Boris Johnson greeted by traditional banging of desks as he addressed Tory MPs in private Westminster meeting
The Prime Minister hopes the result of a no confidence vote will draw a line under the issues around his leadership and allow the party to move on
Mr Johnson was expected to tell MPs it was a “chance to stop talking about ourselves and start talking exclusively about what we are doing for the people of this country”.
That meant instead of some “hellish Groundhog Day debate” about the merits of belonging to the European Union’s single market, the party could unite and focus on delivering for voters.
“The people in this room won the biggest electoral victory for the Conservatives for 40 years under my leadership,” he was expected to say.
He was also expected to warn Tory MPs about the dangers of an “utter disaster” if Labour took office, in alliance with the SNP, if the Conservatives “descend into some pointless fratricidal debate about the future of our party”.
Mr Johnson is 2/5 to win the looming vote of no confidence into his leadership.
But bookmaker Betfair still expect the Prime Minister to leave Downing Street by the end of the year.
Jeremy Hunt is the 9/2 favourite to replace Mr Johnson as Tory leader, while Liz Truss is 7/1 to succeed him.
Mr Hunt today said he would vote against the PM, warning that the Tories will lose the next election if Mr Johnson remains in post.
The former Foreign Secretary said: “Having been trusted with power, Conservative MPs know in our hearts we are not giving the British people the leadership they deserve.
“We are not offering the integrity, competence and vision necessary to unleash the enormous potential of our country.
“And because we are no longer trusted by the electorate, who know this too, we are set to lose the next general election.
“Anyone who believes our country is stronger, fairer and more prosperous when led by Conservatives should reflect that the consequence of not changing will be to hand the country to others who do not share those values.
“Today’s decision is change or lose. I will be voting for change.”
Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, confirmed in a statement that he has now received the 54 letters from Conservative MPs needed to trigger a vote.
The vote – by secret ballot – will take place at Westminster on Monday between 6pm and 8pm, with the count to take place immediately afterwards.
To oust the Prime Minister, the rebels will need 180 MPs – and allies of Mr Johnson made clear he is determined to fight to stay on.
Events in Westminster have made an impact on financial markets, too with the pound rising today after jumping following this morning's announcement of a no confidence vote.
Adam Seagrave, UK Sales Trader at Saxo Markets, said: "The pound has continued to rise today after jumping this morning following the news that the Prime Minister would face a vote of no confidence.
"Despite this, overall market reaction is still relatively muted partly because bookmakers see the most likely outcome is that Boris Johnson will win today’s vote.
"There is a greater focus on UK monetary policy and the Bank of England’s approach to controlling spiraling inflation.
"Should Johnson lose the vote and calls of an early general election pick up, this could begin to move markets further and see a bigger shift in the pound."