Tory rebellion builds momentum as MPs and former minister urge PM to quit

Boris Johnson is struggling to retain support from his backbenches. Credit: PA

Boris Johnson's role as UK prime minister is hanging in the balance after three more Tory MPs, including a former minister, urged him to quit after viewing the damning Sue Gray report into Downing Street parties - and another told the PM to submit himself to a confidence vote.

Conservative former attorney general Jeremy Wright was the first backbencher to call on Mr Johnson to resign on Monday, followed by Elliot Colburn who submitted a letter of no confidence in the PM.

Hours later Nickie Aiken, who became the MP for Cities of London and Westminster in 2019, said she was “incredulous and appalled” by the Gray report, adding that she would put herself forward for a confidence vote were she in Mr Johnson's position.

This was followed by Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen who submitted a letter of no confidence in Mr Johnson.

In a statement issued on Monday, he said he believed "during the initial stages of the Russia/Ukraine war that it would be wrong to have a leadership contest".

“There have, however, been further revelations over the past week and there is obviously and rightly still a lot of anger about the culture in Number 10 during the lockdown period," he added.

“I and colleagues have put in a letter of no confidence over the past few days and it may well be the numbers are close to triggering a vote of no confidence."

ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener explains the latest from the fallout in the Tory party following the damning Sue Gray report

Mr Wright wrote in a statement on his website saying he believes the prime minister should resign "for the good of this and future governments".

He said the Partygate scandal had caused "real and lasting damage to the reputation not just of this government but to the institutions and authority of government more generally".

A letter of no confidence from Elliot Colburn swiftly followed. The MP for Carshalton and Wallington, who joined Parliament in 2019, did not release a public statement but his office confirmed to ITV News that he'd told his constituents the news in an email.

And Ms Aiken said she believed Mr Johnson is "genuinely sorry" for what happened in Downing Street but said he should call a vote of confidence to end "speculation" over his future.

Elliot Colburn, Nickie Aiken and Jeremy Wright have all expressed a loss of confidence in the prime minister on Monday. Credit: Parliament

It comes after former health minister Steve Brine and Anne Marie Morris both called for the prime minister to quit over the weekend.

More than 20 Tory MPs have now called on Mr Johnson to quit, however it takes 54 of them to demand a vote of no confidence in order for one to be triggered.

There was a flurry of Tories urging Mr Johnson to quit after Ms Gray's report into Partygate condemned widespread rule breaking on Downing Street and blamed a "failure of leadership" in No10 for the party culture there.

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Eyebrows were raised when more moderate Tories, not often regarded as rebels, added their names to the growing list.

John Baron and David Simmonds are considered in that group, as is Tory MP Paul Holmes who quit as Home Secretary Priti Patel's parliamentary aide on Friday over the "toxic culture" in No 10 uncovered by Ms Gray.

Which Tories are publicly calling on Boris Johnson to quit?

All Tories on the below list have publicly called on Mr Johnson to resign but they may not have submitted letters of no confidence, formally demanding a vote on his leadership.

  • Roger Gale

  • Mark Harper

  • Steve Baker

  • Peter Aldous

  • Will Wragg

  • Julian Sturdy

  • John Baron

  • David Simmonds

  • Nigel Mills

  • Craig Whittaker

  • Neil Hudson

  • David Davis

  • Karen Bradley

  • Angela Richardson

  • Aaron Bell

  • Tobias Ellwood

  • Caroline Nokes

  • Tim Loughton

  • Gary Streeter

  • Anthony Mangnall

  • Nick Gibb

  • Stephen Hammond

  • Sir Bob Neil

  • Andrew Mitchell

  • Anne Marie Morris (who, after having the Tory whip restored, has resubmitted her letter)

  • Steve Brine

  • Alicia Kearns

  • Jeremy Wright

  • Elliot Colburn

  • Andrew Bridgen

It's possible and perhaps likely that some Tories have submitted letters of no confidence but not publicly revealed it.

What is the process for backbench Tories to remove their leader?

Tory MPs are able to force a vote of no confidence in their leader if they won't resign.

To do so requires 15% of the parliamentary party to submit letters of no confidence to the 1922 Committee, which is effectively a HR department for backbenchers.

It would take 54 letters of no confidence to trigger a secret ballot, with a simple majority required for either side to win.

  • If more than 50% of Tory MPs vote to remove him, he will lose his role of party leader and be barred from competing in the forthcoming leadership election.

  • If the leader wins over half the votes, then they remain party leader and are given a year's immunity from any further confidence votes.

  • If a party leader loses a confidence vote then MPs from across the party can be nominated as potential replacements.

The 1922 Committee will determine how many nominations an MP will require to appear on the ballot.

If more than two qualify then MPs will vote on their preference, leaving two final candidates who must then appeal to party members for votes before being elected leader.