A senior Tory MP has said Boris Johnson should resign if local elections prove costly, while warning the PM not to use the war in Ukraine as a “fig leaf” to dodge tough questions on partygate.
Tobias Ellwood made his comments on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, calling for him to hold a vote of confidence after the police investigation into the scandal finishes.
The chair of the Commons defence committee, and former minister, said Johnson “made his intentions clear – he wants to stay – but this is bigger than the prime minister.”
He warned that partygate might undermine the UK’s democratic image, adding that “this is something Putin will no doubt exploit – how can a lawmaker also be a law-breaker? This is not a good look.”
Calling for Johnson to resign in wake of being given a fixed penalty notice, he warned against hesitation because of the war in Ukraine.
“Every month, every year, European security is going to deteriorate well beyond Ukraine”, he said.
“Our approach to Ukraine would remain consistent, so I do hope that we won’t use the war as a fig leaf to dodge these tough questions that, absolutely, we must address.”
He also told Radio 4 he should quit if local elections next month go badly for the Conservatives, saying after May’s vote allows “the public view to be factored in” the PM should agree for the party “to hold its own vote of confidence if those elections go badly”.
This comes after a junior justice minister, Lord Wolfson, quit the cabinet on Wednesday in protest of Johnson not resigning. Earlier in the wee, Amber Valley MP Nigel Mills also called for Johnson to go over Partygate.
Earlier in the week the prime minister issued a public apology, alongside chancellor Rishi Sunak, who both said they had paid the fixed penalty notice.