The Conservative leader is thought to be considering giving the boot to those in Government who failed to publicly back him on social media ahead of yesterday’s confidence vote. Despite heavy pressure from party whips, some on the pay role chose to keep quiet about their voting intention.
Loyalist MP Ben Bradley admitted it was “inevitable” some ministers had secretly rebelled and were quietly looking to bring down their leader.
It is thought some junior ministers may already be considering quitting in order to speak out publicly against Mr Johnson.
The Prime Minister is seeking to re-establish his control after 141 of his own MPs declared their desire to oust him from No10.
He won the internal party ballot by a smaller majority than Theresa May in her 2018 confidence vote, with the former Tory leader only managing to drag out her premiership for six months beyond an attempted coup against her.
Seeking to see off a renewed rebellion, the Prime Minister this morning told his Cabinet: “And we will have the scope, by delivering tax cuts, I think, to deliver considerable growth in employment and economic growth.”
He said he wanted to focus on “driving reform” and “cutting costs”.
Mr Johnson hailed the “huge investment that we are making” before adding: “But it’s not enough just to spend money. We have got to spend it wisely.
“We as Conservative ministers, we have got to make sure at every stage that we are driving reform and driving value.
“So what I’m going to ask you all to do in each of your departments is make sure that you’re thinking the whole time about cutting the costs of Government, about cutting the costs that business has to face and of course cutting the costs that everybody else faces, families up and down the country.”
The Prime Minister thanked his top team for their support in yesterday’s vote and said the Government were “able now to draw a line under the issues that our opponents want to talk about and we are able to get on talking about the issues, what the issues that I think the people want”.
Despite pleas from the Conservative leader for his party to now move on from the vicious in-fighting that has overshadowed the Government for weeks, Tory plotters are eager to keep up the pressure on the embattled resident of No10.
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen, who has been one of the most prominent critics of the Prime Minister, suggested it was impossible to unite the party after yesterday’s vote.
“The residual concerns from across the party will continue to remain,” he said.
Tobias Ellwood, Conservative chairman of the Commons defence committee, warned Mr Johnson would now only survive for “a matter of months”.
Meanwhile, Philip Dunne, former minister and current chairman of the environmental audit committee, warned the Prime Minister he still faced “very choppy waters” that would be “difficult to navigate for anyone.”
On June 23, two by-elections are taking place with the Tories attempting to hold on to both seats.
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Polling for Wakefield in West Yorkshire, and Tiverton and Honiton in Devon suggests the party is on track to heavily lose both votes.
He is also facing several months of worsening economic conditions, with energy bills set to hit new highs in October.
Technically Mr Johnson is safe from another confidence vote from the Tories for another 12 months under party rules.
A year’s amnesty is in place in order to prevent repeated ballots of MPs at quick intervals.
Those looking to get rid of the Prime Minister are therefore understood to be considering other ways of making life uncomfortable for him.
Some want to undermine the Prime Minister by siding with Labour more often in the House of Commons when unpopular policies are brought forward by the Government.
Huge swathes of Tory MPs have also this afternoon steered clear of a debate in the House of Commons on standards in public life, refusing to defend Mr Johnson’s behaviour.
Instead, the time is being filled largely by Opposition MPs attacking the Conservative leader.
Revelling in the absence of Tory MPs, shadow Labour minister Justin Madders said: “Only eight Tory MPs on the backbenches in the debate on standards in public life, and one of them is the recently resigned anti-corruption tsar.
“Clear the Prime Minister has lost the backing of his Parliamentary party who aren’t on the payroll.”
A push could also be made to get the party’s backbench 1922 committee, which is in charge of confidence votes, to change the rules of leadership contests to hold another vote on the Prime Minister in the coming months.