Confidence vote marks ‘beginning of the end’ for Boris Johnson, Keir Starmer says

A confidence vote in Boris Johnson’s leadership marks the “beginning of the end” of his premiership, Sir Keir Starmer has claimed.

Ahead of a secret ballot on Monday evening, the Labour leader also urged Tory MPs to vote against the prime minister in order to “get rid” of him.

His remarks come just moments after the chair of the Conservatives’ 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, announced rebels had reached the threshold for a vote of no confidence in Mr Johnson’s leadership.

In order to remain in No 10, the prime minister must now win the backing of at least 50 per cent of his colleagues in the ballot being held between 6-8pm in the corridors of the House of Commons.

Speaking to LBC Radio, Sir Keir said Tory MPs have “got to show some leadership and vote against the prime minister”.

“Looking at the national interest, I think Tory MP’s have got to step up, show leadership and get rid of him.

“The public have made their mind up about this man, they don’t think he’s really telling the truth about many, many things, not just Partygate, but just a general sense that this man doesn’t really tell the truth and can’t be trusted”.

Asked about the possibility of the prime minister surviving the vote, he replied: “History tells us this is the beginning of the end.

“If you look at the previous examples of no confidence votes even when Conservative prime ministers survive those votes — he might survive it tonight — the damage is already done and usually they fall reasonably swiftly afterwards.”

He added: “I don’t really mind who I fight [in a general election], but I do think it’s in the national interest that he should go.”

However, a No 10 spokesperson said: “Tonight is a chance to end months of speculation and allow the government to draw a line and move on, delivering on the people’s priorities.

“The PM welcomes the opportunity to make his case to MPs and will remind them that when they’re united and focused on the issues that matter to voters there is no more formidable political force”.

Theresa May’s former chief-of-staff, Gavin Barwell, who was by the side of the former prime minister when she survived a confidence vote in 2018, but resigned six months later, said Mr Johnson would be “wounded” by the vote.

“The way to draw a line and move on is to change leader. If the PM wins tonight, he will be wounded and will still face the Privileges Committee investigation. Partygate isn’t going to go away”

In an attempt to save his premiership, Mr Johnson will also address Tory MPs at the 1922 Committee ahead of Monday evening’s confidence vote in his leadership.

The Labour leader also reiterated his pledge to resign his position if he is issued with a fixed penalty notice by Durham Police, but insisted there had been “no breach” of the Covid rules.

“I will do the right thing and step down because it’s very important, I think, for everybody to hear and to know that not all politicians are there same,” he added.

“I think the prime minister has made a big mistake by trying to cling on in relation to the law-breaking that we know went on in Downing Street”.


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