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Senior Tories urge Boris Johnson to quit after party apology

January 13, 2022 6:52 am
Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson is facing calls from senior Tories to stand down as prime minister after he admitted attending a drinks party during lockdown.

The PM apologised for the way he had handled the event in the Downing Street garden in 2020 and said he understood the public’s “rage” over it.

Cabinet members including deputy PM Dominic Raab rallied round Mr Johnson.

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But Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross and senior backbenchers William Wragg and Caroline Nokes called on him to go.

Mr Ross, an MP and an MSP, said he had a “difficult conversation” with Mr Johnson after the PM’s apology to MPs earlier on Wednesday.

He said he would write to the 1922 Committee – which organises Tory leadership contests – to register his lack of confidence in the PM.

“He is the prime minister, it is his government that put these rules in place, and he has to be held to account for his actions,” he said.

If 54 backbench Conservative MPs send letters to the 1922 committee it will trigger a leadership challenge.

Ministers have urged MPs to wait for the outcome of an investigation into alleged Covid-rule breaking at Downing Street parties by senior civil servant Sue Gray, which they say will be published shortly.

But another backbencher William Wragg, who chairs an influential select committee, said the prime minister’s position was “untenable”.

“I don’t think it should be left to the findings of a civil servant to determine the future of the prime minister and indeed who governs this country,” he told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme.

And fellow Tory Caroline Nokes, who chairs another Commons committee, said the prime minister should resign now as he was “damaging the entire Conservative brand”.

She told ITV’s Robert Peston: “Regretfully, he looks like a liability. And I think he either goes now, or he goes in three years’ time at a general election.”

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