Boris facing Tory COUP as MPs furious at tax rises eye Partygate ‘excuse’ to ditch PM
Beergate: Jonathan Ashworth on difference to Partygate
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The prospect of a coup was raised again this morning by long term backbench critic South Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale who called on fellow Conservative MPs to throw out their leader. He tweeted: “I believe that the PM has misled the HoC’s from the despatch box. That is a resignation issue. I have made my own position clear. It is now a matter for my Conservative parliamentary colleagues to decide whether or not to instigate a vote of no confidence.”
Sir Roger, a well known anti-Brexit Remainer, was part of an attempted coup in January to ditch the Prime Minister which attracted the support of Brexiteers like North West Leicestershire MP Andrew Bridgen and Hazel Grove MP William Wragg.
But the group did not raise the 54 letters required to be sent to Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee which represents Tory MPs.
But with the Sue Gray Report expected tomorrow, Wednesday, May 25, a number of previously “depressed” loyalist Boris Johnson supporters have told Express.co.uk that Partygate could be “a means to an end” to get a leader “who will deliver Conservative policies”.
It comes amid rumours that Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi and Home Secretary Priti Patel are being considered as “a dream team” of Prime Minister and Chancellor to lead a tax cutting Tory Government.
This came amid claims that ministers were avoiding going out to make TV interviews defending the Prime Minister.
One source told Express.co.uk that Chief Treasury Secretary Simon Clarke MP was furious at being ordered to go out.
He told the BBC: “I have nothing to say…I’m as surprised to be here as you are.”
One MP said he had refused to go on the Today Program to defend Mr Johnson.
“I texted them to say that if I wanted to be berated for 10 minutes I would just call home,” he said.
But Conservative MPs believe that the real damage of the scandals of Downing Street parties is that “they have sucked the life out of the Government.”
One previously loyal backbencher said: “I got elected to slash people’s taxes and make them freer to do business and get on with their lives.
“Instead we have raised taxes and put people under virtual house arrest [with lockdown] for two years.”
Another said: “I’m not even sure why we are here anymore. Everyone is depressed, there is no direction, policy changes by the day and we are not governing as Conservatives.”
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One MP from a Red Wall seat elected in 2019 told Express.co.uk: “What is the point of having an 80 seat majority when we don’t do anything Conservative?
“Why are we messing around with Net Zero and tax rises? We should be slashing tax, bringing back grammar schools, fighting woke issues and tackling the cost of living.”
A former minister, who had also stuck by Mr Johnson previously, said: “The most harmful charge brought by [Labour leader] Keir Starmer is that this government has no direction.
“He made the point badly but he was right. This is a Government which cannot say what levelling up is, has no cultural offer to the country and appears to be anything but Conservative.
Another 2019 intake Red Wall MP said: “The reason I supported Dominic Raab for leader in 2019 was that Boris has liberal left views.
“That has proven to be true and I am not sure he has the sparkle he once had with voters now, especially after Partygate.”
Another MP said: “Maybe we should see Partygate as a means to an end and an excuse to move on from Boris so we can refresh and have a new leader.
“The whole issue has sucked the life out of my colleagues [Conservative MPs], everyone is depressed and nobody supports the tax raising policies.”
With an announcement on a windfall tax on energy companies expected soon, the MP added: “That’s another bad tax rise, one we were encouraged to oppose and now we all look like idiots because of a Government U-turn.”
However, the one thing that saves Mr Johnson is Starmer’s current problems over beergate where he and his deputy Angela Rayner were at a gathering of 20 people and ate more than £20 of curry washed down with beer in April last year.
One former minister said: “I think the moment has passed for Partygate because of beergate. The public have moved on. Yes we have pictures of Boris drinking but we also have pictures of Starmer drinking.”
Another, who was involved in the failed January coup, added: “My colleagues are very good at complaining but I doubt they will have the backbone to take action.”
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