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Boris Johnson is told by ministers to perform when ex-leaders Michael Howard and William Hague go into knife
- Cabinet ministers tell Boris to continue his work to save his skin
- Dominic Raab and Priti Patel said government must ‘listen to voters’
- An optimistic Mr Johnson vowed to ‘keep going’ at a press conference in Rwanda after two hurtful midterm election defeats
Cabinet ministers told Boris Johnson last night that he must “deliver” the public’s priorities as two ex-Tory leaders challenge his leadership.
Senior colleagues, including Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab and Home Secretary Priti Patel, said the government needed to “listen” after Thursday’s defeats.
He called on the government to focus on improving people’s lives, saying: “We will be relentlessly focused on delivery, not allowing the distractions of recent times to take our attention off the ball.” Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries added: ‘Last night was a reminder that we must relentlessly continue to deliver work.’
An optimistic Mr Johnson vowed to “go on” telling a press conference in Rwanda that people would continue to “beat me up and say this or that about me to attack me.”
An optimistic Mr Johnson vowed to ‘keep going’ at a press conference in Rwanda after two hurtful midterm election defeats
Senior colleagues including Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab and Home Secretary Priti Patel said the government needed to ‘listen’ after Thursday’s defeats in the midterm elections
‘That’s good, that’s right. That’s the job of politicians,” he added.
But former Conservative leader Michael Howard urged the prime minister to step down for the good of his party and country.
The Conservative colleague told BBC Radio 4’s World At One: ‘The party and, more importantly, the country would now be better off under new leadership. Cabinet members should consider their positions very carefully.’
Fellow former Tory leader William Hague also urged cabinet members to consider resigning, told Times Radio: “There comes a point for a party where it could be heading for disaster and there is a massive loss of confidence among party activists and voters across the country.
‘There will come a time when cabinet members have to arm themselves for this.
“I would if I were in cabinet today.”
Ms Patel said it was “important and right” for the Conservatives to have a “moment of reflection” after losing the seats, adding that the government should “listen”.
Former Conservative leader Michael Howard urged Prime Minister to step down for the good of his party and country
Mr Raab said the government needed to be “relentlessly focused” after “distractions” such as Partygate. “I think the Prime Minister worded it well: we have to listen very carefully, we have to take in that feedback,” he added.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said “we all take responsibility for the results,” although he did not mention the prime minister in his tweet.
Speaking from Rwanda – 4,000 miles from Westminster – Mr Johnson promised to ‘listen’ to voters.
Mr Johnson heard the results of the midterm elections in the early hours of yesterday morning before going for a swim at 6am in his hotel pool in the capital Kigali.
He returned to his room to get a call from Tory party chairman Oliver Dowden, who told him he was about to resign.
Fellow former Tory leader William Hague also urged cabinet members to consider stepping down
He is said to have been surprised by the news as the results were expected and sources say Mr Dowden volunteered to do the media broadcast. A source said: ‘He would be doing the morning round if we lost the midterm elections, which wasn’t a shock, so what changed from Wednesday morning?’
The Prime Minister is unlikely to replace Mr Dowden any time soon, with sources saying ‘it’s not like he’s lost a Home Secretary or anything like that, which prevents the government from functioning’.
Party sources emphasized that Johnson was not worried about further departures. One said: ‘The Prime Minister does not agree that he should take responsibility. He takes responsibility for the overall direction of the government.” The source added of the midterm election results: ‘It’s not the wheels coming off the bus, it’s a few nuts.’
After the Edstone, Davey’s Door
The Liberal Democrats pulled off a hair-raising victory stunt yesterday after winning a third Tories seat in the space of a year.
Leader Sir Ed Davey posed by a blue door to illustrate his message that Boris Johnson must step down as prime minister.
Reminiscent of Ed Miliband’s 2015 ‘Edstone’ monolith featuring Labor’s election promises, the prop was decorated with the words ‘It’s time to show Boris the door’.
It was revealed at a post-election rally in Tiverton, Devon, where the Lib Dems celebrated overthrowing a huge Tory majority. Sir Ed said, ‘Boris Johnson must go. But until the next election, the only people who can show Boris Johnson the door are his own party.”
In another publicity stunt a year ago, Sir Ed swung an orange hammer at a model ‘blue wall’ after winning the Tory seat from Chesham and Amersham.
Reminiscent of Ed Miliband’s 2015 ‘Edstone’ monolith featuring Labor’s election promises, the prop was decorated with the words ‘It’s time to show Boris the door’