Boris Johnson told to brace for swathe of no confidence letters at end of winter crisis

Boris Johnson: Insider discusses chances of no confidence vote

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Boris Johnson has been facing increasing pressure after a series of mortifying defeats both at the polls and in the Commons. He has been warned his position could now be at risk due to the humiliating loss of the North Shropshire constituency this week after nearly 200 years under Conservative control. BBC Newsnight’s Political Editor Nicholas Watts said sources have claimed Mr Johnson can expect to face a vote of no confidence as soon as the current wave of Covid cases is over.

Mr Watts said: “I spoke to one senior Tory – they are a Brexiteer but, crucially, they’re not a major critic of Boris Johnson.

“What they said to me is there’ll be no move against him right now, it’s Christmas.

“There’ll be no move against him immediately in the new year, it would be ‘self-indulgent’ I’ve been told to do that whilst we’re dealing with this Covid wave.

“But this person was absolutely confident that there would be enough letters to trigger a no-confidence vote in Boris Johnson towards the end of winter and into the spring.”

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The BBC editor continued: “Why is it? Well, this person said, ‘we’ve had enough of giving him the benefit of the doubt.’

“He is not going to change and they’ve reached a tipping point in integrity over the Owen Paterson affair.

“So I said, ‘well, look if there are going to be these letters of no confidence, will that result in a vote that will overthrow him?’

“This person said to me, ‘there are plenty of people in this party who are ready for glory but as ever there are very few people willing to get their hands dirty’.”

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Mr Johnson’s run of bad luck began in November when his MPs supported an ill-fated vote on the suspension of North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson.

Mr Paterson was found to have breached lobbying rules and faced a 30-day suspension before the Tories voted by a majority in the Commons to ignore the suggestion of the Standards Committee.

Within 24 hours, the Government was forced to backtrack on the decision and the North Shropshire MP was forced to resign, triggering a by-election.

Over the past two weeks, the Conservatives have also been rocked by repeated allegations of flouting Covid rules during last year’s winter lockdown.

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Pictures emerged showing Tory members celebrating with colleagues at CCHQ in Westminster, while another set of photos showed the Prime Minister himself playing quizmaster for a Zoom quiz in Downing Street.

According to the Mirror, a large group of people took part in the quiz in person despite the rule of six being in place at the time.

Mr Johnson this week also suffered an embarrassing defeat in the Commons when 99 of his own MPs rebelled against the party whip to reject the implementation of Plan B.

The vote was carried in favour of the Prime Minister, but the rebellion marked the biggest revolt since the Prime Minister took over in 2019.

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