Tories weigh up slashing time between no-confidence votes as PM sweats over future

19 January 2022, 20:12 | Updated: 19 January 2022, 20:51

By Patrick Grafton-Green

The Conservative backbench 1922 Committee is considering cutting the minimum time between votes of no-confidence from a year to six months, in a move that could make it more likely for Boris Johnson to be ousted as leader.

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LBC's Ben Kentish has been told this could be voted on as early as next week and, if passed, the Prime Minister could face two votes before the summer.

It is understood some MPs think it would lead to more letters being sent in, as anti-Johnson MPs would know they would soon have another chance to oust the PM if he survives the next few weeks.

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Sources insist the move is "not about Boris Johnson" but rather "tidying up" the rules after the issue was raised in relation to Theresa May when she was prime minister.

However, the timing is notable and is expected to be pushed by anti-Johnson MPs on the committee.

A number of MPs have already submitted letters of no confidence to 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady, however the threshold of 54 that would launch a no-confidence vote in Mr Johnson has not yet been reached.

It comes as senior Tory David Davis earlier urged the PM to quit, telling him: "In the name of God, go".

Prime Minister's Questions culminated in the former cabinet minister explaining how he has spent weeks defending Mr Johnson from "angry constituents", including by reminding them of the "successes of Brexit".

But he said: "I expect my leaders to shoulder the responsibility for the actions they take.

"Yesterday he did the opposite of that. So, I will remind him of a quotation which may be familiar to his ear: Leopold Amery to Neville Chamberlain.

"You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. In the name of God, go."

There will also be one letter fewer submitted to the committee than there would have been, after Tory MP Christian Wakeford announced he was defecting to Labour.

Mr Wakeford branded Mr Johnson "disgraceful" and sent a letter to him explaining why he had lost patience with his leadership.

Despite coming under huge pressure to resign from his own MPs as well as those in opposition, the Prime Minister has insisted he will stay on and fight another election.

His press secretary confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that it is his intention to fight the next election in 2024.

Asked if he would also fight any no-confidence vote in him by his party and whether he was the best man for the job, the press secretary said: "Yes."

She added: "Our focus is very clear in terms of delivering the ambitious agenda that we have set out, that we were elected on in 2019, and we want to continue to work together as Conservatives to deliver this."