| 1 October 2022, Saturday |

Lead or step aside, senior Tory Tobias Ellwood tells Boris Johnson

Tobias Ellwood, a senior Tory and former minister, told the BBC that Boris Johnson must “lead or move away.”

Following allegations of parties being hosted in Downing Street while Covid restrictions were in place, Mr Ellwood, who leads the defence select committee, stated that “we need leadership.”

Hundreds of furious people have contacted their MPs.

The government has asked individuals to hold off making decisions until senior civil servant Sue Gray’s investigation is completed.

Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire Andrew Bridgen, however, stated, “I don’t need to read what Sue Gray says to know that Boris Johnson has lost the moral authority to lead the country.”

“If there is another emergency in which he must call on the people to make sacrifices, he lacks the power to do so. In my opinion, this renders his position as Prime Minister utterly unsustainable.”

Mr Bridgen is the sixth Conservative MP to openly disclose that they have written to the chairman of the 1922 Committee, which organizes Tory leadership contests, to express their dissatisfaction with the prime minister. To force a vote, 54 Conservative MPs must submit a letter.

Mr Ellwood, MP for Bournemouth East and a former defence minister, said Boris Johnson needed to “show some contrition” and get a handle on the issue, or he would be “out of office.”

“Johnson is toast,” another former minister told the BBC. “If you were the chief whip looking at him, you’d say he’s not suitable to perform any additional roles in government, you wouldn’t appoint him a junior minister, he doesn’t work hard enough.”

In addition, a senior Tory MP stated “There is a lot of skepticism that anyone is ready to assume the reins. This buys Boris some time. But he shouldn’t misinterpret that as a second chance.”

Some Conservative MPs stated their inboxes were overflowing after No. 10 apologized to the Queen for two staff parties the night before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

Johnson did not attend any of those events in April, but he is being investigated for alleged Covid rule-breaking at No. 10.

According to one senior Conservative backbencher, they got almost 200 furious emails about the parties, with only five responses in favour of the prime minister.

“Many colleagues now fear Boris will not be leader at the next general election… for many of us, this seems fatal,” added the MP.

“The inbox is awful, terribly bad,” said a Midlands Tory MP who gained a seat in a former Labour district in the 2019 election.

The meetings for which Downing Street has apologized to Buckingham Palace occurred on April 16, 2021.

Last April, the two parties featured approximately 30 people in total and are said to have merged at some point in the Downing Street garden, where they lasted until after midnight.

Staff were allegedly sent to a neighboring shop with a suitcase, which was returned “full with bottles of wine.”

At the time, England was subject to “step two” limitations, which prohibited individuals from socializing indoors except with those in their home or support circle. Persons might socialize outside in groups of up to six people or in two families.

The behavior of No. 10 personnel has been contrasted with images of the Queen sitting alone during the burial of the Duke of Edinburgh due to Covid restrictions.

Boris Johnson’s spokesperson stated that it was “very sad that this occurred during a time of national sorrow.”

Sue Gray is investigating suspected Covid rule violations at Downing Street and government ministries.

Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and the Scottish National Party have all called for Mr Johnson to quit after he admitted to attending a drinks party in the Downing Street garden on May 20, 2020, during lockdown. The prime minister stated that he “implicitly felt that this was a business incident.”

In an interview with the BBC’s Politics North, pensions minister Guy Opperman called Mr Johnson’s behavior “awful.”

The Conservative MP claimed he was particularly moved by the party hosted in the Downing Street garden on 20 May because, at the time, Covid restrictions had stopped him from visiting his wife and twins in hospital. The two sons died soon after they were born.

According to Opperman, the prime minister should remain in office until the inquiry into government gatherings is concluded. However, he stated that Johnson must “alter his habits” and operate Downing Street “in a very, very different way.”

It comes after the former leader of the government’s Covid taskforce apologized for leaving beverages in the Cabinet Office when she left the public service on December 17, 2020, when tight restrictions were in place in England.

Kate Josephs, the new chief executive of Sheffield City Council, apologized for “the anger that individuals may feel.”

The guest list included more than 40 people, including top Downing Street employees and civil servants, and the event appears to  have been held in a single room, BBC Newsnight has learned.