Politics

Tory civil war: Six leadership hopefuls team up to knife ‘disaster’ Liz Truss in back

Boris Johnson appears to be reassured by Liz Truss after PMQs

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Last week Mr Johnson took part in an interview with Sky News’ political editor Beth Rigby, where he claimed no one informed him the gathering he attended in the garden of No 10 was a party, which has caused derision among his party. The Prime Minister repeatedly stared at the floor while being grilled by Ms Rigby over alleged parties that took place at Downing Street.

Writing today, Christian Wakeford, Bury South MP – who joined Labour last week – claims Mr Johnson has “poisoned” the Conservative Party, and now needs to resign.

He said: “The PM has poisoned the Tory Party from top to bottom.

“Britain deserves better. It is time for Boris Johnson to go.”

While some Conservative MPs are calling for Mr Johnson to resign now, others insist we must wait to hear the verdict of senior Government official Sue Gray’s investigation into Covid rule-breaking before coming to such conclusions.

Her findings into the lockdown gatherings are due to be published early next week.

Mr Johnson is also reportedly set to face an increasingly angry chorus of his own MPs amid speculation the 54 letters which would launch a no-confidence vote in the PM could be reached soon.

While the threat of a vote of no confidence looms over Mr Johnson, half a dozen of his top colleagues are now reportedly vying to take his job.

The frontrunners to clinch the job are Chancellor Rishi Sunak and former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

But some of their colleagues are also said to be in the running including Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt and Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi.

They’re joined by Foreign Affairs Committee chair Tom Tugendhat and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss – who are said to be favourites among Tory party members.

However, Ms Truss has a battle on her hands as the Mirror reports that an MP said it would be a “disaster” if she is among the last two standing who will face a members’ vote, as “she’s sure to get in”.

The MP said: “There will be a lot of tactical voting.

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“Most of us think it will be a disaster if Liz makes the last two as she’s sure to get in.”

Supporters of Mr Sunak and Mr Hunt have reportedly agreed a “non-aggression pact” to ensure she is squeezed out of the race.

While Mr Johnson’s interview with Beth Rigby has caused derision in the Conservative Party, Tory voters are also said to be upset by his leadership in recent weeks.

Sir Graham Brady, chair of the backbench 1922 Committee, has received more than 1,000 letters – many from lifelong Conservatives – who say they will never vote for the party again.

John, from Stirling, wrote in his letter that he is “disgusted” with the party, adding: “I have voted Tory for over 50 years. No longer.”

While Douglas, of Orpington, Kent, wrote: “On the night of Johnson’s ‘work meeting’ my 12-year-old grandson was in A&E suffering long Covid.

“Bring this tawdry chapter in the party’s history to an end.”

Downing Street is said to be nervous over Ms Gray’s findings, which will be published at some point next week, after she reportedly found an email warning the PM’s private secretary, Martin Reynolds, against holding a drinks party at No10 in the first lockdown.

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