saga. Credit: Number 10

Mr Ellwood, chair of the Commons Defence Committee said he would be submitting a letter of no confidence in the PM's leadership today - adding to the around 20 already submitted to the 1922 Committee.

Explaining his decision to ITV News, Mr Ellwood said Tory MPs are faced with the "increasingly difficult" task of justifying the alleged Dowining Street parties.

"Let's cut to the chase. Why doesn't the prime minister call a vote of no confidence in himself so that we can make a judgement as to whether there is the support for him, and then we move on, or it's now time to elect a new leader," the Conservative MP for Bournemouth East said.

Senior Tory MP Tobias Ellwood gives his reason for submitting a letter

Mr Mangnall, the MP for Totnes and South Devon, tweeted that he could "can no longer support the PM".

He wrote: "Standards in public life matter. At this time I can no longer support the PM. His actions and mistruths are overshadowing the extraordinary work of so many excellent ministers and colleagues. I have submitted a letter of no confidence."

Mr Ellwood said he'd also taken issue with the PM's false accusation levelled at Keir Starmer in the House of Commons that the Labour leader had failed to prosecute paedophile Jimmy Savile.

"Who advised the prime minister to say this?" He asked. "We're better than this, we must seek to improve our standards and rise above where we are today."

He added: "I don't think the prime minister realises how worried colleagues are in every corner of the party, backbenchers and ministers alike, that this is all only going one way and will invariably slide towards a very ugly place."

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries described the three Tory MPs as "selfish" as she attempted to dismiss them as "a handful of egos".

The fierce ally of the prime minister tweeted: "The defining mission of the PM & this government is to level up the whole of the UK.

"On the very day we are setting out steps to make this happen, a handful of egos want to make it all about them. It's selfish, doing Labours work and it's really not helping their constituents."

Levelling up Secretary Michael Gove told ITV News he believes Mr Ellwood has made the wrong decision.

It's another blow for the prime minister on a day he's to face angry MPs at PMQs - two weeks ago Christian Wakeford defected from the Tories to Labour just before the session began.

He was then urged to quit by during PMQs by David Davis, the most senior backbencher so far to call on Mr Johnson to resign.

The PM has been struggling to change the partygate narrative, despite travelling more than 2,000 kilometres away from Westminster this week.

He flew to Ukraine in a bid to help prevent a Russian invasion there but he could not escape allegations of Covid-19 lockdown-breaking gatherings in Downing Street and Whitehall, and was even asked about it while holding a press conference with President Volodymyr Zelensky.

More allegations against Mr Johnson surfaced on Tuesday evening, with newspapers reporting he was inside his flat for a gathering which is currently being investigated by police.

It is one of 12 events subject to criminal investigations by the Metropolitan Police, which launched its own probe after being passed evidence by Sue Gray - the civil servant who was conducting an internal inquiry into partygate.

She condemned a "failure of leadership" in Number 10 under the prime minister's watch, but was unable to evidence of potential criminality that she'd uncovered because of the police investigation.

Number 10 has committed to publish her full findings when the police probe concludes within "weeks".

Will there be a vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson?

11 MPs have publicly called on the PM to resign and there's understood to be many more privately hoping he can be removed.

The chair of the 1922 Committee, which is effectively the party's HR division representing backbench MPs, is duty bound to keep anonymous how many letters of no confidence he receives until it hits the threshold of 54.

At that point a confidence vote will be triggered. If Mr Johnson wins by more then 50 percent he will remain leader and be immune from another attempt to remove him for a whole year.

If he loses there will be a new leadership election, at which it is possible he could compete.