North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale has ‘refreshed’ a letter calling for a leadership election in the Conservative Party.
The renewed request for action comes amid furore over Downing Street ‘parties’ while the country was in lockdown.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologised in the House of Commons for the ‘bring your own bottle’ garden bash which took place in May 2020 but has faced backlash amongst his own party and calls for him to resign.
The gathering of around 40 people is one of several alleged incidents and is being investigated by senior civil servant Sue Gray although The Times reports that she is not expected to find the event breached covid laws.
The Metropolitan Police is not conducting a criminal investigation but is in contact with the Cabinet Office over Ms Gray’s inquiry and will review its position if it receives evidence of potential criminal offences, The Times adds.
North Thanet MP said the ‘bring a bottle’ to a ‘work event’ was on ‘very thin ice indeed,’ and followed that up by saying: “I have already indicated publicly that I have submitted a formal letter to the Chairman of the 1922 Committee calling for a Leadership Election. This was done a year ago following the ‘Barnard Castle’ incident and has been refreshed recently.
“Having made my position clear I believe that we should if possible afford Ms Gray the courtesy of allowing her to conclude and present her report of her investigations into allegations of improper ‘party’ events in Downing Street before instigating further action if appropriate.
“That may change in the light of any future information that emerges in the course of the coming days.”
The veteran MP told BBC Radio 4’s The World At One programme: “Politically the Prime Minister is a dead man walking.”
South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay said he awaits all the evidence but said he did not know whether the PM would “survive this period.”
He said: “Are these issues requiring resignation, votes of confidence or other measures? I await the full report before considering these matters further.
“I was a Magistrate in Kent for ten years; that experience told me to look at all evidence, hear the ‘prosecution’ and ‘defence’ and any mitigation and then to conclude appropriately. There is no doubt that the PM is facing the most difficult period of his premiership, if not his entire political career.
“When he is at his best, he helps to bring a unique sparkle to political life and a rare electoral appeal. I cannot tell you at this stage whether he will survive this period; much is in his own hands to make up all that has been lost, which is considerable.”
The Prime Minister’s said he “believed implicitly that this was a work event.” In his apology, claimed the event in May “technically” fell inside covid guidance- calling the Downing Street gardens an ‘extension of the office’ but acknowledged the anger felt across the country by people who were expected to abide by lockdown rules, including not seeing family, limiting funeral attendance and being unable to visited those in hospital.