Boris Johnson is still in hot water over the partygate scandal, with united cross-party MPs allowing a Labour motion for the Prime Minister to be investigated for allegedly deliberately misleading Parliament. Chief whips are gearing up for a vote of no confidence for the Tory leader following months of outrage from the public and opposition parties but sources suggest Mr Johnson could call a general election in order to stop them.
It seems a section of the Tory party has been paying attention to the dismay felt by the public, with 46 letters of no confidence having now been sent to Sir Graham Brady, chair of the Tory 1922 Committee.
This is only eight short of the 54 needed to trigger the vote needed for a leadership contest.
Government sources believe if Mr Johnson can hang on to his job until the autumn, he could bring forward a general election to 2023 rather than 2024.
The tactic would hopefully crush the rebellion as it would not leave sufficient time for a new leader to bed in before polling day.
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However, in spite of the rumours, the front benches seem to be continuing with business as normal, with Party Chairman Oliver Dowden insisting Mr Johnson will be the leader to take the Tories through the next general election.
He said: “I have every confidence Boris will lead us into the next general elections.”
The former culture secretary insisted the removal of Mr Johnson would only lead to further instability and would not be in the “national interest”.
He added: “I understand how people feel really hurt and angry about this, and I think the Prime Minister acknowledged that properly in what he said – he gave a full and unreserved apology.
YouGov, often seen as the benchmark poll, puts Labour ahead on 39 points to the Tory’s 33 in their most recent poll from April 19 to 20, putting Labour outside of the margin of error at six points ahead.
Elsewhere, Labour has been put further ahead by Redfield & Wilton and Deltapoll, who both have Labour in the region of 42 to 43 points – with the Tories trailing behind with 34 and 32 points respectively.
However, Opinium has the Tories on 34 percent, only just behind Labour on 36 percent as of April 22.