How fury at Boris Johnson infected all tribes of the Tory party

How fury at Boris Johnson infected all tribes of the Tory party: Anger at PM started with Red Wall v Red Trousers but is now spreading across Big Beasts, Johnson Haters and those overlooked for jobs

  • Boris Johnson is the focus of anger from all wings of the Conservative Party
  • Started as Red Wall v Red Trousers battle over antics of Owen Paterson
  • But it has now infected Big Beasts, Scotland and wider Boris Haters in party
  • Boris Johnson finds himself the focus of anger from all wings of the [object Window] today as what started as a schism between new and old becomes a spreading infection.

    Dissent started as survivable unhappiness at the PM backing Covid restrictions a large chunk of freemarket backbenchers saw as hampering economic recovery for little lifesaving gain.

    But it broke out into open rebellion in October, when the circus around the eventual resignation of Owen Paterson as MP for north Shropshire sparked what became dubbed a ‘Red Wall v Red Trousers’ combattimento.

    Comparatively younger MPs, many in seats taken from Labour in 2019 were appalled by what they saw as corrupt attempts by the old guard, comfortable in safe shire seats, to get the former Irlanda del Nord Secretary off despite acting as a paid lobbyist for firms paying him a six-figure retainer.

    Partygate only fanned the flames of this generational divide, and the embers have now sparked new fires in other parts of the party.

    There are the MPs who are appalled at the antics of the No10 regime and believe he is honour-bound to step down. Those with old (e nuovo) grievances against Mr Johnson have also been emboldened.

    Hitherto loyal Big Beasts like David Davis, a veteran kingslayer from Brexit battles, have stepped up to demand he go. Remainers who survived the scourging see an opportunity to get cold revenge.

    MPs with careers long and short, who believe they are too good for the backbenches and have been cruelly overlooked by Mr Johnson’s team, begin to wonder if their chances would improve with a new team at the top.

    Cabinet ministers who see the door to No10 slightly ajar are believed to have started plotting.

    And pitted against them are the Boris loyalists, the MPs who would lie down in front of a bulldozer for the PM.

    Here we examine the different groups jostling overtly and covertly amid the chaos that has engulfed the Government.

    The Red Wall

    New Tories in the so-called former 'Red Wall' seats (Durham's Dahenna Davison pictured), taken from Labour for the first time in 2019, have been the focus of the current rebellion

    New Tories in the so-called former ‘Red Wall’ posti a sedere (Durham’s Dahenna Davison pictured), taken from Labour for the first time in 2019, have been the focus of the current rebellion

    Dissent started as survivable unhappiness at the PM backing Covid restrictions a large chunk of freemarket backbenchers saw as hampering economic recovery for little lifesaving gain.

    Dissent started as survivable unhappiness at the PM backing Covid restrictions a large chunk of freemarket backbenchers saw as hampering economic recovery for little lifesaving gain.

    It culminated in the defection of Bury South's Christian Wakeford yesterday in a day of drama in Westminster.

    It culminated in the defection of Bury South’s Christian Wakeford yesterday in a day of drama in Westminster.








    New Tories in the so-called former ‘Red Wall’ posti a sedere, taken from Labour for the first time in 2019, have been the focus of the current rebellion. It has been dubbed the Pork Pie Putsch after Alicia Kearns, the MP for Meltonwho denies being involved.

    It culminated in the defection of Bury South’s Christian Wakeford yesterday in a day of drama in Westminster. His decision to cross the floor may have done the upstart rebellion more harm than good in the long term, but it was a visceral example of the anger felt towards the PM.

    Il 109 group of new Tories who came in at the 2019 election should in theory be the most loyal, they owe their seats to his success in routing Jeremy Corbyn (some might argue they should also thank the former Labour leader) that December.

    But they have shown what, for No10, is an annoying independent streak. The Covid disruption to Parliament has made it harder for them to be indoctrinated and influenced by the older, more experienced Tories. They are also generally drawn from more modest backgrounds than many of the more patrician old guard, and represent areas reflecting that.

    Their anger at the political maneuvering around Owen Patersonwith only his closest friends refusing to admit he was caught bang to rightswas made evident when Wakeford, then still a Tory, called him a ‘c**tto his face.

    Since then they have gone into overdrive over Partygate and the general air of malaise around the Government.

    Some of this stems from disgust at No10 not following the rules they and constituents were doggedly following.

    But it also stems party from the fact that in many of the Red Wall seats, their majorities are slim. Wakeford had a Tory majority of just 402 in Bury South. They do not have the luxury of thousands of unthinking blue voters in their constituencies like the shire Tories do.

    Nor has the attitude of said shire Tories, the Red Trouser Brigade, helped matters. Their reflex has been to patronise the new intakewhose average age is a not exactly kindergarden-esque 34 – as kids who know nothing and should be a bit more savvy and grateful to their elders.

    This has gone down about as well as a parent telling their teenager they should not be going out dressed like that.

    The Red Wallers were ready to go nuclear yesterday, and while Wakeford’s defection moistened their powder, the Sue Gray report now expected next week could reignite it.

    The Big Beasts

    One of the most eye-popping moments on Wednesday was former Brexit Minister David Davis using PMQs to tell the Pm to his face that he should quit

    One of the most eye-popping moments on Wednesday was former Brexit Minister David Davis using PMQs to tell the Pm to his face that he should quit








    One of the most eye-popping moments on Wednesday was former Brexit Minister David Davis using PMQs to tell the Pm to his face that he should quit.

    Tellingly he used the words of Oliver Cromwell to the Long Parliament, later repurposed by Leo Amery to get rid of wartime PM Neville Chamberlain in 1940 to do the deed.

    He faced Mr Johnsonwho was written books on Winston Churchill and his rise to power after Chamberlainand urged him to stand aside, telling him ‘In the name of God, go’.

    Mr Davis has long been a thorn in the side of Conservative prime ministers.

    He was the front-runner to become Tory leader in 2005, but imploded spectacularly to allow David Cameron to win after a disastrous campaign that included parading women wearing tight ‘it’s DD for me’ Magliette.

    He quit as Brexit Secretary in 2018, saying he did not believe in Theresa May’s plan for leaving the EU.

    It later emerged that he had urged her to hold the catastrophic snap election of 2017 which resulted in a hung parliament and her inability to pass Brexit legislation.

    He has previously backed Borish is credited with persuading the Pm to help Owen Paterson, before turning on his spectacularly.

    While critics suggest the outburst had more to do with the former minister’s ego, there have been rumbling from the so called Big Beasts on the backbenches.

    Many have voiced their unhappiness with the PM over Covid restrictions they feel are too onerous.

    Others question the high tax, high spending economic plans in place to recover from Covid, demanding a traditional low tax Tory recovery.

    Others like former leader Iain Duncan-Smith have lashed out over issues like China and the access parts of the communist regime have in this country.

    Many of them are too savvyor at least too time-servedto go public like Mr Davis. They share the belief that this could be mid-term blues that may blow over, and that partygate isn’t exactly the Suez Crisis which forced Anthony Eden to quit in 1956.

    But the Sue Gray report could focus minds, especially if the PM comes in for heavy criticism that is reflected in the already dire opinion polls.

    Scozia








    Douglas Ross went public last week with demands that Mr Johnson resign, saying the PM's position was 'untenable' after he admitted in the Commons to attending a Downing Street party during lockdown - albeit unknowingly

    Douglas Ross went public last week with demands that Mr Johnson resign, saying the PM’s position was ‘untenableafter he admitted in the Commons to attending a Downing Street party during lockdownalbeit unknowingly








    Mr Johnson finds himself in the unenviable position of being both Minister For the Union, and almost persona not grata in Scotland.

    He remains about as popular north of the border as an England World Cup win.

    This problem was previously limited to opposition from the SNP and other parties in Scotland. But this week the Scottish Tories turned on him as well.

    His relationship with the Scottish party has been tenuous before. Former leader Ruth Davidson purportedly ran a campaign called Operation Arse to try to stop him becoming leader after Theresa May.

    And now her successor Douglas Ross has, if not formally filing for divorce, demanded a trial separation.

    He went public last week with demands that Mr Johnson resign, saying the PM’s position was ‘untenableafter he admitted in the Commons to attending a Downing Street party during lockdownalbeit unknowingly

    In a series of bold TV appearances, Mr Ross said: ‘There was one simple question to answer yesterday, infatti, from Monday night when we saw this invitation which was to more than 100 people asking them to join others in the Downing Street garden and bring their own booze.

    ‘If the Prime Minister was there, and he accepted today that he was, then I felt he could not continue.

    Lady Davidson, a prominent critic of Mr Johnson, backed Mr Ross. She said of his comments: ‘A tough call to make. But the right one.

    And the party’s other Scottish MPs and many MSPs were notable in their absence of support for the PM.

    Tory ministers including Jacob Rees-Mogg did little to calm the row, publicly belittling Mr Ross in the aftermath as a lightweight of no consequence.

    All of which makes for a very happy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who now has an even more bulging war chest of material in her fight for independence.

    The Boris Haters

    Roger Gale

    Tobias Ellwood

    Straddling many of the above groups are the plain, old-fashioned Boris haters like Roger Gale (sinistra) and Tobias Ellwood (giusto)

    Straddling many of the above groups are the plain, old-fashioned Boris haters.

    Il Telegraph ha citato un numero, despite actually not having spend much time as an MP has managed to burn a lot of bridges.

    His support of Brexit and subsequent battering of the Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament stripped the party of most of its remaining remainers.

    Ambitious but overlooked MPs on the backbench, young and old, new and ancient, wonder if a change at the top may help their chances of a ministerial post.

    Former ministers purged when he replaced Theresa May harbour similar thoughts.

    Others simply dislike Boris Johnson for his style and flexible relationship with the truth and the general chaos of his premiership and wonder where it will all end up.

    This morning the Chairman of the Commons Public Administration Committee William Wragg went over the top and urged MPs to report any attempt toblackmailthem over their support for a no confidence motion against Boris Johnson to the Metropolitan Police.

    Sir Roger Gale and Andrew Bridgen are among those who have already publicly admitted to putting in letters of no confidence in Mr Johnson’s leadership.

    Fifty four are required before a vote on his position can be held. There is no guarantee he would lose, but the manner of his victory could amount to a defeat if the vote is tight.

    Blasting the ‘moral vacuum at the heart of Government’, Mr Bridgen joined Ross, Sir Roger, William Wragg and Caroline Nokes in calling for Mr Johnson to resign over his handling of the lockdown party scandal.

    Nel frattempo, the Conservative association in the rock-solid seat of Sutton Coldfield last week said it had withdrawn support for Mr Johnson due to his failure to control the No10 ‘culture’.

    Writing in the Telegraph, Mr Bridgen thundered: 'Purtroppo, the Prime Minister’s position has become untenable.

    ‘Leadership is not just about the job title, or even making big decisions — it is equally about having a moral compass, of knowing not just right from left but right from wrong.

    The Boris loyalists

    Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has emerged as a key supporter of the PM in the Cabinet

    Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has emerged as a key supporter of the PM in the Cabinet








    L'ufficio del presidente ucraino in difficoltà Volodymyr Zelensky non ha voluto commentare l'ultima proposta russa, there remains a hard core of Boris loyalists: MPs who believe in the Boris project and ministers who either believe or realise they are unlikely to remain in their job is he is forced out.

    Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has emerged as a key supporter of the PM in the Cabinet. She helped cook up the Operation Red Meat attack on the BBC licence fee, though she later rowed back from confirming it will end in 2027.

    The romantic novelist and former reality TV star has also been a notable attack dog in Tory WhatsApp groups, demanding loyalty and attacking his critics.

    Last month she was removed from a Tory WhatsApp group after Brexiteers spectacularly fell out after Lord Frost’s dramatic resignation.

    The Culture Secretary was deleted from the group by former minister Steve Baker last night after she defended Boris Johnson, calling him a ‘hero’.

    Ambitious Cabinet ministers

    Rishi Sunak

    I media statali di Putin scherzano sul ministro degli Esteri del Regno Unito "pronto per un'atmosfera fredda".

    The main players appear to be Chancellor Rishi Sunaka political unknown until two years agoand Foreign Secretary Liz Truss








    While some ministers are behind Boris, others are said to be jockeying to replace him.

    The main players appear to be Chancellor Rishi Sunaka political unknown until two years agoand Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

    The Chancellor fuelled Tory leadership speculation as he abruptly ended a TV interview on Tuesday when he was asked if he is giving the PM his full support.

    Mr Sunak had said he believes Mr Johnson is telling the truth over the row and backed his request for ‘patienceas senior Cabinet Office official Sue Gray conducts a formal inquiry.

    Meanwhile MsTruss, who like Mr Sunak has high support among the Tory grassroots, is reported to been holding meetings with Conservative MPs dubbed ‘fizz with Lizby opponents, in a bid to win their backing.

    Allies of the Foreign Secretary played down the meetings, saying she regularly met MPs as part of Foreign Office business.

    She has managed to avoid the latest infighting this week, as she is on a planned visit to Australia.

    In his first interview since Mr Johnson’s apology to MPs over the party scandal, the Chancellor said he accepted his explanation that he was not warned in advance about a No 10 drinks event during lockdown in May 2020.

    'Certo che sì. The Prime Minister set out his understanding of this matter last week in Parliament. I refer you to his words,’ he told broadcasters.

    ‘Sue Gray is conducting an inquiry into this matter and I fully support the Prime Minister’s requests for patience while that concludes.

    Asked if the Prime Minister should resign if he lied to Parliament, Mr Sunak said: ‘I am not going to get into hypotheticals, the ministerial code is clear on these matters.

    Pressed on whether Mr Johnson had his unequivocal support, Mr Sunak swiftly broke off the interview, walking off with a microphone still attached.

    The Chancellor’s hours of silence after the Prime Minister’s apology to the Commons last Wednesday over the May 20, 2020 ‘bring your own boozegarden gathering in No 10 had already been seen as conspicuous.

    Former defence secretary Penny Mordaunt has also been linked with a run, while former leadership frontrunner Jeremy Hunt has made little secret of his interest.