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Bishops support moves against Boris Johnson

06 June 2022

The Prime Minister will face a vote of no confidence this evening


The Prime Minister at the BBC Platinum Party at the Palace on Saturday

The Prime Minister at the BBC Platinum Party at the Palace on Saturday

THE Prime Minister will face a vote of no confidence this evening amid intensifying calls for him to resign.

On Monday morning, the chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, announced that he had received enough letters from Conservative MPs to trigger a vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson. The vote will be held between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

If the Prime Minister fails to win a simple majority, the party will begin the process of selecting a new leader to replace him.

The announcement that the threshold had been met follows a jubilee weekend in which Mr Johnson faced further calls to resign. On Friday, the Bishop of Buckingham, Dr Alan Wilson, described Mr Johnson as a liar.

Asked on Times Radio whether he thought Mr Johnson should resign, Dr Wilson replied: “The only answer is yes.”

He highlighted Mr Johnson’s statements about lockdown parties in Downing Street. “It’s not the parties actually,” Dr Wilson said. “It’s the lying. I think that’s the problem. I mean, everybody makes mistakes. And I think people are very tolerant about that. But I think it’s very difficult to trust a liar.”

In April, Mr Johnson was fined for his involvement in a gathering that broke Covid-19 laws. Shortly after, on Maundy Thursday, the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, told the Church Times: “If breaking the laws you have made, and then lying about it, does not require resignation, then what does? Our public life and discourse are being corrupted. Integrity is essential to public life” (News, 20 April).

The Bishop of Kensington, Dr Graham Tomlin, was similarly stern. In a Twitter post on 12 April, the day that Mr Johnson was fined, he wrote: “Don’t know about you but I think if I had been found guilty and fined for breaking lockdown rules I would have felt the need to offer my resignation.”

On Monday morning, the former Treasury minister Jesse Norman became the latest Conservative MP to release a letter to Mr Johnson calling on him to resign. Mr Norman criticised Mr Johnson’s conduct and said that his policies were “at odds with a decent, proper conservatism”. The former Bishop of Liverpool, Bishop Paul Bayes, described Mr Norman’s letter as “a fine restatement of genuinely Conservative values, and a courageous one”.

In February, the chair of Christians in Parliament, Sir Gary Streeter, who is the Conservative MP for South West Devon, submitted a letter of no confidence in Mr Johnson (News, 4 February). In a Facebook post, Mr Streeter said: “I cannot reconcile the pain and sacrifice of the vast majority of the British Public during lockdown with the attitude and activities of those working in Downing Street. Accordingly, I have now submitted a letter seeking a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister.”

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