‘Amazing!’ EU officials brutally mock Boris’ Brexit claims to MPs ahead of confidence vote

Boris Johnson says vote result is ‘very good’

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The Prime Minister pleaded with Tory MPs to back his leadership rather than indulge in “pointless” internal warfare as he faced a crunch vote on his political future on Monday evening.

Mr Johnson wrote to Tory MPs and addressed them at a private meeting in Westminster two hours before voting began.

He reminded Conservatives that “under my leadership” the party had won its biggest electoral victory in 40 years and made a commitment to future tax cuts, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak expected to say more in the coming weeks.

He warned them that Tory splits risked the “utter disaster” of Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour entering Downing Street, propped up by the SNP.

“The only way we will let that happen is if we were so foolish as to descend into some pointless fratricidal debate about the future of our party,” he said, according to briefed extracts of his speech to the private meeting of Tory MPs.

Among other things, the Prime Minister praised his government’s achievement on Brexit which was mocked in Brussels, according to Eurasia Group director Mujtaba Rahman.

He wrote: “Amazement among senior EU officials (& pro EU Tories) at amazing claim in Boris Johnson’s letter to all Tory MPs: ‘As we promised, we resolved the long Brexit crisis and created a new friendly relationship with the EU’.

“Comes as news to most in Brussels.”

Mr Johnson also told MPs “I understand the anxieties of people who have triggered this vote” but “I humbly submit to you that this is not the moment for a leisurely and entirely unforced domestic political drama and months and months of vacillation from the UK.”

In an attempt to win round Tories concerned about his economic plans, Mr Johnson said: “Everyone understands the fiscal impact of Covid, the cost of clearing the backlogs, but the way out now is to drive supply side reform on Conservative principles and to cut taxes.”

In his separate letter to Conservatives, the Prime Minister said: “Tonight we have the chance to end weeks of media speculation and take this country forward, immediately, as one united party.”

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It is an opportunity to “draw a line” under the issue, he added.

“I do not believe our voters will lightly forgive us if – just when they need us most to be focusing on them – we appear once again to be focusing on Westminster politics.”

Tory MPs voted by 211 to 148 in support of the Prime Minister but the scale of the revolt against his leadership leaves him wounded.

When Theresa May faced a confidence vote in 2018 she secured the support of 63 percent of her MPs but was still forced out within six months.

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Mr Johnson saw 41 percent of his MPs vote against him, a worse result than Mrs May.

But the Prime Minister told reporters in Downing Street: “I think it’s an extremely good, positive, conclusive, decisive result which enables us to move on, to unite and to focus on delivery and that is exactly what we are going to do.”

He rejected the assertion that he was now a lame duck prime minister who needed to call a snap election to secure a new mandate from the public, insisting he was focused on the public’s priorities.

The scale of the revolt against Mr Johnson’s leadership has left him vulnerable, and he could suffer further blows in two key by-elections in Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton on June 23.

But he was bullish as he told reporters that he had secured a “very good result for politics and for the country”.

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