Four More Tory MPs Say Boris Johnson Must Go Over Partygate Fines

© AFP 2023 / DANIEL LEALIn this file photo taken on December 01, 2021 Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) stands with Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak during a meeting with Small Business Saturday entrepreneurs in Downing Street in central London
In this file photo taken on December 01, 2021 Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) stands with Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak during a meeting with Small Business Saturday entrepreneurs in Downing Street in central London - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.04.2022
The four new names were on top of the 10 Tory backbenchers who have submitted and not withdrawn letters of no-confidence in Prime Minister Boris Johnson's leadership. But forty more would be needed to trigger an internal leadership election.
Four more Tory MPs have called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign over the Partygate scandal.
That followed confirmations that Johnson, his wife Carrie and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak had received Fixed Penalty Notices of at least £50 each from the Metropolitan Police over a surprise birthday party that Mrs Johnson threw for her husband in the Cabinet Room in June 2020.
The gathering of Downing Street staff for the now-infamous "cake ambush" was ruled to have breached COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
Karen Bradley, who was Northern Ireland secretary under Johnson's predecessor Theresa May, said "law-breaking" by members of the government was "unforgiveable".
"My constituents know that I have been clear that those that make the rules must not break them, whether intentionally or otherwise," Bradley said. "The public are right to expect the highest standards of behaviour from their leaders."
"Law-breaking in Downing Street is unforgivable", she charged, but stressed that that the Ukraine conflict meant ministers should "act responsibly so as to not make the situation worse."
"But I do wish to make it clear that if I had been a minister found to have broken the laws that I passed, I would be tendering my resignation now," she said.
Bradley was sacked from her ministerial position in Johnson's first reshuffle on taking over from May in July 2019.
Penrith and the Border MP Neil Hudson, Amber Valley MP Nigel Mills and Calder Valley's Craig Whittaker also said he should resign.
Ten of the MPs who wrote letters of no-confidence in the PM to backbench 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady early in the lockdown party saga have not withdrawn them, as some others have since the start of the Russian operation in Ukraine.
One of those is constant Johnson critic and Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Parliamentary Defence Select Committee, who this week suggested the Ministry of Defence could run the government's effort to arm Ukrainian militants while the Tories go through another leadership contest.
But that still leaves Johnson's opponents 40 names short of the 54 Tory MPs needed to force a leadership contest under party rules.
Hudson said he would not "defend the indefensible" and that Johnson should resign, but that it was not "prudent or responsible" for him to do so with the Ukraine crisis and economic war with Russia still raging.
"The fact that the Prime Minister and Chancellor have been found in breach of the COVID rules and issued with fixed penalty notices is extremely disappointing," Hudson said. "The fact that the law-makers went on to break those very laws they brought in to keep us all safe is deeply damaging for our democracy. That situation is untenable moving forward."
Opposition Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer, who lacks the Parliamentary support to carry a no-confidence motion in the government, called Tory MPs who support Johnson "lemmings."
"Every Tory MP that cares about honesty and integrity should call for the Prime Minister to resign," Starmer demanded. "They know he's a liar. They know he's a law-breaker."
Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood arrives at the Houses of Parliament in London, Friday March 24, 2017 - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.04.2022
Tory Backbencher Claims BoJo is Liability to Ukraine Crisis After Partygate Fine
Three anti-Brexit former party leaders — two of whose careers Johnson helped end — have yet to come out for or against the PM.
His two immediate Downing Street predecessors David Cameron and Theresa May, along with Sir John Major who led the country from 1990 to 1997, have remained silent on the issue.
Cameron resigned after leading the Remain campaign in the 2016 European Union (EU) membership referendum, in which BoJo backed Brexit. May, another Remainer, was pressured by fellow Tories to resign in May 2019, the day after the European Parliament elections in which the newly-formed Brexit Party came first.
The major legacy of Major's government was Britain's entry into the EU, the successor of the European Economic Community (EEC). The former PM has been an outspoken critic of Brexit and of Johnson's government.
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