Two more Conservative MPs representing London seats have made it known that they no longer have confidence in Boris Johnson as leader of their party and Prime Minister.
Bob Neill (pictured), who represents the parliamentary seat of Bromley & Chislehurst, and Stephen Hammond, the MP for Wimbledon, have followed David Simmonds (Ruislip, Northwood & Pinner) in stating that they have submitted letters to their colleague Graham Brady, chair of the Tory backbench MPs’ 1922 committee, saying they believe Johnson should go.
In a statement issued today, Neill, a former minister who currently chairs the justice select committee and was previously a member of the London Assembly, revealed that he gave Brady his letter on Wednesday afternoon and said Sue Gray’s report into Covid lockdown gatherings at 10 Downing Street had “highlighted a pattern of wholly unacceptable behaviour” breaking rules the government was “telling others to live by”.
He added: “I have listened carefully to the explanations the Prime Minister has given in Parliament and elsewhere and regrettably do not find his assertions to be credible”. Neill concluded that “to rebuild trust” in the office of Prime Minister and the political process itself “a change of leadership is required”.
Hammond, a former transport minister who, since December has expressed disquiet about Johnson’s behaviour and the No 10 culture he has presided over, issued a statement yesterday evening describing the conclusions of Gray’s report as “damning for the Prime Minister” and underlining that “I cannot and will not defend the indefensible”.
He said it is impossible to “move on” from the so-called partygate affair without “regaining public trust” which he was not sure is possible “in the current situation”. Hammond’s statement ended: “All I can do as a backbencher is speak out and submit a letter.”
It is reported that ten Tory MPs in all have said they have submitted no confidence letters to Brady and a further 13 have said publicly that Johnson should go. It is not known how many letters Brady has received in all. Conservative Party rules say that 15 per cent of its MPs must submit letters – a total of 54 in the current parliament – in order to trigger a no confidence vote. Tories presently hold 21 of the capital’s 73 parliamentary seats.
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