Johnson, who won a large majority in 2019, is facing growing calls to step down over a series of scandals, including admitting he had attended a party at his Downing Street office at a time when Britain was under a strict Covid-19 lockdown.
Some younger lawmakers have spearheaded attempts to unseat Johnson, but it was an attack by one of the party’s longest-serving Conservatives that prompted gasps when he told the prime minister in parliament “In the name of God, go”.
Johnson, 57, has vowed to fight on, saying he would lead the Conservative Party into the next election and warning a lawmaker who defected to the main opposition Labour Party on Wednesday that he would win back his seat.
But in yet another blow to his shaky standing, William Wragg, chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee which oversees constitutional issues and standards, accused the government of blackmail. “In recent days, a number of members of parliament have faced pressures and intimidation from members of the government because of their declared or assumed desire for a vote of confidence in the party leadership of the prime minister,” Wragg said in a statement before a meeting of the committee.
“Moreover, the reports of which I’m aware, would seem to constitute blackmail. As such, it would be my general advice to colleagues to report these matters to the speaker of the House of Commons and the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.”
In response to the allegations, a Downing Street spokesperson said: “We are not aware of any evidence to support what are clearly serious allegations. If there is any evidence to support these claims we would look at it very carefully.” Reuters