Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak, and Sajid Javid have all leapt to defend Boris Johnson following Sir Graham Brady’s confirmation that Conservative MPs will hold a no confidence vote in the prime minister this evening.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who received a fine for breaching Covid rules alongside the PM back in April, wrote via Twitter today: “From the vaccine rollout to our response to Russian aggression, the PM has shown the strong leadership our country needs.
“I am backing him today and will continue to back him as we focus on growing the economy, tackling the cost of living and clearing the Covid backlogs.”
Health secretary Sajid Javid, who quit the cabinet prior to the pandemic in 2020, following a row with Dominic Cummings, also stumped for Johnson, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I’m supporting the prime minister and I hope more of my colleagues do tonight.
“The prime minister will speak to my colleagues at the 1922 meeting tonight and then they will of course make up their own mind.
“And, as I say that, let me be clear, I love my party. I think there’s a lot that we can be proud of. It’s a very proud democratic party.
“No leader that I’ve known of my party has got 100 per cent support from every single colleague but we make decisions through due process openly and transparently, and tonight is an opportunity to put all this behind us and get on with the job.”
Foreign secretary Liz Truss, who has been touted as a potential Johnson successor along with Javid and Sunak, also doubled down on her support for the prime minister, tweeting: “The prime minister has my 100% backing in today’s vote and I strongly encourage colleagues to support him.
“He has delivered on Covid recovery and supporting Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression. He has apologised for mistakes made. We must now focus on economic growth.”
Defence secretary Ben Wallace is currently the most popular minister among the Tory grassroots, sitting at 80 per cent favourability according to the latest Conservative Home polling.
Foreign secretary Liz Truss is runner up at 67 pc while Nadhim Zahawi trails slightly behind her on 65.
Former treasury minister and erstwhile ally of the PM Jesse Norman publicised his blistering letter of no confidence earlier today.
In the letter, published to Twitter, the MP who he supported Johnson in both the 2016 and 2019 leadership contests, says it was “grotesque” of him to claim vindication via Sue Gray’s report.
He also argued that Conservative defeat at the next general election was certain if Johnson did not resign, stating “For you to prolong this charade by remaining in office … makes a decisive change of government at the next election much more likely. That is potentially catastrophic for this country.”
The PM’s anti-corruption tsar John Penrose has also issued a further blow to Johnson this morning after announcing his decision to step down from the role he has held since 2017.
He argued that Johnson breached “a fundamental principle of the Ministerial Code – a clear resigning matter” following his response to Sue Gray’s report, but that Johnson continues to “ignore this absolutely central, non-negotiable issue completely”.