Full list of Tories calling for Boris Johnson to resign – and those still backing the PM
Boris Johnson faced a barrage of criticism from his own MPs on Wednesday over his attendance at a Downing Street garden party at the height of lockdown last year.
Speaking in the Commons, Mr Johnson acknowledged the public’s “rage” over the party on May 20 2020, but insisted that he thought the event could technically have been within the rules.
He told MPs he went to the gathering for around 25 minutes to “thank groups of staff”, adding that he “believed implicitly that this was a work event”.
However, his apology appears to have done little to quell mounting anger among Tory politicians over the incident, and a number of MPs and MSPs across the nation have called on him to resign.
The prominent call for his resignation came from Douglass Ross, the leader of the Scottish Tories, who said that the Prime Minister’s position was “no longer tenable”. A host of MSPs followed Mr Ross’s lead in calling for Mr Johnson to go.
But a number of Cabinet ministers also rallied behind the Prime Minister on Wednesday evening to publicly shore up his support.
Below is the full list of Tory MPs who have called on Mr Johnson to stand down so far:
1. Douglas Ross, Leader of the Scottish Tories
“I said, yesterday, if the Prime Minister attended this gathering, event in Downing Street on May 20 2020, he could not continue as Prime Minister so, regretfully, I have to say his position is no longer tenable,” Mr Ross said on Wednesday.
“There was one simple question to answer yesterday, indeed, from Monday night when we saw this invitation which was to more than 100 people asking them to join others in the Downing Street garden and bring their own booze.
“If the Prime Minister was there, and he accepted today that he was, then I felt he could not continue.
“What we also heard from the Prime Minister today was an apology and he said with hindsight he would have done things differently, which for me is an acceptance from the Prime Minister that it was wrong and therefore, I don’t want to be in this position, but I am in this position now, where I don’t think he can continue as leader of the Conservatives.”
2. William Wragg – MP, vice chairman of the 1922 Committee
Mr Wragg suggested Mr Johnson should take the decision to resign himself. He told the BBC that it was “a tragedy things have come to pass in this way”, adding: “Unfortunately, I wasn’t reassured. I fear this is simply going to be a continuing distraction to the good governance of the country.”
He said it would be “preferable” for Mr Johnson to offer his resignation himself as MPs were “tired” and “frankly worn out of defending what is invariably indefensible”.
“I don’t believe it should be left to the findings of a civil servant to determine the future of the Prime Minister and indeed who governs this country. I think it is for the Conservative Party, if not the Prime Minister, in fact, to make that decision, and to realise what is in the best interest, so that we can move forward both as a party and a country,” he said.
He added that “no doubt the Prime Minister is reflecting deeply on what has happened, but I cannot in all sincerity see a way where these issues go away”.
“It is deeply unfortunate, but I’m afraid it is… the inevitable conclusion is the only way to do that is with a change,” he said.
3. Sir Roger Gale – MP
“I’m sorry, you don’t have ‘bring a bottle’ work events in Downing Street, so far as I’m aware. And you don’t have ‘bring a bottle’ work events that are advertised or invited by the Prime Minister’s private secretary,” he said.
“The Prime Minister said on Dec 8 from the despatch box that he was reliably assured that there were no parties – well, we now know there was at least one party and probably more, and that at least one of them, the one he spent at least 25 minutes at, he attended.
“So he knew there was a party, so he misled the House. He said he believed there were no parties but he attended one – how do you square that circle?”
He added: “I think the time has come for either the Prime Minister to go with dignity as his choice, or for the 1922 Committee to intervene.”
4. Caroline Nokes – MP
Ms Nokes, the MP for Romsey and Southampton North, on Wednesday night become the fourth Tory MP to call for Boris Johnson to resign.
She told ITV’s Peston the PM had “put himself in an impossible position”, and added: “The message I’ve had from my constituents is they feel let down they feel disappointed, and I know how hard they worked through the pandemic to abide by the rules.”
She said: “They now see that the Prime Minister wasn’t in it together with them, that the rules were being broken in Downing Street, and that’s very serious.”
Ms Nokes said she recognised Mr Johnson “did a fantastic job” at the 2019 election, but she said: “Now regretfully, he looks like a liability, and I think he either goes now, or he goes in three years’ time at a general election, and it’s up to the party to decide which way around that’s going to be. I know my thoughts are is that he’s damaging us now.”
5. Andrew Bridgen – MP
Andrew Bridgen, who backed Mr Johnson to be leader in June 2019, said he should stand aside within three months.
Writing for The Telegraph, Mr Bridgen warned of “a moral vacuum at the heart of our Government” in the wake of the “partygate” revelations, adding: “Sadly, the Prime Minister’s position has become untenable.
The Tory MSPs who have echoed Douglas Ross’s calls for Boris Johnson to go:
Miles Briggs, Alexander Burnett, Donald Cameron, Jackson Carlaw, Russell Findlay, Maurice Golden, Meghan Gallacher, Jamie Halcro-Johnston, Craig Hoy, Liam Kerr, Stephen Kerr, Murdo Fraser, Douglas Lumsden, Liz Smith, Sue Webber, Annie Wells, Brian Whittle, Edward Mountain, Sharon Dowey and Finlay Carson.
Tory MPs who have voiced support for Mr Johnson:
1. Rishi Sunak, Chancellor (Jan 12, 8.11pm)
“The PM was right to apologise and I support his request for patience while Sue Gray carries out her enquiry,” he wrote on Twitter.
2. Nadine Dorries, Culture Secretary (Jan 12, 3.04pm, and Jan 13, 8.37am)
“PM was right to personally apologise earlier. People are hurt and angry at what happened and he has taken full responsibility for that. The inquiry should now be allowed to its work and establish the full facts of what happened,” she wrote on Twitter.
The following morning, Ms Dorries added: “[The Prime Minister has] constantly taken the right decisions. More people jabbed, more antivirals and testing than the rest of EU is giving us the most open and fastest-growing economy.
“400,000 more [are] back in work than at the start of the pandemic. [We] kept jobs with furlough, self-employed grants and industries standing.
“This despite every doomster and gloomster party political prediction from Labour that decisions taken by Government throughout pandemic would result in mass unemployment and a tanking economy. They were wrong throughout the pandemic at every juncture. They are wrong now.”
3. Liz Truss, Foreign Secretary (Jan 12, 9.14pm)
“The Prime Minister is delivering for Britain – from Brexit to the booster programme to economic growth. I stand behind the Prime Minister 100 per cent as he takes our country forward,” she tweeted.
4. Dominic Raab, Justice Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister (Jan 12, 3.15pm)
“I’m fully supportive of this Prime Minister and I’m sure he will continue for many years to come,” he said, adding that it was a “daft question” when asked whether he would run for the Tory leadership.
5. Sajid Javid, Health Secretary (Jan 12, 4.43pm)
“I completely understand why people feel let down. The PM did the right thing by apologising,” he said.
“Now we need to let the investigation complete its work. We have so much to get on with including rolling out boosters, testing and antivirals – so we can live with Covid.”
6. Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary (Jan 12, 6.45pm)
“I think the Prime Minister was very contrite today, he apologised and he took full responsibility,” he told Times Radio.
7. Jacob Rees-Mogg, Leader of the House of Commons (Jan 12, 5.40pm)
“I think the Prime Minister has got things right again and again and again,” he said.
“But like us all, he accepts that during a two-and-a-half-year period, there will be things that with hindsight would have been done differently.”
8. George Eustice, Environment Secretary (Jan 12, 5.30pm)
Asked if the Prime Minister will resign if Sue Gray’s report found wrongdoing, Mr Eustice said: “I don’t think we should get ahead of ourselves here. We should take this a step at a time.”
9. Steve Barclay, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Jan 12, 8.32pm)
“The PM did the right thing by apologising in Parliament. We should now let the investigation complete its work and I support the PM’s request for patience so that Sue Gray is able to do so,” he said.
10. Therese Coffey, Work and Pensions Secretary (Jan 12, 6.53pm)
“I agree with Nadine. I was at PMQs today. I saw how sincere the PM was and I know how he has worked tirelessly to tackle coronavirus, striving to protect lives and livelihoods,” she wrote.
11. Nadhim Zahawi, Education Secretary (Jan 12, 6.25pm)
Retweeted Nadine Dorries’s initial statement
12. Oliver Dowden, Conservative Party chairman (Jan 12, 5.03pm)
“Worth watching important apology from PM today. Let’s allow Sue Gray to do her job while we get on with ours – rolling out the vaccine, keeping the economy open and driving jobs recovery,” he wrote.
13. Suella Braverman, Attorney General (Jan 12, 8.07pm)
“Got Brexit done. World-beating vaccine roll-out. 400,000 more jobs than pre-Covid. Keeping schools open & children learning. Building back better for all. All thanks to the leadership of Boris Johnson,” she wrote.
14. Alok Sharma, Cop26 President (Jan 12, 6.28pm)
“The Prime Minister was right to apologise. We now need to let Sue Gray complete her investigation,” he wrote.
15. Kwasi Kwarteng, Business Secretary (Jan 12, 6.28pm)
Mr Kwarteng backed Mr Johnson in a WhatsApp group of MPs, saying he had been “absolutely right to apologise” and a focus was needed on “top priorities” such as Brexit dividends and levelling-up.
16. Anne-Marie Trevelyan, International Trade Secretary (Jan 12, 5.25pm)
Ms Trevelyan described the Prime Minister’s apology as “needed and heard” but insisted Boris Johnson had been “relentless in [his] determination to protect us” against Covid.
17. Ben Wallace, Defence Secretary (Jan 12, 7.12pm)
18. Priti Patel, Home Secretary (Jan 12, 3.39pm)
19. Brandon Lewis, Northern Ireland Secretary (Jan 12, 10.05pm)
20. Michael Gove, Housing and Levelling Up Secretary (Jan 12, 3.22pm)
21. Simon Hart, Wales Secretary (Jan 12, 10.13pm)
22. Simon Clarke, Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Jan 12, 5.47pm)
23. Michael Fabricant, MP for Lichfield (Jan 13, 9.01am)
“I confess to voting against John Major and Theresa May in votes of no confidence – so I am no loyalist,” Mr Fabricant, a veteran Tory MP, tweeted. “But Boris delivered Brexit, the best vaccination programme in Europe and first in the world, and in England is likely soon to leave Covid behind. He delivers and has my full support.”
24. Stuart Anderson, MP for Wolverhampton South West (Jan 13, 8.45am)
Mr Anderson tweeted his agreement with Brandon Lewis that Boris Johnson “will win the next election”.
25. Michelle Donelan, MP for Chippenham (Jan 12, 9.54pm)
Ms Donelan, the universities minister, wrote: “PM was right to personally apologise today – so many made sacrifices sometimes heart wrenching ones so understandably people are angry and hurting which is why as the Prime Minister said we need to let the inquiry take place.”
26. James Cleverly, MP for Braintree and former Tory chairman (Jan 12, 8.05pm)
“As I said earlier today to the press in Brussels, the PM was absolutely right to make an apology today and explain what happened,” Mr Cleverly said. “It is now right to await Sue Gray’s findings.”
27. Nigel Adams, minister without portfolio (Jan 12, 7.09pm)
Mr Adams said Nadine Dorries’s comments were “spot on”.
28. Kit Malthouse, policing minister (Jan 12, 6.37pm)
“In the short time he has been PM, Boris Johnson has delivered on the people’s vote on Brexit, created a new electoral coalition and steered the country through Covid so we are likely to be the first major economy to emerge from the pandemic,” Mr Malthouse tweeted.
29. Mark Jenkinson, MP for Workington (Jan 12, 4.37pm)
“Boris Johnson continues to have my support as Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party. He also maintains the support of the parliamentary party, and of the majority of my constituents… they see this as an exciting period for Britain.”
30. Chris Philp, technology minister (Jan 12, 3.37pm)
Mr Philp said Nadine Dorries was “right” in saying the Prime Minister had been correct to apologise.
31. Damian Collins, MP for Folkestone and Hythe (Jan 12, 3.16pm)
“The PM was right to apologise today for not stopping the event in the garden of Number 10.”