Embattled Boris Johnson claimed he felt no shame at losing voters’ trust amid two humiliating by-election defeats.
The beleaguered Prime Minister instead insisted his “exceptional” record in No10 was “pretty remarkable”.
Worried Tory rebels fearful for their seats in the aftermath of the party’s battering in Wakefield and Tiverton are hatching fresh plots to topple their leader.
They plan to try to pack the backbench 1922 committee to change the rules banning another confidence vote within the year.
More than 30 MPs are already understood to have submitted fresh letters to trigger a contest just three weeks since the last vote.
A party source told the Mirror: “Operation Domino is still very much in play”.
One ex-cabinet minister, who previously supported the PM, claimed his bid to serve a third term and still be in Downing Street in the mid-2030s was “completely delusional”.
A senior MP from a ‘Red Wall’ seat said Mr Johnson was “showing increasing signs of a bunker mentality, and that never ends well”.
But the “deluded” Tory PM claimed of his MPs he “loves them all”.
Reeling from rejection in the twin by-elections, Mr Johnson was asked if he felt personal shame.
“No, because I think that actually when you look at what this Government has done, it is quite exceptional,” he blustered.
“I understand that people are going to want to criticise me, attack me for all sorts of reasons – some of them good, some of them less good.
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“I think that actually when you look at what this Government has done, it is pretty remarkable.”
The Tory leader is fighting for his political life amid renewed calls for him to quit following last week’s dual poll humbling.
But desperate Mr Johnson tried to shrug off the poll disasters, claiming his “golden rule” was to “focus on what we are doing”
He said: “I think when I look at those by-election results, I think what people were saying was they were pretty fed up with hearing an awful lot of stuff about me as an individual rather than hearing about what matters to them as voters – and that’s why what I have to do is focus on what we are doing to change our economy, change the way things work for the better.”
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Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy said he sees “no possibility” of Labour making a formal pact with the Lib Dems to win power.
He argued that voters don’t want “politicians to stitch up deals in the corridors of power” and that Labour had to win over former Tory voters too.
The Conservatives have tried to shift blame for their double by-election defeat onto opposition parties.
Lib Dem leader Ed Davey also denied any electoral pact with Labour –
insisting that voters will make up their own minds.
“If you look at the seats we’ve got to win, we can win, at the next election, then we’ve got to convince a lot of Conservative voters,” he added.