Boris Johnson will fight on against any confidence challenge against him and will lead the Tories into the next election, his press officials have declare.
The Prime Minister’s press secretary said the Prime Minister would defy any attempt to oust him if 54 MPs submit letters of no confidence in him triggering a leadership election.
Asked if Johnson 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 said: “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.”
Allies of the Prime Minister were growing confident that they had seen off an early challenge despite a torpedo attack from fellow Conservative veteran David Davis.
The defection of one of his ‘Red Wall’ MPs to Labour shortly before Prime Minister’s Questions heaped more pressure on Johnson.
The defection by Christian Wakeford, the MP for Bury South, was paraded as a triumph by Labour leader Keir Starmer at Prime Minister’s Questions.
But twitchy Conservative MPs viewed it as betrayal of their party rather than an attack on the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister’s press secretary said: “We’re obviously sorry to see a colleague who was elected by a constituency that voted for a Boris Johnson government leave and attempt to put Keir Starmer into Number 10 which will be a disaster for the country”.
Johnson is set to meet with more backbench MPs having thrown more ‘red meat’ by announcing a relaxation of covid rules in England from next week.
In the high stakes atmosphere around Westminster there were claims and counter claims on what the bitterly split Tory party would do next.
There were reports that Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of the Conservative Party, had 30 or more letters but also claims that letters were being withdrawn after Wakefield’s defection.
But with Davis declaring “in the name of God, go” the splits in the right wing of the party were plain for all to see.
Johnson’s press secretary said: “He regularly meets MPs, he was doing exactly that yesterday and will do the same today.
“The broad message of all of these meetings is to focus on what we’ve delivered for the country so far since we were elected, from getting Brexit done to record investments in local transport and infrastructure, to tackling this unprecedented pandemic, and we’ve consistently made tough decisions which have resulted in us being in the position we’re in now.”
Asked if Labour are in talks with any moreTory MPs who might be considering defecting, a spokesman for the party said: “I am not going to get into that.”
Speaking during a briefing for journalists, he said: “What you’ve seen today is a decision from Christian Wakeford that shows his confidence in the Labour Party led by Keir Starmer and we are very pleased to welcome him to the Labour Party today.”
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