Boris Johnson faces fight for political life: Tory MPs want NEW PM by Autumn

BORIS Johnson will have to fight for his political life if the Tories suffer disastrous local elections this week.

By JONATHAN WALKER – SUNDAY EXPRESS DEPUTY POLITICAL EDITORDAVID WILLIAMSON – SUNDAY EXPRESS DEPUTY POLITICAL EDITOR 05:01, Sun, May 1, 2022 | UPDATED: 12:22, Sun, May 1, 2022

Fear: Boris Johnson

Conservative foes of the Prime Minister want to see a leadership election with a new Prime Minister in place in time for the autumn party conference. Tories fear they will lose control of a raft of councils in London and that councillors across the country will be ousted from their seats. A poor result would likely lead to letters being sent to the 1922 Committee in an attempt to unseat him as leader, it was warned.

RELATED ARTICLES

Mr Johnson’s opponents in the party want him to face a confidence vote before recess starts on July 21 so a leadership election can be held and a new PM installed in time for the autumn party conference.

A bullish Mr Johnson defended the Tories’ record in local government and fired a new salvo in the so-called culture wars, saying: “The choice on May 5 is clear. Labour and Lib Dems who fritter away your council tax on deciding which statues to tear down or Conservatives, delivering value for money and delivering on your local priorities.”

Conservative hopes of avoiding disastrous results may well hinge on whether Mr Johnson can persuade Tory-leaning voters not to make a protest vote or sit the election out.

A Conservative MP warned: “It’s voter apathy that’s going to be the killer this time, it really is.”

Mr Johnson put the focus on street-level issues, saying: “The elections next Thursday matter. People are voting for councillors and councils who decide how often bins are collected, how many potholes are repaired and how much council tax is paid.”

He claimed “Conservative councils on average fix four times as many pestilent potholes as Labour councils” and said they “recycle more of your rubbish than Labour too”.

Conservative party chairman Oliver Dowden boasted that Tory councils charge the “lowest council tax in the country” and blasted rival parties, saying: “Woke lefties running Labour and Lib Dem councils obsess about changing street names while leaving councils like Labour-run Croydon bankrupt.”

Decisive: Sir Keir Starmer
Decisive: Sir Keir Starmer (Image: GETTY)

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “When Sunday Express readers go to the polls this week I hope they will elect hard working local Conservatives who have a proven record of managing money well, delivering high quality local services, and who support good local jobs.”

The raft of local elections taking place on Thursday are held against the backdrop of the cost of living crisis, with both the Conservatives and Labour rocked by allegations of breaking Covid restrictions.

Labour last week admitted that Angela Rayner, the party’s deputy leader, was at an event where Sir Keir Starmer was filmed drinking a beer.

Conservative MP Richard Holden has asked Durham Police to reconsider its assessment that no offence was committed during the April 30 event last year.

Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson yesterday said Mr Holden should “know better than to waste police time on this nonsense”. Mr Holden accused Labour of hypocrisy for suggesting investigating concerns about Covid breaches is a waste of police time “when it’s all we’ve heard from them for months”.

Former Conservative chief whip Mark Harper, who called for Mr Johnson to step down after he received a fixed penalty notice for attending a birthday celebration in No 10, expects the council elections may be a “mixed bag” and “inconclusive” but said: “Before the summer recess, all my Conservative colleagues should have enough information to make a decision on who they want to lead us into the next general election.

“Do we stick with an uncertain course led by someone who is making good and decent Conservatives across the country defend the indefensible? Or do we get a new team in place to lead a revitalised Government, focused on Conservative priorities who will treat the electorate with respect?

TRENDING

“We have a large majority, it’s time we started to use it properly to deal with the country’s challenges using Conservative principles.”

Another leading Conservative critic of Mr. Johnson said the “general view” now was that Mr. Johnson should face a confidence vote if councils are lost. They said a leadership contest over the summer with a new PM in place in time for the autumn conference was the “logical timetable”.

A Conservative MP warned that the Tories could face “annihilation” in London, the Home Counties and “Lib Dem-facing seats”.

However, they were wary of staging an election for a new leader, saying: “I think a leadership contest is by its nature at least a three-month contest. It’s going to be a massive distraction from some fairly big issues at the moment.

“I’m not sure the public will thank us at the end of it, when probably at least half of voters will be no happier with a new Prime Minister than they are with the old one.”

A further concern is that a raft of cabinet ministers would throw their hats into the ring and look “more focused on a leadership contest than on Ukraine, rebuilding the NHS or whatever else they are supposed to be doing”.

Another Conservative MP who represents a seat in the so-called “red wall” of former Labour constituencies acknowledged how the party mood could turn against the PM after a bad night.

MOST COMMENTED – JOIN THE DEBATE

They said: “[When] MPs start having their own membership, activists, councillors, or maybe recently former councillors after next Thursday, on at them, I’m not sure how quickly the mood might turn. [I] think the emotional impact for people who have been working really hard to make gains or hold seats in some of these tougher areas and get trounced, that’s going to be very hard to swallow for some people.”

Conservative insiders are braced for attempts by Mr Johnson’s internal critics to oust him in the wake of bad results but are in no doubt that he will fight to stay.

A source said: “The PM is not going anywhere. He will fight on.”

However, a party insider did nothing to play down the scale of the challenge facing the Conservatives.

They said: “We are expecting it to be a tough night for us. We are 12 years into government…

“London is looking very tough for us. Places like Barnet and Wandsworth and Westminster are looking very, very difficult for us to hold.”

High profile victories in London will boost the spirits of Labour supporters but the party will look for signs that under Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership it is winning back voters it lost in 2019. Failure to score major successes outside London could trigger renewed criticism about his strategy.

The Tory insider said: “We do expect [Labour] to do well in London and probably take some councils off us but the test will be how’s he doing in areas of the Midlands and the North that they lost in 2019.”

They said: “[When] MPs start having their own membership, activists, councillors, or maybe recently former councillors after next Thursday, on at them, I’m not sure how quickly the mood might turn. [I] think the emotional impact for people who have been working really hard to make gains or hold seats in some of these tougher areas and get trounced, that’s going to be very hard to swallow for some people.”

Conservative insiders are braced for attempts by Mr Johnson’s internal critics to oust him in the wake of bad results but are in no doubt that he will fight to stay.

A source said: “The PM is not going anywhere. He will fight on.”

However, a party insider did nothing to play down the scale of the challenge facing the Conservatives.

They said: “We are expecting it to be a tough night for us. We are 12 years into government…

“London is looking very tough for us. Places like Barnet and Wandsworth and Westminster are looking very, very difficult for us to hold.”

High profile victories in London will boost the spirits of Labour supporters but the party will look for signs that under Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership it is winning back voters it lost in 2019. Failure to score major successes outside London could trigger renewed criticism about his strategy.

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The Tory insider said: “We do expect [Labour] to do well in London and probably take some councils off us but the test will be how’s he doing in areas of the Midlands and the North that they lost in 2019.”

RELATED ARTICLES
Comment by Guy Opperman, Minister for Pensions

One month ago the Sunday Express helped us launch our campaign to boost the number of people getting Pension Credit. Thanks to its support we’ve seen an increase in the numbers visiting our online Pension Credit calculator.

But we’re not stopping tere. Pension Credit can be worth over £3,300 a year for those over State Pension age and on a low income. It also opens up access to other support.

Over the coming months we’ll be going all out to raise awareness of Pension Credit and showing how easy it is to claim. And we want Sunday Express readers to keep helping us too.

We are calling on everyone with retired family and friends to encourage them to check if they qualify and help them make a claim if they do.

With rising costs, it’s never been more important to make sure that people are receiving all the support they can get.

Boris JohnsonLabour PartyConservative Party Sir Keir Starmer

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

BORIS Johnson will have to fight for his political life if the Tories suffer disastrous local elections this week.

By JONATHAN WALKER – SUNDAY EXPRESS DEPUTY POLITICAL EDITORDAVID WILLIAMSON – SUNDAY EXPRESS DEPUTY POLITICAL EDITOR 05:01, Sun, May 1, 2022 | UPDATED: 12:22, Sun, May 1, 2022

Fear: Boris Johnson

Conservative foes of the Prime Minister want to see a leadership election with a new Prime Minister in place in time for the autumn party conference. Tories fear they will lose control of a raft of councils in London and that councillors across the country will be ousted from their seats. A poor result would likely lead to letters being sent to the 1922 Committee in an attempt to unseat him as leader, it was warned.

RELATED ARTICLES

Mr Johnson’s opponents in the party want him to face a confidence vote before recess starts on July 21 so a leadership election can be held and a new PM installed in time for the autumn party conference.

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A bullish Mr Johnson defended the Tories’ record in local government and fired a new salvo in the so-called culture wars, saying: “The choice on May 5 is clear. Labour and Lib Dems who fritter away your council tax on deciding which statues to tear down or Conservatives, delivering value for money and delivering on your local priorities.”

Conservative hopes of avoiding disastrous results may well hinge on whether Mr Johnson can persuade Tory-leaning voters not to make a protest vote or sit the election out.

A Conservative MP warned: “It’s voter apathy that’s going to be the killer this time, it really is.”

Mr Johnson put the focus on street-level issues, saying: “The elections next Thursday matter. People are voting for councillors and councils who decide how often bins are collected, how many potholes are repaired and how much council tax is paid.”

He claimed “Conservative councils on average fix four times as many pestilent potholes as Labour councils” and said they “recycle more of your rubbish than Labour too”.

Conservative party chairman Oliver Dowden boasted that Tory councils charge the “lowest council tax in the country” and blasted rival parties, saying: “Woke lefties running Labour and Lib Dem councils obsess about changing street names while leaving councils like Labour-run Croydon bankrupt.”

Decisive: Sir Keir Starmer
Decisive: Sir Keir Starmer (Image: GETTY)

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “When Sunday Express readers go to the polls this week I hope they will elect hard working local Conservatives who have a proven record of managing money well, delivering high quality local services, and who support good local jobs.”

The raft of local elections taking place on Thursday are held against the backdrop of the cost of living crisis, with both the Conservatives and Labour rocked by allegations of breaking Covid restrictions.

Labour last week admitted that Angela Rayner, the party’s deputy leader, was at an event where Sir Keir Starmer was filmed drinking a beer.

Conservative MP Richard Holden has asked Durham Police to reconsider its assessment that no offence was committed during the April 30 event last year.

Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson yesterday said Mr Holden should “know better than to waste police time on this nonsense”. Mr Holden accused Labour of hypocrisy for suggesting investigating concerns about Covid breaches is a waste of police time “when it’s all we’ve heard from them for months”.

Former Conservative chief whip Mark Harper, who called for Mr Johnson to step down after he received a fixed penalty notice for attending a birthday celebration in No 10, expects the council elections may be a “mixed bag” and “inconclusive” but said: “Before the summer recess, all my Conservative colleagues should have enough information to make a decision on who they want to lead us into the next general election.

“Do we stick with an uncertain course led by someone who is making good and decent Conservatives across the country defend the indefensible? Or do we get a new team in place to lead a revitalised Government, focused on Conservative priorities who will treat the electorate with respect?

TRENDING

“We have a large majority, it’s time we started to use it properly to deal with the country’s challenges using Conservative principles.”

Another leading Conservative critic of Mr. Johnson said the “general view” now was that Mr. Johnson should face a confidence vote if councils are lost. They said a leadership contest over the summer with a new PM in place in time for the autumn conference was the “logical timetable”.

A Conservative MP warned that the Tories could face “annihilation” in London, the Home Counties and “Lib Dem-facing seats”.

However, they were wary of staging an election for a new leader, saying: “I think a leadership contest is by its nature at least a three-month contest. It’s going to be a massive distraction from some fairly big issues at the moment.

“I’m not sure the public will thank us at the end of it, when probably at least half of voters will be no happier with a new Prime Minister than they are with the old one.”

A further concern is that a raft of cabinet ministers would throw their hats into the ring and look “more focused on a leadership contest than on Ukraine, rebuilding the NHS or whatever else they are supposed to be doing”.

Another Conservative MP who represents a seat in the so-called “red wall” of former Labour constituencies acknowledged how the party mood could turn against the PM after a bad night.

MOST COMMENTED – JOIN THE DEBATE

They said: “[When] MPs start having their own membership, activists, councillors, or maybe recently former councillors after next Thursday, on at them, I’m not sure how quickly the mood might turn. [I] think the emotional impact for people who have been working really hard to make gains or hold seats in some of these tougher areas and get trounced, that’s going to be very hard to swallow for some people.”

Conservative insiders are braced for attempts by Mr Johnson’s internal critics to oust him in the wake of bad results but are in no doubt that he will fight to stay.

A source said: “The PM is not going anywhere. He will fight on.”

However, a party insider did nothing to play down the scale of the challenge facing the Conservatives.

They said: “We are expecting it to be a tough night for us. We are 12 years into government…

“London is looking very tough for us. Places like Barnet and Wandsworth and Westminster are looking very, very difficult for us to hold.”

High profile victories in London will boost the spirits of Labour supporters but the party will look for signs that under Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership it is winning back voters it lost in 2019. Failure to score major successes outside London could trigger renewed criticism about his strategy.

The Tory insider said: “We do expect [Labour] to do well in London and probably take some councils off us but the test will be how’s he doing in areas of the Midlands and the North that they lost in 2019.”

They said: “[When] MPs start having their own membership, activists, councillors, or maybe recently former councillors after next Thursday, on at them, I’m not sure how quickly the mood might turn. [I] think the emotional impact for people who have been working really hard to make gains or hold seats in some of these tougher areas and get trounced, that’s going to be very hard to swallow for some people.”

Conservative insiders are braced for attempts by Mr Johnson’s internal critics to oust him in the wake of bad results but are in no doubt that he will fight to stay.

A source said: “The PM is not going anywhere. He will fight on.”

However, a party insider did nothing to play down the scale of the challenge facing the Conservatives.

They said: “We are expecting it to be a tough night for us. We are 12 years into government…

“London is looking very tough for us. Places like Barnet and Wandsworth and Westminster are looking very, very difficult for us to hold.”

High profile victories in London will boost the spirits of Labour supporters but the party will look for signs that under Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership it is winning back voters it lost in 2019. Failure to score major successes outside London could trigger renewed criticism about his strategy.

DON’T MISS

‘Germany’s white elephants’ Scholz torn apart as ‘complex’ tanks may be USELESS to Ukraine.

Horror as Putin’s men rape girl, 14, and leave her pregnant in ‘systematic’ Bucha attack‘Forgive us!’

Putin shamed as Russian soldiers write prayers in Ukraine

Russia dealt major blow as Ukraine forces obliterate Putin’s crafts off Snake Island – VID

Mariupol troops ‘soaking up a huge amount of Russian combat’ as Ukraine defence continues

Putin’s evil knows no bounds: Russian troops kidnap paramedics on way to Mariupol bombing

Putin could declare World War 3 in days in final push to defeat Ukraine, Ben Wallace warns

Putin on brink as Russian army ‘may not survive in Donbas’ amid struggling invasion

POLL: Is Germany doing enough to support Ukraine after sending potentially useless tanks?

Putin ‘to face coup’ after men blow chance in key battle ‘The Russians have fizzled’

Volodymyr Zelensky refused to leave Kyiv as Russian assassination squads entered capital

Bandaged British ‘mercenary’ captured in Ukraine paraded on Russian state TV

Germany’s white elephants’ Scholz torn apart as ‘complex’ tanks may be USELESS to Ukraine

Horror as Putin’s men rape girl, 14, and leave her pregnant in ‘systematic’ Bucha attack

Forgive us!’ Putin shamed as Russian soldiers write prayers in Ukraine

Russia dealt major blow as Ukraine forces obliterate Putin’s crafts off Snake Island – VID

Mariupol troops ‘soaking up a huge amount of Russian combat’ as Ukraine defence continue

Putin’s evil knows no bounds: Russian troops kidnap paramedics on way to Mariupol bombing

Putin could declare World War 3 in days in final push to defeat Ukraine, Ben Wallace warns

Putin on brink as Russian army ‘may not survive in Donbas’ amid struggling invasion

POLL: Is Germany doing enough to support Ukraine after sending potentially useless tanks?

Putin ‘to face coup’ after men blow chance in key battle ‘The Russians have fizzled

Volodymyr Zelensky refused to leave Kyiv as Russian assassination squads entered capital

Bandaged British ‘mercenary’ captured in Ukraine paraded on Russian state TV

The Tory insider said: “We do expect [Labour] to do well in London and probably take some councils off us but the test will be how’s he doing in areas of the Midlands and the North that they lost in 2019.”

RELATED ARTICLES
Comment by Guy Opperman, Minister for Pensions

One month ago the Sunday Express helped us launch our campaign to boost the number of people getting Pension Credit. Thanks to its support we’ve seen an increase in the numbers visiting our online Pension Credit calculator.

But we’re not stopping tere. Pension Credit can be worth over £3,300 a year for those over State Pension age and on a low income. It also opens up access to other support.

Over the coming months we’ll be going all out to raise awareness of Pension Credit and showing how easy it is to claim. And we want Sunday Express readers to keep helping us too.

We are calling on everyone with retired family and friends to encourage them to check if they qualify and help them make a claim if they do.

With rising costs, it’s never been more important to make sure that people are receiving all the support they can get.

Boris JohnsonLabour PartyConservative Party Sir Keir Starmer