Boris Johnson is fighting for his political life over the Sue Gray report into parties in Downing Street and Whitehall.
Scotland Yard slapped him with a £50 fine for attending his own illegal birthday party during lockdown – leading to a fresh investigation into whether the Prime Minister misled Parliament.
Critics believe he lied when he said all rules were followed in No10 – and when he denied any party on 13 November 2020, only for photos to show him raising a glass of fizz next to a groaning table of booze.
Some Tories who previously called for him to quit withdrew their pleas in recent months saying it would be irresponsible during the Ukraine war.
But others have come forward for the first time, telling the Prime Minister “the gig’s up” and condemning the “toxic” atmosphere under his leadership.
Senior Tory Tom Tugendhat – who’s not ruled out a leadership bid – has not formally called for him to resign but said he was “talking to colleagues” about it, adding: “Frankly, it’s very difficult to have confidence in the government right now.”
It takes 54 letters of no confidence from Tory MPs to trigger a no confidence vote, so despite claims that threshold is near, we are still a long way off from the Prime Minister being deposed.
Even if a confidence vote is triggered, 180 MPs would have to vote against Boris Johnson to lead to a full leadership election.
That said, here’s the full list of Tory MPs who have publicly called for Boris Johnson to go – either beforehand or since the PM got fined by the Met Police.
Tories who have called for Boris Johnson to resign
Peter Aldous: Sent a no-confidence letter and urged the PM to go after a “great deal of soul-searching”. Added: “I believe that this is in the best interests of the country, the Government and the Conservative Party.” He later said he was standing by it.
Steve Baker: Influential rebel said in a bombshell speech: “I’ve been tempted to forgive. But I have to say now the possibility of that really has gone… The Prime Minister should know the gig’s up”. After ‘fizzgate’ he tweeted an NHS poster during Covid that had a sick patient and the words “LOOK HER IN THE EYES AND TELL HER YOU NEVER BEND THE RULES”.
John Baron: Veteran backbencher and Brexiteer tore into “shameful pattern of misbehaviour during the pandemic as the rest of us kept to the Covid regulations” and said the PM’s “repeated assurances in Parliament that there was no rule-breaking is simply not credible”.
Aaron Bell: 2019 MP said he obeyed Covid laws to attend his gran’s May 2020 funeral before asking: “Does the Prime Minister think I’m a fool?” in a charged PMQs speech. He confirmed in February that he had submitted a no confidence letter in the PM.
Karen Bradley: Ex-Cabinet minister said “law breaking in Downing Street is unforgivable”. While the Ukraine war means MPs should “act responsibly”, she added: “If I had been a minister found to have broken the laws that I passed, I would be tendering my resignation now.”
Steve Brine: Former Health Minister Steve Brine said treatment of cleaners and security staff in No10 was “distasteful to put it mildly”. He added: “There’s a bigger picture here about leadership, honesty & decency. Not whether this PM can get away with it, but whether he should.”
David Davis: Famously told Boris Johnson in the Commons earlier this year: “In the name of god, go.” Asked after the Sue Gray report whether he thought that was a mistake, he said: “No, not at all. When I change my mind, I’ll let you know.”
Tobias Ellwood: Defence Committee chief sent a no-confidence letter in February, and after the fine added Boris Johnson may have to call a confidence vote in himself. He dismissed claims a leadership contest could not be held during the war in Ukraine.
Sir Roger Gale: Veteran backbencher confirmed he had submitted a no-confidence letter in January, branding Mr Johnson a “dead man walking”. He then said it wasn’t the time due to Ukraine before U-turning again, saying: “It’s absolutely clear that there was a party, that he attended it, that he was raising a toast to one of his colleagues. And therefore, he misled us from the despatch box. And, honourably, there is one answer.”
Nick Gibb: Long-time former minister said in February “to restore trust, we need to change the Prime Minister”, contrasting Allegra Stratton’s resignation for a party she didn’t attend with the PM’s response to one he did. “It is hard to see how it can be the case that the prime minister told the truth,” he added.
Stephen Hammond: Former minister said he “cannot and will not defend the indefensible” as he indicated he had sent a letter of no confidence. Mr Hammond said he had been “critical of the Prime Minister’s behaviour and the culture that existed in Number 10”. He added: “All I can do as a backbencher is speak out and submit a letter,” he said, adding that “I have said for several months I already have done all I can as a backbencher”.
Mark Harper: Told the Prime Minister he is “unworthy” of the office he holds moments after hearing Mr Johnson’s apology for his Partygate fine in the Commons. Mr Harper told MPs: “[He] hasn’t been straightforward about it and is now going to ask the decent men and women on these benches to defend what I think is indefensible.”
Neil Hudson: Said it is not “prudent or responsible” for the PM to quit right now, but he must “outline a timetable for an orderly transition” once the Ukraine war recedes. He added: “The fact that the law makers went on to break those very laws they brought in to keep us all safe is deeply damaging for our democracy.”
Alicia Kearns: Wrote on her Facebook page: “It is wrong that families were banned from saying goodbye to their dying loved ones, whilst the Prime Minister was complicit in the holding of many goodbye parties for his staff, which we now know displayed a complete disregard for restrictions and were complete with vomiting, fighting and bullying.” She added: “My position remains unchanged since January, and the Prime Minister continues not to hold my confidence.”
Tim Loughton: Said PM’s position had become “untenable” way back in January, and his “resignation is the only way to bring this whole unfortunate episode to an end”. He said at the time: “Frankly the issue for me is not how many sausage rolls or glasses of prosecco… [it’s] the way that he has handled the mounting revelations.”
Anthony Mangnall: Before the fine, 2019 MP said Boris Johnson’s “mistruths” were “overshadowing” good work elsewhere, tweeting: “At this time I can no longer support the PM.” After the fine he said: “I do forgive the Prime Minister for making those mistakes, but I do not forgive him for misleading the House as I see it.”
Nigel Mills: Became first Tory MP to break ranks after Boris Johnson was fined, saying: “I don’t think a prime minister can survive or should survive breaking the rules he put in place… I don’t think his position is tenable, in my view.”
Andrew Mitchell: Ex-minister said he “hasn’t changed” his February view that the PM “no longer enjoys my support”. He added: “The Prime Minister has been fined for committing a criminal offence”.
Anne Marie Morris: Devon Tory MP who lost the whip in January after backing Labour’s proposals to cut VAT on energy bills. She has since had the whip restored, and told Sky News she’d re-submitted her letter of no-confidence. She said reports of parties in No10 were “frankly insulting to those who did what they were told.”
Sir Bob Neill: The chair of the Justice Select Committee waited for the publication of Sue Gray’s report before reaching the conclusion that Partygate had “undermined trust in not just the office of the Prime Minister but in the political process itself”. He called for Johnson to go, saying a change in leadership is now “required”.
Caroline Nokes: Former minister is understood to be standing by her comments earlier this year, that Boris Johnson ‘did a fantastic job’ in 2019 but ‘now, regretfully, he looks like a liability. He is damaging the entire Conservative brand.’
David Simmonds: The MP for Boris Johnson’s neighbouring seat since 2019 said: “It is clear that while the government and our policies enjoy the confidence of the public, the Prime Minister does not. Accordingly, it is time for him to step down.”
Sir Gary Streeter: Veteran confirmed in February he had sent a no-confidence letter, saying: “I cannot reconcile the pain and sacrifice of the vast majority of the British public during lockdown with the attitude and activities of those working in Downing Street.”
Julian Sturdy: Tory backbencher said the Sue Gray report showed Mr Johnson “has presided over a widespread culture of disregard for the coronavirus regulations”. “Questions are now being raised” about whether he lied and “we cannot have any doubt about the honesty, integrity, and personal character of the Prime Minister… I am now unable to give the PM the benefit of the doubt”
Craig Whittaker: Said: “I not only think that the Prime Minister should resign but I also think that Rishi Sunak should resign as well. Through this whole process it hasn’t been particularly clear that the Prime Minister broke any rules – until of course he’s been issued with a [fine].”
Lord Wolfson: Not an MP, but given a special mention because the Lords Justice minister quit his job in protest. In a scathing letter he told Boris Johnson “there was repeated rule breaking, and breaches of the criminal law, in Downing Street”, adding: “It is not just a question of what happened in Downing Street, or your own conduct. It is also, and perhaps more so, the official response to what took place.”
William Wragg: Public Administration Committee chairman said the PM’s position was “untenable” even before Sue Gray’s report was published. After the fine he said in a searing speech “it is utterly depressing, defending the indefensible” – “each time, a part of us withers”. He went on: “We have been working in a toxic atmosphere.”
Tories who called for him to quit earlier this year, then U-turned, but could turn back
Andrew Bridgen: MP said in January: “If Boris truly loves our country, our democracy and our party he should go now with some semblance of grace.” He withdrew his letter in March, saying it would be an “indulgence” during the Ukraine war, but later added: “This is not the end of this matter.”
Douglas Ross: Scottish Tory leader demanded PM quit in January, saying: “I don’t think his position is tenable and he does need to resign.” But he withdrew his letter to the 1922 Committee in March saying the focus should be on the war in Ukraine. After ‘fizzgate’ photos emerged he said the PM would have to explain himself.