The deputy prime minister has insisted there won’t be a Boris Johnson leadership vote next week, saying the “Westminster bubble whips this stuff up”.
Dominic Raab downplayed any risk to Mr Johnson‘s premiership because the variety of Conservative MPs publicly calling for him to go reached 41 within the wake of the Sue Gray report on lockdown-breaking parties in Number 10 and Whitehall.
Asked by Sky News’ Kay Burley if there might be a leadership vote next week – as predicted by former chief William Hague – he mentioned: “No. I feel the Westminster bubble, village, whips these items up and I’m not saying it isn’t severe and vital however we handled all these points, the prime minister has handled all these points.
“It does really feel like a variety of commentary increase this difficulty when really, after I speak to MPs and throughout the House of Commons on the problems I’m taking ahead… they need to see us driving ahead that agenda.
“To be honest, votes of no confidence, leadership contests, all of that is yet more of Westminster talking to itself, not talking to the public, our constituents and the vast majority of MPs respect, recognise and agree with that.”
John Stevenson became the 28th MP to name for Mr Johnson to go and revealed on Tuesday he had submitted a letter of no confidence within the PM to Sir Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers.
A complete of 54 letters – 15% of Tory MPs – must be handed over to set off a leadership vote, with solely Sir Graham understanding what number of letters have been submitted.
Currently, the variety of MPs who’ve publicly revealed they’ve handed in a letter has not reached that threshold however extra could have finished privately, as occurred with Theresa May in 2018 when solely 24 MPs publicly mentioned they’d handed a letter in, however greater than the 48 wanted on the time had been.
Mr Raab additionally defended the PM after his ethics adviser, Lord Geidt, asked the PM to explain why he believes he has not damaged the ministerial code after being fined by the Met Police for a lockdown breach.
Lord Geidt reportedly tried to resign as he feared if he requested Mr Johnson for permission to research the matter, the proposal could be rejected.
A Downing Street supply informed Sky News: “It was a misunderstanding, we don’t expect a resignation.”
Mr Johnson wrote to Lord Geidt to inform him: “Taking account of all the circumstances, I did not breach the code.”
The PM mentioned he had apologised for attending the birthday celebration he was fined for and insisted “at the time I did not consider that the circumstances in which I received a fixed penalty notice were contrary to the regulations”.
Mr Raab mentioned: “Lord Geidt raised that difficulty, the PM responded to it and he has been clear ink relation to the one mounted penalty discover he hadn’t deliberately damaged the legislation and his attendance at that gathering has been well-rehearsed, was inadvertent.
“I feel these solutions have been answered each generally, but additionally now particularly within the letter the PM has despatched.”