The Prime Minister could face a vote of confidence in the next week after dozens of Tories turned on him – but he has reportedly said it’ll take a division of tanks to turf him out of Downing Street
Boris Johnson has told allies he is determined to keep the top job despite mounting pressure from Tory MPs who want him out – and his wife privately hoping he will go, according to reports.
The Prime Minister has been desperately clinging on to power since it was revealed that he flouted lockdown rules over the course of the pandemic to attend a number of boozy Downing Street parties, but is now preparing to face a vote of no confidence.
A vote is triggered when 54 MPs from his own party submit written requests to the chairman of the 1922 Committee.
At least 35 have already submitted letters, some insiders believe, and some believe a vote could be called as early as next week.
But the Prime Minister is determined to stay in No 10 – vowing this week he would be re-elected in 2024 and saying “I’ve got a lot more to do”.
“He’s making very clear that they’ll have to send a Panzer division [of military tanks] to get him out of there,” a senior adviser told The Sunday Times.
As the pressure intensifies, three sources claim Carrie Johnson has privately voiced the view that her husband should consider quitting for the sake of his family, The Sunday Times reports.
One told the newspaper: “She was saying she had had enough a couple of weeks ago. She was telling friends the pressure on her was too much and she’d be happier if he left.”
It is not claimed that she is telling her husband to resign. But a friend of the Prime Minister’s wife told the newspaper: “She just wants to focus on her children.”
However, he appears to have no intentions of stepping down and recently announced plans to overhaul of his top team after the departure of five of his most senior aides within 24 hours last week.
One of the key changes is the appointment of Steve Barclay, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, as the new Downing Street chief of staff. He will remain a minister and create a new Office of the Prime Minister, covering No 10 and the Cabinet Office.
TV journalist Guto Harri has also been appointed as the Prime Minister’s top spin doctor. He previously worked under Mr Johnson as chief of staff when he was London Mayor.
It comes as some ministers have reportedly turned against chancellor Rishi Sunak and accused him of plotting against the Prime Minister.
Mr Johnson’s allies are also concerned about the impending release of his wife’s biography. The book, funded by the Tory peer Lord Ashcroft, is expected to make explosive claims about the Prime Minister’s influence over Downing Street and its staff.
Culture secretary Nadine Dorries has accused Mr Johnson’s political opponents of smearing his wife’s reputation, in a bid to oust him from No 10.
“This book is based on a tissue of lies provided by vengeful and mendacious men who were once employees in No 10 and is an insight into their warped minds,” she said.
“If it ever sees the light of day, it should be filed under fiction. Carrie had a baby only weeks ago and the obsessive way in which she is hounded is bordering on sinister.
“To constantly target her in this way to hurt the PM, and to be used as a conduit to destabilise him, is deeply disturbing.”