BoJo Faces Tory Mutiny Over "Partygate" As Rebellious MPs Demand Leadership Vote

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Jan 19, 2022 - 03:24 PM

Facing a mutiny organized by a small group of Tory backbenchers, Prime Minister Boris Johnson returned to the House of Commons on Wednesday for another round of PMQs, where he faced numerous calls to resign from members of the opposition and even a member of his own party for allegedly lying to the public about "Partygate".

The latest showdown comes as several Tory backbenchers push for a leadership contest that, if successful, would force BoJo from office. Still, the likelihood of a successful coup from within his own party remains low, since BoJo has several concrete accomplishments that he repeatedly cited in his defense - such as the fact that the UK has been praised for its vaccine rollout that has placed it ahead of the curve, especially when compared to its former bedfellows in the EU.

One focus of Wednesday's PMQs was "Operation Save Big Dog", a name that was reportedly dreamed up by the PM himself. The thrust of the "operation" is this: BoJo has drawn up a list of officials who may be asked to fall on their sword and resign over 'Partygate' so they could draw attention (and public ire) away from the PM. Details of the plan also stipulate which ministers could be asked to step up and defend the PM in interviews, where they will be tasked with emphasizing BoJo's contrition, while emphasizing his accomplishments during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, another 11 Conservative MPs have submitted letters of no confidence in Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Telegraph Associate Editor for Politics Christopher Hope reports in a tweet. Additionally, one Tory backbencher has decided to switch parties, and has officially defected to Labour over 'Partygate'. Christian Wakeford, the MP who made the switch, is now facing calls by some in the Labour camp to refuse his request to join the opposition party.

Labour Leader Keir Starmer mocked BoJo and "OSBD" during Wednesday's PMQs, and, after excoriating BoJo for first denying that there were any parties, then acknowledging that the parties had taken place, but that no rules had been broken - before finally admitting that he did break rules.

The latest crop of Tory rebels claims to have been inspired by the revelation from the Telegraph earlier this week that another illicit 'party' was held at 10 Downing Street on the eve of Prince Philip's funeral.

If 54 letters of no confidence are received, it could trigger a confidence vote in the PM. And if he were to lose that vote, it would trigger a leadership contest.

According to the Independent, possible leadership rivals including chancellor Rishi Sunak, foreign secretary Liz Truss and even former health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

More letters of no confidence are expected once Sue Gray, Downing Street's top ethics official, finishes her official investigation into 'Partygate' and releases her findings. The largely factual breakdown of gatherings is expected to be released "shortly".

Readers can watch video of Wednesday's PMQs below: