Politics

Senior Tory MP claims PM taking party to ‘ugly place’ and confirms 1922 letter

A FORMER government minister has joined the list of MPs to submit a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister.

Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the defence committee and former Foreign Office minister, said Boris Johnson was taking the party “towards an ugly place” and urged him to put himself to a confidence vote.

The suggestion that Mr Johnson should not wait for 54 MPs to put in a letter of no confidence ot the 1922 committee was made last night by veteran Tory MP Charles Walker, who said would be courageous to submit himself to a vote.

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Speaking on Sky News this morning, Mr Ellwood confirmed he would be handing a letter of no confidence to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs.

He explained that while Mr Johnson could be thanked for achievements on Brexit, and the vaccine rollout, “it’s not the previous battles that matter.”

He said: “It’s the domestic and international ones ahead of us that count.

“The question now is for all of us, is the prime minister the best person to lead the party moving forward?”

Mr Ellwood said that while Parliament waited for the Sue Gray report, Mr Johnson could have used the time “to prepare, to produce, to publish his plans to overhaul number 10…but we haven’t seen any of that.”

He continued: “I don’t think the Prime Minister realises how worried colleagues are in every corner of the party – backbenchers and ministers alike – that this is all only going one way and will invariably slides towards a very ugly place.

“I believe it’s time for the Prime Minister to take a grip of this.

“He himself should call a vote of confidence rather than waiting for the inevitable 54 letters to be eventually submitted.

“It’s time to resolve this completely so the party can get back to governing. “And yes, I know the next question you’ll ask. I will be submitting my letter today to the 1922 committee.”

It comes after further reports of Mr Johnson potentially attending gatherings in his Downing Street flat during lockdown.

The Telehraph reported that Mr Johnson was seen heading up to his Downing Street flat on the night it hosted a gathering being investigated by the Met.

The paper also said a gathering on December 17 2020 – for an official who was leaving – was for Captain Steve Higham, then one of Mr Johnson’s private secretaries, who advised on defence and national security issues.

The Prime Minister was reported to have given a speech there.

He was also reported by both the Telegraph and the Guardian to have been present at a leaving do for two No 10 private secretaries on January 14 2021.One of the officials was said to be a senior policy adviser who was moving to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Again, Mr Johnson was reported to have made a speech, thanking the official for their work, while some guests drank prosecco.

The two papers also said another event under investigation in the Cabinet Office on June 18 2020 was for Hannah Young, a senior official who was leaving No 10 to become deputy consul general in New York.

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