Boris Johnson appears to be reassured by Liz Truss after PMQs
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After witnesses told the BBC the Prime Minister and his wife were among about 40 people who attended the “bring your own booze” event, the Prime Minister offered a “heartfelt apology”. Mr Johnson said: “I know the rage they feel with me and with the Government I lead when they think that in Downing Street itself, the rules are not being properly followed by the people who make the rules.”
In response, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has demanded the resignation of Boris Johnson, and submitted a letter of no confidence to Parliament. Mr Ross said: “I don’t want to be in this position, but I am in this position now, where I don’t think he can continue as leader of the Conservatives.”
Fellow Tory MP William Wragg, the chair of the Commons’ Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, also described Mr Johnson’s position as “untenable” on Wednesday.
He said he feared the “partygate” row was “simply going to be a continuing distraction to the good governance of the country”.
Senior Tory MP, Sir Roger Gale, has also submitted a letter of no confidence against Mr Johnson and told Sky News that the Prime Minister had left himself in “an impossible position” and was now facing an “exit route” from Number 10.
Leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, said: “After months of deceit and deception, the pathetic spectacle of a man who’s run out of road.
“His defence that he ‘didn’t realise’ he was at a party, it’s so ridiculous that it’s actually offensive to the British public.
“He’s finally been forced to admit what everyone knew, that when the whole country was locked down, he was hosting boozy parties in Downing Street. Is he now going to do the decent thing and resign?”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has long been seen as a candidate for Prime Minister, with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss as his main rival.
The Daily Mail reported that the two politicians are on “constant manoeuvres” to line themselves up as future leaders amongst their Tory peers.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the Foreign Secretary are said to have been “sounding out” colleagues, “working it quite hard” to rush for support in a future leadership opportunity.
Just 54 Tory MPs are required to write a letter of no confidence against Boris Johnson in order to trigger a leadership contest.
To date, two MPs have publicly confirmed that they have written a letter of no confidence, but “multiple others” have reportedly been submitted.
Mr Sunak described himself at the Tory party conference as a man shaped by “pragmatism, fiscal responsibility, a belief in work, and an unshakeable optimism about the future”.
But he has been highly criticised over some of the highest tax rises in history which he said were “necessary” to recover the NHS from Covid waiting lists.
The Chancellor was flanking Ms Truss in second position in the Conservative Home league tables up until September when Mr Sunak hiked National Insurance by 1.25 percent and expanded the tax to hit working and earning pensioners.
In the same month, Mr Sunak went back on a Conservative manifesto pledge and scrapped the triple lock on pensions.
As a result, many older Tory voters felt betrayed and Mr Sunak’s support has weakened, with some accusing him of not being “Conservative enough” – an allegation that he has rebuked.
However, Mr Sunak’s supporters applaud him for facilitating the UK’s economic recovery from Covid – one of the fastest of any major economy in the world.
Mr Sunak’s net worth is estimated at £200million, and he is married to the daughter of the sixth richest man in India, who is estimated to be worth billions.
Akshata Murthy, Mr Sunak’s wife, already holds shares in her father’s company of £430million, which is more than the Queen’s net worth (£350million).
In contrast, Ms Truss comes from what many might call a ‘more relatable’ background, and has been the most satisfactory member of the Cabinet for a staggering 13 months.
By the end of December, members of the Conservative Party gave Ms Truss a satisfaction score of 73.5, a startling 107.3 points ahead of the Prime Minister.
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Ms Truss had continuously achieved a satisfaction score between 82.8 and 89.8 since December 2020, but last month saw a slight drop in her popularity.
The drop could be put down to uncertainty around her new responsibility of handling Brexit negotiations after Lord Frost’s shock negotiations.
Yet she still holds a strong 11.8 point lead ahead of the second most satisfactory member of the cabinet, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.
Chief Whip Mark Spencer and Home Secretary Priti Patel join Boris Johnson in the negative ratings.
Ms Patel has consistently been a low scorer in the Conservative Home league tables throughout the last two years, namely because of the current migrant crisis happening in the English Channel.
More than 25,700 people have made the dangerous journey last year compared to just 297 people in 2018 – before Mr Johnson’s Government came to power and Brexit took effect.
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