How might Boris Johnson’s time as prime minister come to an end? For a long time all eyes have been fixed on the inscrutable grin of Sir Graham Brady, who as chair of the 1922 Committee acts as the postbox for letters demanding a vote of confidence in the party leader.
But I cannot find any Conservative MP who thinks that anything like 54 of their number have sent their requests to Sir Graham, whether by letter or email. “More than four,” said one MP, asked how many letters have been sent. As four MPs have gone public calling for Johnson to go, this tells us little. The important fact is that the number of letters has not hit the threshold that requires Sir Graham to convene an impromptu news conference outside St Stephen’s entrance to the Palace of Westminster.
Attention switched yesterday, therefore, to the cabinet. The other way a prime minister might be dislodged is if one or more cabinet ministers resigns and says the prime minister should go. There would still have to be 54 MPs writing to Sir Graham to start a leadership contest, but the assumption is that this would definitely happen if members of the cabinet gave a lead.
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