TWO TORY MPs, Sir Roger Gale and Douglas Ross, have publicly confirmed that they have submitted a letter of no confidence in the prime minister, out of the 54 needed to spark a vote.
However, the MP for Hazel Grove since 2015 and vice-chair of the 1922 Committee is suspected of sending a letter calling for Johnson’s resignation. Wragg called on Johnson to resign but did not say whether he had sent a letter.
Caroline Nokes, the chair of Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee has also backed calls for the PM to resign, though she also has not clarified whether she has sent a letter.
Tory backbencher and North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale was the first to break ranks on Wednesday and confirm he had submitted a letter, describing the PM as a ‘dead man walking’.
He said: ‘I have written to Sir Graham Brady and said that there should be a leadership contest.’
In the most significant intervention so far, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives Douglas Ross called on Johnson to step aside as Prime Minister. Ross is the MP for Moray as well as a Member of the Scottish Parliament, meaning he is able to submit a letter of no confidence.
He said that he had spoken to the Prime Minister on Wednesday afternoon, adding: ‘I set down my reasons and I explained to him my position.’
Ross added: ‘Regretfully, I have to say that his position is no longer tenable … I didn’t want to be in this position, but I am in the position now where I don’t think he can continue as leader of the Conservatives.’
A rebellion within the Conservative Party was triggered on Wednesday when Johnson issued a partial apology over a ‘bring your own booze’ event held in Downing Street during lockdown.
Backbench Tories were incensed when Johnson appeared to suggest that he believed the gathering in the garden of No 10 was a ‘work event and not a party’.
Meanwhile, Unite’s national health committee, representing 100,000 health workers, called for Boris Johnson to resign as prime minister due to his ‘disastrous’ handling of the pandemic.
Unite national officer for health, Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe, said: ‘This flagrant breach of the rules came just a few weeks after NHS workers saved his life when he suffered from coronavirus and he was in intensive care. The prime minister should show more respect to NHS workers and the public.
‘His credibility to lead the country through the next stage of the pandemic is in shreds – who will believe a word he says? Our Unite health committee made up of serving NHS workers across the UK has lost its confidence in the prime minister.’
Dave Wiltshire, secretary of the All Trade Union Alliance commented: ‘It is not enough for trade unions to call for Johnson to resign, they must immediately call strike action to bring not just Johnson but the whole Tory government down. Now is the time for action, and the action that must be taken is a general strike. The only way forward is for the working class to take the power.’