Watch live as Boris Johnson faces Keir Starmer at PMQs as threat of no-confidence vote looms
Boris Johnson has been hit by the defection of a Red Wall MP to Labour just minutes before Prime Minister’s Questions as he battles to save his leadership.
Bury South MP Christian Wakeford said the country needed a government that “upholds the highest standards of integrity and probity” but told Mr Johnson “both you and the Conservative Party as a whole have shown themselves incapable of offering the leadership and government this country deserves”.
Former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson suggested a no-confidence vote in MrJohnson was now a matter of “when” rather than “if” after a dramatic shift in mindset among Conservative backbenchers.
Her comments came after 12 more Tory MPs reportedly submitted letters of no confidence on Wednesday morning.
Christian Wakeford: Read full statement as Tory MP joins Labour
Conservative MP Christian Wakeford delivered a harsh blow to Boris Johnson just minutes before prime minister’s questions by defecting to the opposition.
Branding the PM’s behaviour disgraceful, Mr Wakeford also took a swipe at the cost of living crisis and the Tories’ “standards of integrity in public life”, saying the government had shown itself consistently out of touch.
Here’s his statement in full:
Chiara Giordano19 January 2022 12:16
Boris Johnson tells PMQs he will not resign over Downing Street party allegations
Boris Johnson replied “no” when asked if he would resign by Liberal Democrat MP Wendy Chamberlain (North East Fife).
Ms Chamberlain highlighted “excuses” made by the Prime Minister over Downing Street party allegations, adding: “There’s no excuse for taking the British people for fools.
“Would the Prime Minister agree it’s now time for him to resign?”
Mr Johnson replied: “No, Mr Speaker. But what I can tell her, as I said to the House last week, I apologise sincerely for any misjudgments that were made.”
He asked Ms Chamberlain to wait for the inquiry to report before she comes to any conclusions.
Chiara Giordano19 January 2022 12:09
Loud cheers as Christian Wakeford takes his seat behind Labour leader for PMQs
This is from our political editor Andrew Woodcock, who is in the Commons chamber for PMQs today just moments after Tory MP Christian Wakeford defected to the Labour party.
Loud cheering from Labour MPs as Christian Wakeford takes his seat on the opposition benches.
Very loud cheers from Tories and fists banging on seatbacks as Boris Johnson arrives.
Mr Wakeford opted to sit on the second row behind Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.
Chiara Giordano19 January 2022 12:04
Boris Johnson no-confidence vote ‘when, not if’, says senior Tory
A no-confidence vote in Boris Johnson is now a matter of “when” rather than “if” after a dramatic shift in mindset among Conservative backbenchers, former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has said.
The Tory peer’s remarks come as reports indicate that around 12 MPs from the party’s 2019 election intake sent letters of no-confidence to 1922 Committee chair Sir Graham Brady this morning.
My colleague Adam Forrest has the full story:
Chiara Giordano19 January 2022 11:58
Tory MP defects to Labour moments before PMQs
The Conservative MP Christian Wakeford has defected to the Labour Party, in another blow to Boris Johnson just moments before prime minister’s questions.
As the prime minister faces the escalating threat of a leadership challenge over allegations of rule-breaking parties in No 10, Sir Keir Starmer welcomed the Bury South MP into Labour’s ranks.
Our political correspondent Ashley Cowburn has this breaking news:
Chiara Giordano19 January 2022 11:57
Tory MP Christian Wakeford defects to Labour party
Christian Wakeford, the Tory MP for Bury South, is defecting to the Labour party.
Welcoming him to the party, Labour leader Keir Starmer said: “As Christian said, the policies of the Conservative government are doing nothing to help the people of Bury South and indeed are only making the struggles they face on a daily basis worse.
“People across Britain faces a cost of living crisis but this incompetent Tory government is asleep at the wheel, distracted by a chaos of its own making.”
Chiara Giordano19 January 2022 11:51
Timeline of alleged gatherings across government during Covid restrictions
Boris Johnson is facing intense scrutiny over further allegations of rule-busting gatherings in No 10 as the rest of the country was subject to strict lockdown measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
After a leaked email showed over 100 No 10 staff were invited to “bring your own booze” event in the Downing Street garden on 20 May 2020, including the prime minister and his wife, Carrie Johnson, MPs within his own party have also called on Mr Johnson to resign.
Here, The Independent looks at all the allegations of gatherings across No 10, government and at the Conservative Party headquarters.
Chiara Giordano19 January 2022 11:35
What is the ‘pork pie plot’? Tory bid to oust Boris Johnson explained
Boris Johnson is battling to save his premiership as a group of Conservatives openly discuss how he could be ousted from Downing Street over the partygate scandal.
Dubbed the “pork pie plot”, a group of around 20 MPs who won their seats in so-called red wall constituencies at the 2019 election are understood to have met on Tuesday to discuss Mr Johnson’s potential downfall.
So why is the plot named after the meat and pastry delicacy?
My colleague Adam Forrest explains all:
Chiara Giordano19 January 2022 11:20
Poll finds more than half of Tory voters do not believe PM is telling truth about garden party
Despite the PM’s categorical denial, an exclusive poll for The Independent found almost two-thirds of voters (65 per cent) and more than half (54 per cent) of Conservative supporters do not believe the PM’s claim he thought the 20 May 2020 drinks in the Downing Street garden was a “work event”.
An overwhelming 80 per cent of those questioned by Savanta ComRes – including 73 per cent of those who voted Tory in 2019 – agreed that under Johnson there was “one rule for the government and another for everybody else”.
Our political editor Andrew Woodcock has the exclusive report:
Chiara Giordano19 January 2022 11:05
Boris Johnson will seek to boost his position with Tory MPs at PMQs
Boris Johnson is expected to seek to boost his position with Tory MPs and the public by announcing an easing of England’s coronavirus restrictions this afternoon.
The prime minister will face MPs at Prime Minister’s Questions in just over an hour’s time after 12 more Tories reportedly submitted letters of no confidence this morning.
Chiara Giordano19 January 2022 10:51