Former Tory cabinet minister calls for Boris Johnson to resign - before deleting statement

Jeremy Wright wrote the Partygate had had a real and lasting damage to the reputation of the Government

Published

Conservative former minister Jeremy Wright appears to have called for the Prime Minister to resign.

The Kenilworth and Southam MP released a statement on his website calling for Boris Johnson to stand down, but the post was subsequently removed.

The statement had appeared on his official website, but the web link later directed to “page not found”.

In the statement, Mr Wright said he “cannot be sure that the Prime Minister knowingly misled the House of Commons”, but added Partygate had had a “real and lasting damage to the reputation not just of this Government but to the institutions and authority of Government more generally”.

Jeremy Wright
Jeremy Wright

He said: “That matters because it is sadly likely that a Government will again need to ask the citizens of this country to follow rules it will be difficult to comply with and to make sacrifices which will be hard to bear, in order to serve or preserve the greater good. The collective consequences of those citizens declining to do so may again be severe.”

He concluded: “It now seems to me that the Prime Minister remaining in office will hinder those crucial objectives. I have therefore, with regret, concluded that, for the good of this and future Governments, the Prime Minister should resign.”

The Conservative Party is “in denial” over the scale of the problems it faces under Boris Johnson’s continued leadership, a senior backbencher has warned.

Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, said the party is on course to lose the next general election unless something changes.

There has been a steady trickle of Tory MPs calling for Mr Johnson to go following the damning report last week by senior civil servant Sue Gray into lockdown parties in Downing Street and Whitehall.

Many are shocked and angry at the picture it painted of a leadership culture which allowed raucous, alcohol-fuelled events to continue at a time when social gatherings were banned.

At the same time, there is unhappiness that Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s latest £21 billion support package for families struggling with the cost-of-living crisis will be part-funded by a windfall tax on the profits of the oil and gas companies – a move many MPs regard as profoundly un-Conservative.

Mr Wright’s office has been contacted.