Boris Johnson critics warn against rewriting rules to get rid of him

Boris Johnson critics warn against rewriting rules to get rid of him… as Labour claims it’s in talks with three Tories to defect

  • The PM survived a no-confidence vote earlier this month by 211 to 148
  • But two of his strongest critics are resisting calls to change the rules to try again 
  • Now Labour believes several unhappy Tory MPs are about to defect to the party 

Two of Boris Johnson’s most outspoken critics warned rebel MPs against ‘tinkering’ with Tory leadership rules to oust him.

Mr Johnson survived a vote of no confidence by the margin of 211 to 148 earlier this month.

Under existing rules he now has a 12-month ‘grace period’ before he can be challenged again. 

Some rebel MPs want to change the rules so that he could face another challenge as soon as next month.

But former Brexit Secretary David Davis, who has called for the PM to quit, warned against a change. 

William Wragg, a long-outspoken critic of Boris Johnson, called last week’s by-elections a disaster – but still isn’t in favour of tweaking the rules

Former Brexit Secretary David Davis has also warned against any changes, saying they could destabilise government

He said disaffected MPs had to accept ‘the rules are the rules’ and warned allowing endless challenges would risk destabilising the Government.

‘Do you want a leader, whoever it is, looking over his shoulder every month at this tax increase or whatever?’ he asked. 

William Wragg, a member of the 1922 Committee which oversees the rules, also warned against changing them.

Mr Wragg, one of the PM’s most outspoken critics, said last week’s by-elections in Wakefield and in Tiverton and Honiton were a ‘complete and utter disaster’. 

He added: ‘I don’t think it is desirable that the 1922 Committee should tinker with the rules although it did previously in recent history at the end of Mrs May’s Government.’

Labour claimed yesterday that three Tory MPs are in talks with the party about defecting in the wake of the by-election defeats.

They are said to be Red Wall MPs who fear the slender majorities they secured in Mr Johnson’s landslide win could now be at risk.

Yesterday they denied the defecting rumours. Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison tweeted: ‘For the avoidance of doubt – again – I’m not b****y defecting.’ 

Ex-immigration minister Caroline Nokes and High Peak MP Robert Largan also denied the claims. 

Another three Red Wall Tory MPs mocked Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, under investigation for the ‘Beergate’ gathering in Durham last year. 

Brendan Clarke-Smith, MP for Bassetlaw, tweeted a photo of himself with Tom Hunt and Lee Anderson holding pictures of a beer bottle, a curry dish and Sir Keir covering his ears.

He wrote: ‘When somebody asked us to join the party we thought it was one with curry and beer. Apologies Labour for the misunderstanding and we won’t be defecting.’

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