PM 'should be worrying' as more letters of no confidence expected, senior Conservative peer says

Boris Johnson could soon face a leadership contest, after three MPs submitted letters on Wednesday. Credit: PA

Boris Johnson "should be worrying" about an "organisation" of backbench Tories who are conspiring to have him removed as prime minister, a senior Conservative peer has said.

Three letters of no confidence were submitted in the PM on Wednesday and Ruth Davidson told ITV's Good Morning Britain that it appears the same will happen again today.

"What should be worrying Downing Street is that yesterday, and what looks like is going to happen today with the letters, is organised - so there is an organisation from people that don't think the prime minister is going to lead us into the next general election," she said.

Baroness Davidson, a lauded former leader of the Scottish Conservatives who has called on the PM to resign over partygate, said her letter of no confidence would have been submitted a "long time ago" if she were a Member of Parliament.

In a scathing attack on Mr Johnson, she said: "If you cannot lead by example in a time of national crisis then you are not a leader."

Tories Tobias Ellwood, Anthony Mangall and Sir Gary Streeter all submitted letters of no confidence in the prime minister's leadership on Wednesday.

They all cited the partygate scandal as the reason for losing faith in Mr Johnson, who is currently subject to a police investigation over his involvement.

Seven letters have been submitted publicly however the true total is understood to be more like 20 because the 1922 Committee which collects the letters keeps MPs who send them anonymous.

It takes 54 letters of no confidence to trigger a vote of no confidence which if the prime minister loses could result in a new leadership election.

But Baroness Davidson said the process "may take time and go very slowly until it goes fast".

Mr Ellwood told ITV News he has "absolutely no doubt" that there will be a vote of no confidence soon and called on Mr Johnson to "cut to the chase" and call one himself.

Minister James Cleverly, who was sent out by the government to defend the PM in a round of broadcast interviews dismissed the idea.

"I don't think we should preempt [a vote of no confidence] because a significantly smaller [than 54 MPs] are being very, very vocal.

"These are people who I like and respected - I just disagree with."