Johnson’s fall to the right increases the momentum for the leadership vote

The fall of Boris Johnson to the right after Partygate is further fueling anger among rebel Conservative MPs, with the impetus for a leadership challenge next week.

Conservative whips spent the first day of rest anxiously calling on the parliamentary party to bolster support for the prime minister, as four more MPs asked him to resign, including Jeremy Wright, the former attorney general.

Several Conservative MPs told the Guardian that they believed the 54-letter threshold withdrawing support for Johnson was about to be crossed, or perhaps had already been crossed. This would trigger a secret ballot on whether they still have confidence in the Prime Minister.

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It is understood that Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, will have to use his own criteria as to whether to announce the milestone which will be approved immediately if it occurs while Parliament is not in this week, or wait until Monday, when the Chamber. of the Commons returns after the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations.

A critic of the Prime Minister said that the deputies of the 2019 admission were “picking up their courage” to write letters before next Monday, but that they were worried about the repercussions if the number 10 identified them after a blow of unsuccessful state. Opposition groups called for Johnson’s co-ordination to take a vote.

In his statement withdrawing support for the Prime Minister, Wright said Johnson had done “real and lasting damage” to the governing body and, although he could not be sure, the Prime Minister had deceived parliament. , Johnson had been, at best, “negligent.” in how he had approached the subject.

Elliot Colburn, a Conservative MP with a small majority against the Liberal Democrats, said he had sent a letter “some time ago”, while Nickie Aiken, MP for the cities of London and Westminster, whose council turned Labor this month, he asked Johnson to put an end to the situation by sending a letter of censure on himself. Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen also told voters he had resubmitted his letter.

Dismay over Johnson’s prime minister is worsening among Conservatives in the so-called “Blue Wall” seats at the risk of losing them to the Lib Dems and the Red Wall fringes where they have narrow majorities over Labor.

With Johnson’s future on the balance sheet, the No. 10 has begun to launch a series of right-wing nationalist policies in recent weeks. These include the return of imperial measures, plans to repeal the Northern Ireland protocol, a clue to the expansion of grammar schools, a revision of fracking and repeated promises to break more EU regulation.

A cabinet minister told the Guardian that it looked like Johnson was trying to stop the party’s right-wing party against him in the event of a leadership challenge, citing policies such as the revision of fracking, which is unpopular electorally but appeals to a minority in parliament. .

But conservative pollsters and some centrist MPs warned that this direction of the “basic vote” was the wrong way to lower public confidence in Johnson so low among oscillating voters. Tobias Ellwood, a former Conservative minister and chairman of the defense committee, warned: “We will lose the next election with the current trajectory, as reflected in the last election.

“Not only is there a concern about the behavior of the number 10, because this has broken trust with the British people, but now it is concerned that the number 10 is thinking about what our policies are.”

On the policy of weights and measures, he told Sky News: “There will be people in our party who will like this nostalgic policy in the hope that it will be enough to win the next election. But that is not the case. This is not the case. a conservative thinking of a single nation that is required to appeal beyond our base. “

A Conservative cabinet source said the policy of imperial measures was “absolutely banana”, while another cabinet source said they “had no idea what muppet he had this idea” as “it is not about bananas”. that’s the government’s overall strategy. “

Another Conservative MP said he represented a seat in the “heart of middle England” and that about half of Conservative grassroots voters there had lost faith in the Prime Minister.

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Some local government leaders also expressed a lack of confidence in Johnson. Rishi Sunak Local Council Leader Carl Les, the Conservative leader of the North Yorkshire County Council, said he thought it was time for a leadership election, blaming Johnson for the big losses in the local election.

“I’m very disappointed that the strong majority we had in North Yorkshire has been reduced to a majority of jobs, but only, and much of the comments we were making at the door were about the impact of Partygate,” said Les .

Warnings from lawmakers and councilors were echoed by pollsters and political strategists, including former No. 10 advisers James Johnson and Will Tanner. They both said Johnson was on the verge of losing the election by turning right instead of focusing on achieving goals in schools, hospitals, housing and the cost of living.

Tanner, a former No. 10 aide and chairman of the Conservative think tank Onward, said: , to satisfy some of his supporters at a time when the prime minister is clearly worried about his future, these issues will not win the Conservative Party the next election. “

He said he had “never sat in a focus group or conducted a poll where issues such as imperial weights and measures or the privatization of Channel 4 have been repeatedly raised” of voters Johnson is seeking in the courts.

He added: “It’s NHS, immigration, crime, wages, good jobs in my city. These are the foundations on which the Conservative Party should focus, not these very small and niche issues, which only matter a few how many people”.

James Johnson, a JL Partners pollster who worked for Theresa May, said: “We are approaching the situation with Johnson in a similar way to the one we faced with Corbyn, where individual policies may be popular, but the brand associated with them is toxic.”

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