Conservative defector Christian Wakeford says Boris Johnson is on borrowed time as half a dozen leadership contenders vie to smear the prime minister.
The Bury South MP who joined Labor last week said: “The Prime Minister has poisoned the Tory Party from top to bottom.
“Britain deserves better. It’s time for Boris Johnson to go.”
Six contenders are leading the field for the top job and sources say some are already raising campaign money and promising top jobs to MPs.
Foreign Minister Rishi Sunak and former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt remain the favourites.
But outside are Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt, 48, and Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, 54.
Also in the running are Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Tugenhat and the Conservative members’ favorite, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
The race will be a knockout contest until the final two candidates emerge before a vote by party members.
One MP said: “There will be a lot of tactical voting. Most of us think it’s going to be a disaster if Liz gets the last two because she’s sure to get in.”
Supporters of Sunak and Hunt agreed to a “non-aggression pact” to get her out.
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Conservative MPs union steward Sir Graham Brady needs 54 letters of censure from the Prime Minister for a vote to take place.
But the chairman of the 1922 endorsement committee has received more than a thousand, many from longtime Conservatives who will never vote for the party again.
One signed by John de Sterling read: “I have voted Tory for over 50 years. No more. I am disgusted with them.”
Douglas of Orpington wrote: “On the night of Johnson’s ‘Work Meeting’ my 12 year old grandson was in A&E suffering badly from Covid.
“End this tawdry chapter in party history.” Yesterday the crisis deepened as chairman of the Commons Public Administration Committee
William Wragg said he would speak to police this week about allegations that Tory whips “blackmailed” MPs.
Standards Committee chairman Chris Bryant of the Labor Party said if the claims were true, they could lead to charges of misconduct in public office.
Wakeford said: “Whips told me I wouldn’t get a promised new school in Bury South if I voted the wrong way.”
Most Conservative MPs are awaiting Sue Gray’s report before deciding on their next move.
They were furious that overly excited 2019 newly elected MPs rushed to write letters in last week’s so-called pork pie plot, so named because the plotters met in the office of Alicia Kearns, whose constituency contains the Melton Mowbray plant.
If the plot had been successful, a vote of no confidence would have been taken, and lost, before the Gray report.
Johnson is speaking to reeling MPs this weekend from his retirement at Checkers camp.
Reports suggest that Gray found an email warning the Prime Minister’s top private secretary, Martin Reynolds, against a cocktail party in Garden No 10.
Johnson admitted that he attended the meeting on May 20, 2020 and stayed 25 minutes before marking that it was not a work event.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.