‘Sensible’ colleagues don’t want to ‘topple’ Boris Johnson, claims Welsh Tory MP, amid fresh party storm
A Welsh Tory MP has suggested that “sensible” colleagues don’t want to “topple” Boris Johnson, amid a fresh storm about allegations of a party during lockdown.
Stephen Crabb was asked if he was planning on sending in a letter to the Conservative Party’s 1922 Committee demanding that the UK Prime Minister resign, during a discussion on BBC Politics Live.
A leadership contest is triggered if 15% of Tory MPs (currently 54) write to the committee expressing that they have no confidence in the leader.
ITV News has reported that up to 30 people attended a birthday celebration of Boris Johnson on June 19, 2020, in which they sang Happy Birthday and were served cake.
No 10 said staff had “gathered briefly” to “wish the prime minister a happy birthday”, adding that he had been there “for less than 10 minutes”.
The Preseli Pembrokeshire MP, who is also chair of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee, claimed it was a “terrible” time to “think about a leadership election” because of fears of an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Labour MP Kim Leadbeater, who was also on the programme, called for the Tory Prime Minister to resign, saying that the “sense of injustice people feel is not going to go away”.
She also suggested that Johnson has “lost the trust of the public”, saying that the “hypocrisy the arrogance, it’s just all gone too far”.
She also pointed out that the anniversary of the murder of her sister, the former MP Jo Cox, was three days before Johnson’s birthday gathering.
The MP Batley and Spen told BBC broadcaster Jo Coburn that she “would have loved to have gone to see my mum and dad and given them a big hug”, adding that she didn’t because she “wanted to obey by the rules” and that she “wanted to put public health” first.
Jo Coburn said: “Are you any closer to putting in a letter to trigger that leadership contest?”
Stephen Crabb replied: “No, and I’ll tell you why. I think now is a terrible terrible time to think about a leadership election, when you’ve got 127,00 Russian troops on the border with Ukraine.
“A leadership election involves at least one or two months sclerosis and gumming up of government, so I don’t think it would be in the national interest to topple the Prime Minister at such a sensitive moment for our country.”
Right-wing radio presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer referred to Winston Churchill replacing Neville Chamberlain during the Second World War, saying: “Was May 1940 a bad time to replace a Prime Minister?”
Crabb said: “Yes so there are different historic analogies that people refer to at different times, completely. But as I say, you know the bulk of my party colleagues , the sensible people that I mix with, we’re in a similar place on this.
“We want to see the Prime Minister get through this. But these are serious matters and we wait to see the outcome of the process in place.”
‘Not a good time’
Jo Coburn said: “Well you’re nodding there Kim. Do you think this is not a good time to have a leadership contest?”
“No I’m just not sure how true that is, that the majority of colleagues are on the same page. No, I think look, we need somebody who is capable of running the country and dealing with all these issues that the country’s got to deal with at this moment in time, and that is not Boris Johnson as far as I’m concerned.
“He’s lost the faith of the public, he’s lost the trust of the public, the hypocrisy the arrogance, it’s just all gone too far. We’ve all got our stories of what we were doing in June 2020. You know, three days before the Prime Minister’s birthday was the anniversary of my sister’s murder and I would have loved to have gone to see my mum and dad and given them a big hug.
“But d’ya know what, I didn’t do it because it was the wrong thing to do, because I wanted to obey by the rules, I wanted to put public health at the front of what I was doing, and just that sense of injustice people feel is not going to go away, and he needs to go
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