BORIS Johnson is braced for a fresh blow to his authority with five more Tory MPs set to submit no-confidence letters.
The quintet, said to include some junior ministers, will join a growing list of Conservatives calling for a vote on the PM’s leadership.
They come from different wings of the party and are not coordinating their efforts to oust Boris, according to The Times.
It comes after three backbenchers publicly announced yesterday that they’ve put in letters to 1922 chair Sir Graham Brady.
The day of high drama has been dubbed the “Cream Tea Coup” because two of the rebels represent seats in Devon.
Tory MPs Tobias Ellwood, Anthony Mangnall, and Sir Gary Streeter all announced they want a vote to oust the PM from his job over Partygate.
Boris endured another tricky day including a grilling over allegations of more lockdown-busting bashes during a fiery PMQs.
And he is set to face further questions on Partygate today when he faces the camera during a trip to Lancashire.
Last night Sir Gary became the latest MP to declare he’s submitted a letter calling on the PM to quit.
He said: “I cannot reconcile the pain and sacrifice of the vast majority of the British public during lockdown with the attitude and activities of those working in Downing St.”
He followed in the footsteps of Mr Mangnall who had earlier announced he had also lost confidence PM and wants him gone.
The staunch Brexiteer, who represents South Devon, dropped the bombshell just hours after Boris’ defiant PMQ’s appearance.
He said: “Standards in public life matter. At this time I can no longer support the PM.
“His actions and mistruths are overshadowing the extraordinary work of so many excellent ministers and colleagues.”
Yesterday morning Tobias Ellwood, chair of the Commons defence committee, said Boris must go and “it’s time to resolve this so the party can get back to governing”.
The top backbencher added: “I believe it’s time for the prime minister to take a grip of this.
“He himself should call a vote of confidence rather than waiting for the inevitable 54 letters to be actually submitted.
“This is just horrible for all MPs to continuously have to defend this to the British public.
“And the question now is for all of us, is the prime minister, the best person to lead the party moving forward?”
If Sir Graham receives 54 letters then he will call a confidence vote on the PM’s leadership.
The process is kept strictly secret, meaning only he knows the true number that have been submitted.
Earlier attempts to coordinate a rebellion against the PM, dubbed the “Pork Pie Plot”, failed to reach the magic number.
But increasingly MPs anticipate the 54 mark will be hit “organically” as more and more submit letters off their own bat.
Downing St is braced for a no confidence vote within the next few months.
In a bullish PMQs speech yesterday Boris brushed aside calls for him to quit and vowed to put rocket boosters under Britain’s recovery from the pandemic.
The PM said he’s determined to “get on with the job” and deliver a “jobs-led” bounce back despite the intense pressure over Partygate.
When needled about his backbenchers deserting him, he said: “What it tells me is that it’s more vital than ever for the Government of this country to get on with the job, deliver our Covid recovery plan, and that is what we are doing.”
And he batted back a barrage of questions from Sir Keir Starmer on the high tax burden faced by Brits during a spicy Commons to-and-fro.
Boris was also hit with a fresh volley of Partygate jibes from the Labour leader after the latest claims he was at a prosecco-fuelled knees-up last Christmas.
Despite his troubles the PM entered the Commons cauldron just before noon to raucous cheers from many on the Tory backbenchers.
This is just horrible for all MPs to continuously have to defend this to the British public
Tory MP Tobias Ellwood
Sir Keir attacked Boris over the Government’s high tax policies and needled him over the police investigation to No 10 parties.
He said: “The PM has got more chance of persuading the public that he didn’t hold and parties than he has of persuading them that the economy is booming.”
In response to one of Boris’ answers, he added: “Lots of words, lots of bluster, no answers. That’s not going to work with the police.”
He added: “The PM might want to sharpen how he answers questions under interview. He’s going to need it in the next few weeks.”
The Labour leader attacked Boris on the spiralling cost of living crisis and accused him of “gaslighting the public” by claiming to be a low-tax leader.
He added: “The Conservative party are the party of high taxes because they’re the party of low growth, the party of eye-watering waste.”
During the spicy shootout Sir Keir accused Boris and chancellor Rishi Sunak of being a political Thelma and Louise driving Britain off the cliff.
But to cheers the PM hit back comparing the Labour leader and his left-wing deputy Angela Rayner to Whacky Races characters Dick Dastardly and Mutley.
He said that “both of them pulling in different directions” on economic policy while the Government is “getting on with the job”.
There are now 12 Conservative MPs who have publicly called on the PM to step down over the No 10 parties scandal.
Veteran backbencher Peter Aldous has said it would be in “the best interests of the country” for him to quit.
Others in the same camp include Scottish Tories leader Douglas Ross, ex Brexit secretary David Davis, and former former Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell.
Despite the flurry of letters No 10 is increasingly confident it will be able to ride out the immediate aftermath of Sue Gray’s watered down report.
Boris’ grovelling apology to the Commons on Monday plus his promises to listen more to rank and file MPs in future have stemmed the rebellion.
But the claims that the PM personally attended three more parties that are being investigated by police will reignite concerns.
Boris was apparently seen heading up to his flat on the night of a gathering seemingly held to celebrate the departure of Dominic Cummings.
It has been reported guests, plus his wife Carrie, drank alcohol and blared out music including ABBA’s hit single Winner Takes It All.
On top of that the PM is also said to have spoken at two more leaving No 10 dos which are the subject of Scotland Yard inquiries.
He is thought to have given speeches at both to thank departing officials for their work, with guests drinking prosecco at one of the events.
The reports will fuel claims Boris was well aware of the so-called “party culture” in Downing Street and parts of Whitehall during lockdown.
Before they were published one of the Tories’ most senior MPs, Sir Charles Walker, insisted it was time for the PM to go.
The vice-chairman of the 1922 committee said resigning would “show great courage” and that “I would applaud him for doing that”.
But levelling up secretary Michael Gove, a key ally of the PM, insisted that he’s going nowhere.
He said: “There’s not going to be a leadership contest. We don’t want one, we don’t need one.”
And the PM has today finally unveiled the Government’s long-awaited Levelling Up paper for how it intends to fix inequality in Britain.
The 12-point plan includes pledges to boost science investment in the North and Midlands, roll out 5G to the whole country, and eliminate illiteracy.