Under Tory party rules, a vote of no confidence in the leader will be triggered if 15% of party lawmakers — 54 currently — write letters calling for one to be obtained.
Bob Neill, a senior conservative lawmaker who chairs the House of Commons Justice Committee, said on Tuesday it was “in the interest of the party, and really in the interest of the country” to move forward.
Legislator John Stevenson said he had sent a letter because a confidence vote was the only way to “draw a line” under recent controversies.
Johnson said last week that senior official Sue Gray’s report should end the ‘party gate’ scandal, which saw 83 people, including Johnson, fined by police for partying in government buildings in 2020 and 2021.
Johnson said he took “full responsibility” and was sorry – but denied knowingly breaking rules or lying when he told Parliament last year there had been no parties. He said it was time to “move on” and focus on issues like the UK’s cost of living crisis and the war in Ukraine.
But a growing number of conservative lawmakers are calling for a no-confidence vote in Johnson, who won the party a large parliamentary majority in 2019 but was dogged by questions about his ethics and judgment.
Former Attorney General Jeremy Wright said “partygate” had “damaged the institutions and authority of the government” and concluded that “for the good of this and future governments, the prime minister must resign.”
If Johnson lost a confidence vote, he would be replaced as Conservative leader and Prime Minister. If he wins, he won’t be able to take on a new challenge for a year.
It’s unclear how many letters were sent, but it’s likely more than the 28 conservative lawmakers who have publicly called on Johnson to quit. There is a growing sense within the Conservative Party that the 54th threshold will be reached in the coming weeks.
Former Conservative leader William Hague said he thought Johnson was “in real trouble” and that a vote was inevitable.
“I think the Sue Gray report has been one of those slow explosions in politics,” Hague told Times Radio.
He said: “The Conservative Party will have to sort this out somehow, obviously because to be an effective party they either have to get behind the Prime Minister they have or they have to decide to get him out.” force.”