Boris Johnson faces fresh woe today after Tory MPs renewed calls for the Prime Minister to resign.
Peter Aldous said he had not withdrawn his letter of no confidence in Mr Johnson to the 1922 Committee as others are reported to have.
“I haven’t, no. I thought long and hard back in late January, early February, as to whether I should do that,” he said.
“And I’ve revisited that decision over the last few months, and I’ve decided that really those reasons are still there.”
“I weighed up all manner of considerations and I concluded then that it would be best for the country, and dare I say it for the Conservative Party, if he did [resign].Peter Aldous
Speaking in an interview on GB News: “Now, I fully respect there are colleagues who have not reached that same decision, and that is up to them one way or another.
“But if I look at what’s happened since then, well we’ve had…The Prime Minister has been fined.
“We’ve had a situation where he’s been referred to the parliamentary privileges committee as to whether he knowingly misled Parliament or not and I think we’ve got to wait to see what happens.
“But that event in itself is not something that happens very often, I think it’s happened four, three previous times since the war, and then never to a Prime Minister, so it’s completely unprecedented.”
The right time?
Aldous said he disagreed that now is not the right time for a change of leadership, with the war in Ukraine and the escalating cost of living crisis.
He said: “So we’ve got some enormous challenges there. Some people would say that actually now is not the time for a change.
“The other side of the argument is that it would continue to be a distraction.
“And I think what I also find when I go back and I listen to people in my constituency, it really has split people.”
He added: “We had council elections earlier this month where, whichever way you look at it, they weren’t very good for the Conservative Party.
“And so without any ill feeling or malice, yes I still hold my views, and my letter still remains with Sir Graham Brady.”
In addition to Aldous, Conservative MP David Simmonds demanded Boris Johnson explains the difficult explanation of how the pictures do not portray him drinking at a rule-breaking party.
The representative for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think most colleagues committed to their constituents that they would wait until they had sight of the full report from Sue Gray, I think that is still the case.
“But clearly it does create an issue. We had a vote which the Conservative Party was neutral on in Parliament that there would be an investigation about what was said.”
“We need to hear the Prime Minister’s explanation.”David Simmonds this morning
“Clearly it does raise a new question that we were all told very clearly that there definitely had not been a party on the day in question and these photographs have emerged which suggest that that’s not the case.”
He said it would be “very difficult” for Mr Johnson to provide a satisfactory answer, but added: “It seems to me he could construct some defence about how people were at work, but we need to see this in context. Many of my constituents lost relatives, they lost friends and family members, my father-in-law died of Covid.”