07/06/2022

Anger is spreading among Conservative Party members amid fallout from the Sue Gray report, with one minister warning that Boris Johnson is in “yellow card zone”.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions, Finance Minister John Glenn said he had a “very frank and honest” meeting with Johnson to express his and his constituents’ concerns.

“I think we are in the yellow card area but as a member of the government I went to him and told him how my constituents and I felt but he asked me to continue working, reforms in advanced financial services,” he said Friday night.

Former Cabinet Minister David Davis said concern was spreading among Conservative ranks as MPs feared the scandal surrounding Downing Street’s closing parties could cost them their seats.

“Nobody in the world could have made it clear, I don’t think I want the prime minister to go – I haven’t changed my mind about that,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Asked if discontent was spreading in the Conservative Party, Davis said: “There is no doubt about it for two reasons.

First, frankly, because they see their seats disappear in many cases, they see that they are losing the next election on the back of it.

“It also has a bad effect on the country…it distracts from everything it does and doesn’t help the country’s reputation.”

The ex-Brexit minister said it took a long time to resolve issues with the party leadership, pointing to the long periods during which John Major and Theresa May remained 10th despite having an uprising behind the backbenches.

“I’m afraid we won’t solve the case until the end of the year,” he added.

Davis’ warning of an escalating insurgency came after polling firm YouGov created new models that suggested Conservatives would lose all but three of the 88 “battlefield” districts if the general election were held on Saturday, putting the government at risk.

As expected, according to YouGov, Johnson’s seats in Uxbridge and South Ruislip will likely fall into Labour’s hands and “red wall” seats such as Blyth Valley and North Stoke-on-Trent will return to Labour.

In order for a vote of no-confidence to take place, the Chairman of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady, must receive letters from at least 54 Conservative MPs – 15% of the Parliamentary Party.

Former Health Secretary Steve Breen added his name to a list of Tory MPs who were found to have submitted letters of no confidence.

Brin said Gray’s report did not change his mind that “it is inevitable that the Prime Minister will face a vote of confidence. All I can do as a Representative is try to launch this process, and I did (actually, for a while),” he said in a statement posted on his website. On Wednesday, but not until Saturday the media was picked up.

“I have said throughout this sad story that I cannot and will not stand for the indefensible. Rule makers cannot be breaking the law.”

Newton Abbott MP Ann Marie Morris is also among the letter writers after confirming she had reinstated the Tory whip after it was removed in January because she decided to support an opposition proposal to cut value-added tax on energy bills.

Veteran Conservative Sir Bob Neal, a qualified solicitor and chair of the House of Commons Justice Committee, confirmed he had submitted a letter of no-confidence on Friday.

Also, on Friday, Conservative MP for Rutland and Milton Alicia Kearns, a former critic of Johnson, was fired in a statement saying she still did not trust him.

Her constituency, which includes Milton Mowbray, sparked talk of a “pork pie coup” when she and other Tory MPs discussed a bid to oust the prime minister in January.

In a scathing Facebook post, Kearns called for “disdain and disregard” for the sacrifices made by others. “I can only conclude that the Prime Minister’s version of events for Parliament was misleading,” she wrote.

‘My job is to move forward’: Boris Johnson says he won’t quit after Sue Gray report – video

His rivals said Johnson announced changes to the Cabinet Act on Friday to ease penalties for ministers.

According to an update, ministers will not automatically lose their jobs for violating the code of rules and will instead apologize or may have their salaries suspended instead.

Chris Bryant, chair of the Commons Standards Committee, said Johnson’s “relaxation” of ministerial law was “strange” and showed why there should be an independent system for assessing ministers’ behaviour.

The Labor MP told BBC Radio 4’s Today program he did not agree with the recommendations of the Independent Commission on Standards of Public Life, which allow ministers to remain in office due to minor violations of the law.

“Maybe that’s what you’d expect from people who have historically been overwhelmingly civil servants–that’s how they ended up on the Standards Committee in Public Life–that they would support a strong government, broadly capable of what it looks like,” he said.

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He called for “a proper system whereby an independent person decides whether or not to open an investigation against a minister, with absolutely no interference from the prime minister, decides whether it is a very serious or less serious case, and then proposes . . . ‘punishment’.”

“That’s not what the prime minister has, it’s all up to the prime minister and we know, don’t we, the prime minister always finds himself innocent of his own accord in court,” Bryant added.