Immediately after this intervention, the former Chief Whip publicised his no confidence letter, which was submitted last Friday to Sir Graham:
I am writing to you, with regret, to say that I no longer have confidence in Boris Johnson as Leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party.
In the Prime Minister’s own foreword to the Ministerial Code, he says that “we must uphold the very highest standards of propriety”.
We live in a country where those in charge have to obey the same laws as everyone else. Many people across our country made enormous, sometimes heartbreaking, sacrifices to comply with Covid legislation. Those in leadership positions are supposed to hold themselves to higher standards and set an example. The Prime Minister told us to follow the laws that he set. We now know that the Metropolitan Police has found that the Prime Minister broke those laws, and by paying the fine he has accepted their verdict.
Integrity is about doing the right thing, even when no one is looking.
To date, over 50 fines have been issued by the Metropolitan Police for criminal offences committed at the heart of government. The culture of an organisation is set by, and the responsibility of, the person who leads that organisation. The clearest example of the toxic culture in 10 Downing Street that the Prime Minister fostered was the partying by senior political appointees hours before Her Majesty The Queen laid to rest her beloved husband of 73 years during a period of National Mourning.
The Ministerial Code says that “Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation”. Given we now know that the Prime Minister broke the law and there was systemic law breaking in 10 Downing Street, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Prime Minister has misled Parliament.
It is especially at times of international crisis and tension that our country needs a Prime Minister who commands trust, obeys the law and exemplifies the very values that we are trying to defend.
I voted for Boris Johnson in the 2019 Conservative leadership election as I wanted him to get Brexit done and defeat Jeremy Corbyn. I am glad that he achieved those things and I wanted him to succeed.
However, having reflected on the past few months — from his attempt to change the House of Commons standards system to having been found guilty of breaking the very laws he set — I have reached the conclusion that he is no longer able to deliver the principled leadership required to take our country forward.
Our Party still has so much to offer to our country, but sadly not under Boris Johnson’s leadership. It is for my colleagues in the Conservative and Unionist Parliamentary Party to reflect on whether they reach the same conclusion and act accordingly.
This evening the Parliamentary Conservative Party will gather to hear what a contrite Boris has to say to them. Whether the owner of the first hat thrown into the ring for the Tory leadership campaign will have anything to say there remains to be seen…