UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans charm offensive to stave off no-confidence vote


Some senior Conservatives believe the target of 54 letters required to trigger a leadership spill has already been reached, with one Tory source speculating that the total could already be as high as 70.

When the number is reached, Brady will inform Johnson, who is in control of the timeline of a vote.

The support of former British prime minister Theresa May, pictured arriving at a Jubilee reception, is now in doubt. Credit:AP

The London Telegraph understands that invitations for the meeting of wavering rebels in Number 10 have not yet been sent, with officials waiting to see whether the threshold has already been crossed before launching the charm offensive.

But those close to the prime minister are also concerned he could lose the confidence vote if it is held after two upcoming by-elections on June 23.

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The Conservatives believe that Wakefield, a “Red Wall” seat won by the Tories in 2019, is likely to flip back to Labour.

But a senior party source unable to speak on the record said on Friday that campaigning was also “very, very hard going” in Tiverton and Homerton, where a by-election will be held on the same day to replace Neil Parish, who resigned after being caught watching pornography in the House of Commons chamber.

Parish holds a 24,000 majority in the constituency, but the Conservatives are facing a challenge by the Liberal Democrats, who believe they could win it because of a collapse in Tory support.

Several wavering Tory MPs who are privately critical of Johnson say they are waiting to see the by-election results before deciding whether to attack him in public.

On Thursday, David Gauke, the former Conservative MP, said he believed a confidence vote was “imminent” and that should Johnson lose it, Liz Truss is most likely to replace him.

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, pictured second-left at the Jubilee thanksgiving service, could replace Boris Johnson if a no-confidence motion were successful.

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, pictured second-left at the Jubilee thanksgiving service, could replace Boris Johnson if a no-confidence motion were successful. Credit:Reuters Pool

But Johnson’s supporters have said they not only have confidence in his leadership, but that a vote is unlikely to take place next week.

Dominic Raab, the deputy prime minister, said the speculation was “Westminster froth”.

“Votes of no-confidence, leadership contests, is yet more Westminster talking to itself… and I think the vast majority of MPs recognise and agree with that,” he told the BBC this week.

The Telegraph, London

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