Boris Johnson is in 'real trouble' says William Hague
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William Hague has forecast a vote of no confidence over Boris Johnson’s premiership as early as next week after a steady stream of Tories backed a ballot on Wednesday. Among the latest Conservative MPs to declare against the Prime Minister are Sir Bob Neill, Conservative chairman of the Justice Select Committee, and former Cabinet minister Andrea Leadsom.
Mr Hague told TimesRadio: “Boris Johnson is in real trouble here and when an MP as reputable, as experienced and respected as Bob Neil, who we were just listening to gives that opinion that he’s just been given that very serious trouble for the Prime Minister.
“I think the Sue Gray report has been one of those sort of slow fuse explosions in politics, it’s still going along.
“A lot of people misread it really the events of last week as meaning the trouble is over, Boris is free and that’s actually not the mood in the Conservative Party that is very, very troubled about the contents of that report.
“So I think that Conservative Party will need to resolve this one way or another, obviously because to be an effective party, they either need to rally behind the Prime Minister they have got or they need to decide to force him out.
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” I think they are moving towards either next week or around the end of June, they are moving towards having a ballot that looks like that.”
Commenting on Ms Leadsom’s letter to constituents, he added: “I said this was a slow fuse well well as such a letter from again a senior figure Andrea Leadsom.
“The fuse is getting closer to the dynamite here and it’s speeding up.
“So I think that’s just another indication the Conservative Party is moving faster towards a vote of confidence or no confidence a leadership ballot, which I said earlier could come next week or at the end of June or more, a few more letters like that and it will come next week.”
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In a letter to her constituents, Ms Leadsom said the “extent and severity” of the rule-breaking in No 10 exposed in the Sue Gray report meant it was “extremely unlikely” the senior leadership did not know what was going on.
“The conclusion I have drawn from the Sue Gray report is that there have been unacceptable failings of leadership that cannot be tolerated and are the responsibility of the Prime Minister,” she said.
In the message, which was shared on social media, she stopped short of directly calling on Mr Johnson to resign and did not say whether she had submitted a letter calling for a no-confidence vote.
Ms Leadsom concluded however by saying: “Each of my Conservative colleagues and I must now decide individually on what is the right course of action that will restore confidence in our Government.”
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Sir Bob Neill, Conservative chairman of the Justice Select Committee, has also said it is in both the party’s and country’s interest for Boris Johnson “to move on”.
Asked why he had submitted a letter of no confidence in Mr Johnson’s leadership on Friday, the MP for Bromley and Chislehurst told Times Radio: “I promised I’d wait until I’d seen the whole of the Sue Gray report and all the explanations that the Prime Minister gave.
“I looked at them and I didn’t think it was credible that he could escape responsibility for what was not just a one-off incident, but a course of conduct, a repeated culture of breaking the rules in 10 Downing Street over a period of months, and on that basis and the feedback I picked up very strongly in my own constituency and the results that we saw there in the local elections where lots of traditional Conservative voters were saying to me ‘I’m sorry but we’ve lost faith in the PM, we can’t support you whilst he’s there’.
“I took the view that it was in the party’s interest and actually the country’s interest for him to move on.”
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