Boris Johnson at 'weakest point' of premiership says host
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The Prime Minister is stuck in the middle between Government scientists who warn more measures are needed imminently to stop the NHS from being overwhelmed, and backbenchers who are demanding no further Covid interventions. Up to a third of the Cabinet is said to have opposed more restrictions being introduced in the coming days.
It leaves Mr Johnson wrestling over how to deal with the threat of Omicron while keeping his party on side.
He suffered a major blow on Saturday when Lord Frost sensationally quit, criticising the direction of Government.
In his resignation letter, the Brexit minister cited “the current direction of travel” of the Government, as well as fears over “coercive” Covid measures for stepping down.
One other Cabinet minister is said to be considering their position, according to reports.
And Mr Johnson will be bracing for backlash from other members of the Government after MP Joy Morrissey, a Parliamentary Private Secretary, publicly attacked scientists advising Mr Johnson last Friday.
The Prime Minister is weighing up three different options to help tackle the Omicron variant rapidly spreading across the UK.
One would see advice on indoor mixing ramped up, another would see legal limits on household gatherings and a curfew on pubs, while the third would plunge Britons back into an immediate lockdown.
Yesterday Health Secretary Sajid Javid resumed to rule out further restrictions being introduced before Christmas.
Asked if new measures could be introduced, he told the BBC: “We are assessing the situation, it is very fast-moving.
“There are no guarantees in this pandemic I don’t think.
“At this point, we just have to keep everything under review.”
The Bromsgrove MP added new rules could be introduced even without any definitive data on whether they were needed.
“If you wait until data is absolutely perfect it may well be too late,” he said.
Mr Javid promised any new legal restrictions would see MPs recalled to Parliament to vote.
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Last week Mr Johnson suffered a humiliating Tory rebellion as over 100 of his own MPs refused to back the introduction of vaccine passports as a way to curb the spread of Covid.
Any more draconian measures would likely see an even bigger revolt.
Express.co.uk knows of multiple backbenchers who have already submitted letters of no confidence in the Prime Minister, more MPs are poised to give up on Mr Johnson themselves if extra restrictions are introduced.
A no confidence vote is held if 15 percent of the Parliamentary Conservative Party declare o confidence in their leader.
Given the size of Mr Johnson’s Commons majority at the last election, it would require 54 MPs to submit letters for a vote to be triggered.
Bob Blackman, executive secretary of the 1922 Committee which is in charge of overseeing no confidence votes, has warned Mr Johnson he is walking a tightrope on new restrictions.
He told The Telegraph: “If they thought they had a problem getting the last restrictions through, you can imagine what will happen if they come back for another go.
“The mood of colleagues is: ‘Enough is enough’.”
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