Speculation is rife among Tory backbenchers amid reports that the beleaguered Prime Minister is set to face worse revelations when the full report by civil servant Sue Gray is published. It is understood that the letters needed to be submitted to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee which represents Tory MPs, for a vote of confidence in Mr Johnson’s leadership are just eight short.
One MP told Express.co.uk: “The speculation now is that if matters get worse he will get the whips to submit the last few letters before the Sue Gray report is published.
“That would mean we have a vote of confidence without the full facts which he would easily win.
“Colleagues are now talking about the very real possibility of an October election.”
Another Tory MP added: “If he gets a vote of confidence from MPs, he could argue he needs one from the country even if it means we lose a lot of seats.”
The MP went on: “It’s like Vladimir Putin threatening the nuclear option. He will either win or take us all out.”
A former minister agreed that an early election is a possibility but said Mr Johnson deserves the support of his MPs.
“Those colleagues of mine criticising him are just playing Labour’s game.
“Labour knows that Boris is our future because he is the one man who can unite our old support base with the new one we have picked up from working class supporters especially in former Labour red wall seats.
“If he fights an election against Keir Starmer he should win. Starmer cannot even say what a woman is.”
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“At the moment we don’t know what to do,” the MP said. “It depends what comes out in the Sue Gray report and whether there are more fines.
“We need more facts.”
But a source close to the Prime Minister said that Downing Street are “confident” the Prime Minister “will survive.
The source added: “We are even more confident that he can beat Starmer and Labour in an election because Labour have no policies.
“The electorate will find them out.”
The comments have fuelled speculation that advisers close to the Prime Minister believe he could go in the Autumn and not wait until May 2024.
“It’s not impossible,” one source told Express.co.uk.