‘That will be the trigger’ Boris’s judgement day pinpointed as fed up Tories ‘hold out’

Boris Johnson is in 'real trouble' says William Hague

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The Prime Minister is facing a steady stream of criticism from within his own party following the publication of the Sue Gray report last Wednesday. A flurry of Tory MPs have confirmed they have sent letters of no confidence in the Prime Minister to the chair of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers. On Tuesday, Carlisle MP John Stevenson confirmed he was one of them, saying he was “deeply disappointed” by the recent Partygate revelations.

This brings it to 28 Tory MPs who have publicly called for Mr Johnson to go over the Partygate scandal.

The increase in public criticism led to speculation that the number of letter to trigger a leadership vote had been reached, but that the Chairman of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady, was waiting until after the recess to announce it.

But a senior Tory aide told Express.co.uk this is not the case, suggesting many were waiting for the outcome of the Tiverton and Honiton by-election on June 23.

The senior Tory aide said: “The threshold will not have been crossed and I don’t think it is imminent.

“People are holding out until the byelection – if we lose [Neil] Parish’s seat I think that will be the trigger, Wakefield less so.

“This is the general consensus amongst all the MPs and staff that I have spoken to.”

A total of 54 letters – 10 percent of Tory MPs – must be handed to Sir Graham Brady to trigger a leadership vote, and he is the only person who knows how many have been submitted.

The landmark Tiverton and Honiton byelection was triggered by Conservative MP Neil Parish’s resignation, which he submitted following revelations that he had twice watched pornography in Parliament.

Representatives from the three main political parties – the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats – are being fielded.

Parish councillor Helen Hurford has been selected to fight the seat. 

The Liberal Democrats are the main challengers in the Tiverton and Honiton by-election, with momentum building behind the party’s candidate and former army major Richard Foord.

The party, which has been campaigning in the area for weeks, has voiced displeasure over Ms Hurford’s lack of comment about Partygate so far.

Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper called on Ms Hurford to commit to sending a letter of no confidence to overthrow Mr Johnson if she is elected.

So far three Conservative MPs in Devon – Anne Marie Morris, Gary Streeter and Anthony Magnall – have submitted letters of no confidence.

And Ms Cooper has written to the six remaining Tory MPs calling on them to commit to putting their letters in to sack Boris Johnson over Partygate.

The MPs in question are Sir Geoffrey Cox (Torridge and West Devon), Kevin Foster (Torbay), Simon Jupp (East Devon), Selaine Saxby (East Devon), Mel Stride (Central Devon) and Johnny Mercer (Plymouth Moor View).

Commenting during a visit to Tiverton and Honiton on Monday, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper MP told Express.co.uk: “Families across Devon made huge sacrifices during the pandemic.

“They followed the rules set by Boris Johnson, while he broke them and held law-breaking parties in Downing Street.

“Now is the time for Conservative MPs to do the right thing by their constituents and submit their letters to sack Boris Johnson, instead of defending the indefensible.

“The Conservative candidate in Tiverton and Honiton should also make clear whether she will submit a letter of no confidence if elected. Her silence on this issue is becoming deafening.

“A vote for Richard Foord and the Liberal Democrats is a vote to send Boris Johnson and the Conservatives that enough is enough and it’s time for change.”

The Conservative Party has been approached for comment.

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