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Sir Graham Brady announces vote of no confidence in PM

Tory MPs have told Express.co.uk that party whips have been threatening an October election if the Prime Minister‘s authority is damaged as a result of today’s vote of confidence in him. Rebel Tory MPs have spent the last two weeks carefully planning to push him out of office in the aftermath of the Sue Gray report into lockdown gatherings in Downing Street.

Under the party’s rules, if 54 MPs write to Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee, expressing no confidence in Mr Johnson a ballot must be held.

Mr Johnson has insisted he is focusing on the war in Ukraine as he seeks to hold off his enemies plotting his downfall.

Meanwhile, his allies have threatened to go to the polls early in a bid to bring Tory wobblers into line.

One backbencher told Express.co.uk: “They are throwing the kitchen sink at this to save the PM.”

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Boris Johnson is facing a vote on his leadership

Boris Johnson is facing a vote on his leadership (Image: SKY/PA)

Another added: “Threatening an early election is the equivalent of pressing the nuclear button politically. Boris might still win an election but many colleagues would lose their seats.”

North West Leicestershire MP Andrew Bridgen said: “This is something colleagues and I have had concerns about for a long time.

“If cornered the Prime Minister has the chance to call a snap early general election.”

In his first public statement since the confidence vote was announced, he highlighted how the UK was supporting Kyiv in the face of aggression from Putin.

The Prime Minister’s allies have warned that the Russian invasion is a reason why the leader should not be changed.

“We cannot stand by while Russian long-range artillery flattens cities and kills innocent civilians,” the embattled incumbent leader said.

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The Prime Minister has focused on Ukraine today

The Prime Minister has focused on Ukraine today (Image: PA)

Have your say: Double disaster for Boris – has he failed YOU on Brexit?

“The UK will gift the Ukrainian armed forces multiple-launch rocket systems so they can effectively repel the continuing Russian onslaught.”

He held a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the situation in Eastern Europe this morning.

The call took place just hours after Sir Graham Brady, who chairs the 1922 committee of backbench Conservative MPs, confirmed a vote would take place at 8pm tonight.

The crunch vote comes as:

In a press release issued shortly after 8am this morning, Sir Graham said: “The threshold of 15 percent of the parliamentary party seeking a vote of confidence in the leader of the Conservative Party has been exceeded.

“In accordance with the rules, a ballot will be held between 6pm and 8pm today Monday June 6.”

The senior party member added that Mr Johnson had been informed of the plan for a vote in a phone call last night.

As many as 30 Tory MPs have publicly urged the Prime Minister to resign with many more having privately put forward letters in an attempt to force him out of office.

Sir Graham Brady is expected to confirm a vote this morning

Sir Graham Brady is expected to confirm a vote this morning (Image: PA)

The chairman of the 1922 committee is in charge of a no confidence vote

The chairman of the 1922 committee is in charge of a no confidence vote (Image: PA)

Sir Graham confirmed some MPs who sent in letters to the 1922 committee chairman last week post-dated submissions in order to not overshadow the Jubilee weekend.

A No10 spokeswoman said Mr Johnson “welcomed” the vote as a chance to draw a line under months of internal Tory rows.

They said: “Tonight is a chance to end months of speculation and allow the Government to draw a line and move on, delivering on the people’s priorities.

“The PM welcomes the opportunity to make his case to MPs and will remind them that when they’re united and focused on the issues that matter to voters there is no more formidable political force.”

A steady flow of backbenchers made clear their dissatisfaction with the Prime Minister last week with figures from all wings of the party speaking out against him.

As well as feeling the wrath of constituents over the culture inside Downing Street during the pandemic, many MPs have been concerned about the policies coming from No10.

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Conservative party Confidence Vote

Conservative party Confidence Vote (Image: EXPRESS)

Some believe Mr Johnson is not going far enough to help hard-working Britons with the current cost of living crisis, while others argue the economic interventions made so far have been too “Labour-lite”.

Consecutive polls have also rocked Conservative parliamentarians, with repeated surveys showing the Tories trailing behind the Opposition. 

The latest Techne UK/ Express tracker poll, published on Saturday, revealed the Conservatives are eight points behind Labour.

Polling by JL Partners carried out ahead of the Wakefield by-election later this month also suggested the seat would be lost to Sir Keir Starmer’s party by as much as 20 points.

Wakefield was one of the key Red Wall seats in the 2019 election that voted Conservative for the first time in decades to give Mr Johnson his historic victory.

The Prime Minister also faced public backlash during the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday weekend, when he was booed on Friday by some sections of a crowd during his arrival at a thanksgiving service for the Queen at St Paul’s Cathedral.

The Prime Minister was booed as he arrived at a thanksgiving service on Friday

The Prime Minister was booed as he arrived at a thanksgiving service on Friday (Image: PA)

Queen’s Jubilee: Boris Johnson arrives at St Paul’s Cathedral

In a damning blow to Mr Johnson, Conservative MP John Penrose, who was Mr Johnson’s anti-corruption Tsar resigned this morning, claiming it is “pretty clear” that Boris Johnson broke the Ministerial Code.

Pledging to vote against him in tonight’s vote, he said: “The only fair conclusion to draw from the Sue Gray report is that you have breached a fundamental principle of the Ministerial Code – a clear resigning matter.

“But your letter to your independent adviser on the Ministerial Code ignores this absolutely central, non-negotiable issue completely.

“And, if it had addressed it, it is hard to see how it could have reached any other conclusion than that you had broken the code.”

Former minister Jesse Norman who was a member of the Government until September 2021, also today went public in calling for him to quit.

His ally of 15 years said: “Recent events have served to clarify the position this country is in under your leadership, beyond any doubt; and I am afraid I can see no circumstances in which I could serve in a government led by you.”

Jeremy Hunt has called for 'change' on Twitter

Jeremy Hunt has called for ‘change’ on Twitter (Image: TWITTER)

In a deeply critical letter, he said the Government “seems to lack a sense of mission”, the Cabinet had replaced policy with “empty rhetoric”, and that Mr Johnson was “simply seeking to campaign, to keep changing the subject and to create political and cultural dividing lines.”

Meanwhile, former Tory leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt, who has hinted at plans for another run at the top job, also said he would vote against the Prime Minister.

“Anyone who believes our country is stronger, fairer & more prosperous when led by Conservatives should reflect that the consequence of not changing will be to hand the country to others who do not share those values,” he said on social media.

“Today’s decision is change or lose. I will be voting for change.”

Cabinet ministers have rallied around the Prime Minister in the face of the rebellion.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid criticised those plotting against the Conservative leader on Sky News, saying Mr Johnson would “fight his corner”.

Sajid Javid said Boris Johnson would 'fight' for his future

Sajid Javid said Boris Johnson would ‘fight’ for his future (Image: SKY)

“This country doesn’t need a vote of confidence in the Prime Minister. What we need to be doing as a country is looking ahead to the challenges that exist,” he said.

“The Prime Minister will stand and fight his corner with a very, very strong case.”

The Bromsgrove MP added: “I think that he will deliver for this country and I think he would go on to win a general election with an ambitious program for continuous improvements, whether it’s to our health service, to housing, to the cost-of-living challenges, you know, and he’s getting on with the job at the moment.”

Over 100 Tory MPs have publicly vowed to back the Prime Minister in the confidence vote.

Under party rules, if half of Conservative MPs say they do not have confidence in Mr Johnson’s leadership in a vote, then he will be ousted.

But, as the rules currently stand, if Mr Johnson wins a confidence vote, he cannot be challenged again for 12 months.