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Partygate: PM faces growing anger from MPs

© Sue Gray report A gathering takes place in the Cabinet Room of Number 10 Downing Street on Prime Minister Boris Johnson's birthday. Rishi Sunak was also in attendance.
A gathering takes place in the Cabinet Room of Number 10 Downing Street on Prime Minister Boris Johnson's birthday. Rishi Sunak was also in attendance.

Boris Johnson is facing growing discontent in his own party over Downing Street lockdown breaches.

An increasing number of Tory MPs have spoken out against the prime minister in recent days in the wake of Sue Gray’s damning Partygate report.

Among them are former health minister Stephen Hammond and Sir Bob Neill, chairman of the justice select committee, who have both submitted a letter of no confidence.

It means Johnson is again fast losing support among MPs after previously clinging on to power when the initial allegations about Covid rule-breaking came to light.

He had already been fined by police for attending his own birthday bash in June 2020 when indoor mixing was forbidden.

Gray’s report, published on Wednesday, detailed excessive drinking, mistreatment of cleaners and security staff, and repeated lockdown breaches throughout the pandemic.

Some 24 MPs have publicly stated that they no longer support Johnson but the exact number of letters sent is unknown given the process is carried out in secret.

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tories, will be obliged to order a confidence vote if he receives 54 letters demanding one.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross’ said Johnson should step down but only after the war in Ukraine is over.

He had previously called for Johnson’s immediate resignation when the scandal first came to light, before withdrawing his letter and citing the Ukraine war as the reason.

Neill said he wrote the letter because he does not find Johnson’s explanations “credible”.

He said: “Trust is the most important commodity in politics, but these events have undermined trust in not just the office of the prime minister, but in the political process itself.”