Keir Starmer demands snap election as Sunak's Tories gripped by turmoil

Pressure is piling on the prime minister, political correspondent Harry Horton reports

Sir Keir Starmer is demanding a snap election as the Conservative Party is hit by turmoil.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is facing a third by-election test after a close ally of Boris Johnson resigned from the Commons with "immediate effect".

In a tumultuous 24 hours for the Tory Party, Nigel Adams MP announced on Saturday that he was following the former prime minister and former culture secretary Nadine Dorries' lead in quitting Westminster.

ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston understands "one more" resignation could follow those that have already been served.

In the wake of the wave of resignations, Labour leader Sir Keir tweeted: "This farce must stop. People have had enough of a shambolic Tory government and a weak Prime Minister no one voted for."Rishi Sunak must finally find a backbone, call an election, and let the public have their say on 13 years of Tory failure."

In a tweet, Mr Adams said: "Yesterday, Selby Conservatives selected an excellent new parliamentary candidate.

"I've today informed the chief whip that I will be standing down as a Member of Parliament with immediate effect. It has been an honour to represent the area where I was raised [and] educated."

Mr Adams and Ms Dorries had been tipped for peerages in Mr Johnson's resignation honours but neither featured in Friday's published list.

There has been speculation that Downing Street wanted their names removed to avoid by-election contests, although No 10 said Mr Sunak had no involvement in producing the final list.

The prime minister has yet to comment on Mr Johnson's departure.

While the Tories enjoy a comfortable 20,000 majority in Selby and Ainsty, Mr Adams' decision to exit immediately rather than wait until the next election means the Tories will face contests on three fronts.

Mr Johnson sensationally quit Westminster on Friday as he launched a fierce attack on the Commons Privileges Committee investigation into whether he misled MPs with his assurances over parties held in Downing Street during coronavirus lockdowns.

In a 1,000-word statement, he said the seven-person panel, which is chaired by veteran Labour MP Harriet Harman but has a Conservative majority, was on a "witch hunt" and compared it with a "kangaroo court".

Mr Johnson said he was "bewildered and appalled" at being "forced out, anti-democratically" by a probe that he claimed had set out from the beginning to "find me guilty, regardless of the facts".

He denied lying to MPs and said he "corrected the record as soon as possible" after receiving information about lockdown gatherings in No 10.

The former Tory leader's Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat was in Labour's top 100 targets at the next election even before Mr Johnson's resignation.

Earlier on Friday, Ms Dorries kickstarted the spate of resignations, announcing her decision just hours after saying she would stay on until the next election.

In a statement, she said: "I have today informed the chief whip that I am standing down as the MP for Mid Bedfordshire, with immediate effect.

"It has been an honour to serve as the MP for such a wonderful constituency but it is now time for someone younger to take the reins."

When quizzed by TalkTV host Vanessa Feltz as to why she had decided to quit, Ms Dorries said: "I can't reveal everything. Something significant did happen to change my mind... and I think it's for the best."

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