SPECULATION that the Prime Minister Boris Johnson could face a confidence vote this week has increased after polling suggested the Conservatives could lose a key by-election at the end of this month.
A host of reports over the weekend suggested that more than sixty Tory MPs had submitted letters to the party’s backbench chairman, Sir Graham Brady, with anything more than 54 set to trigger a vote on the PM’s leadership of the party and the country.
Voters in Wakefield will go to the polls on 23 June to elect a replacement for the disgraced former Tory MP Imran Ahmed Khan, who was jailed last month after being convicted of sexually assaulting a teenage boy. Polling conducted for the Sunday Times suggested the Conservatives could lose the ballot in a landslide, giving Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer a further boost.
Anger at so-called ‘partygate’ revelations has increased in recent weeks and was not helped by the PM saying he felt it was his “duty” to attend staff parties in order to keep up morale.
More than a hundred fixed penalty notices have been issued to Downing Street staff for gatherings that were not allowed under Covid-19 restrictions – with Johnson and the Chancellor Rishi Sunak both amongst those fined by the Metropolitan Police.
Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, yesterday said that he did not believe there would be a confidence vote – but that if there was, Johnson would win and retain his position.
Shapps said he remained confident that at a general election the public would believe that Boris Johnson had “delivered and done a good job for the country as a whole”.