Liam Fox withdraws support for Boris Johnson as he ‘no longer has confidence in PM as leader’

‘I urge you to do the right thing and resign,’ former international trade secretary tells PM

Zoe Tidman
Wednesday 06 July 2022 15:20 BST
Boris Johnson asked in which circumstances he will resign

Liam Fox has dropped his support for Boris Johnson as he joined a host of other Tory MPs in saying they have lost confidence in the prime minister.

The former international trade secretary urged Mr Johnson to resign and called his leadership “untenable” on Wednesday.

It came as the PM was rocked by resignations from ministers in protest at his leadership, which were kicked off by the shock departures of former chancellor Rishi Sunak and former health secretary Sajid Javid.

A growing number of Tory MPs have withdrawn support from Mr Johnson, hitting out at a scandal-hit Downing Street and its handling of the latest row over Chris Pincher, a former deputy chief whip facing groping allegations.

Dr Fox joined this chorus on Wednesday, submitting a letter of no confidence to the prime minister.

Liam Fox (right) has urged Boris Johnson (left) to resign as prime minister (AFP via Getty Images)

The key Brexiteer said he had been loyal to every Tory leader since he was first elected in 1992.

But he said the “events of recent days” had convinced him the prime minister “cannot continue to lead” both the Conservative party and the country.

“We have lost too many good people from the government who could not reconcile their loyalty to you with their conscience. I share their feelings,” Dr Fox said.

“Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that I am today withdrawing my support for you as I no longer have confidence in you as our leader.”

He added: “I urge you to do the right thing and resign.”

Dr Fox was international trade secretary in the years following the Brexit referendum and was responsible for trying to strike trade deals. He was replaced by Liz Truss in the reshuffle when Mr Johnson became prime minister in 2019.

More than two dozen MPs have resigned from Mr Johnson’s government since Tuesday evening, with Mr Javid calling for remaining ministers to oust the PM in parliament on Wednesday.

But Mr Johnson defied calls to quit during PMQs, saying it was the “job” of a prime minister to “keep going” when he had been handed a “colossal mandate”.

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