A protester holds a sign showing the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he stands in front of the entrance to Downing Street in London on April 13, 2022. AP LONDON British prime minister Boris Johnson is facing a growing threat of a confidence vote as two more lawmakers suggested they had lost faith in his government over the partygate scandal and a former party leader said he could be challenged next week.
Johnson's ethics adviser said that the prime minister may have broken the ministerial code when he was fined by the police over a birthday party in June 2020 when indoor socializing was banned. Ministers who do not adhere to the code are expected to resign.
John Stevenson, a Conservative member of parliament, said he had been deeply disappointed by the rule-breaking parties during the COVID 19 national lock-downs and called for a vote of confidence as a way to draw the line under the issues.
Stevenson said in a statement that the prime minister appears unwilling to bring matters to a head. The only option is for the Conservatives to have a vote of confidence. I have already taken the appropriate action. A damning official report last week detailed a series of illegal parties at Johnson's Downing Street office during the COVID 19 lock-downs, prompting a new wave of calls for the Conservative prime minister to step aside.
More than 25 Conservative lawmakers have called for Johnson to resign, while at least a further six have criticized his conduct, but stopped short of saying he should resign.
Should Johnson lose a confidence vote, he would be removed as prime minister and there would be a leadership contest to decide his replacement.
William Hague, who was head of the Conservative Party from 1997 to 2001, said Johnson is likely to face a vote of confidence by the end of June and could face one as early as next week when members of parliament return from recess.
Hague said that the report by a senior civil servant on the illegal parties was a kind of slow fuse explosion and with more Conservative lawmakers criticizing Johnson the fuse is getting closer to the dynamite Johnson is in real trouble, he told Times Radio. The party is moving towards having a ballot at the end of June, next week or around the end of June. Andrea Leadsom, a former Cabinet minister and prominent Brexiteer, accused Johnson of unacceptable failures of leadership and said it was extremely unlikely that senior leaders would not know what was going on.
At least 54 Conservative members of parliament are required to formally request a confidence vote from the chairman of the party's 1922 Committee. The chairman of the committee knows how many letters have been submitted, because the letters are confidential.
Science Minister George Freeman, asked on Sky News whether the prime minister would win a vote of no confidence next week, he said: I just don't know. He said that he doesn't know where his backbench colleagues are.
ALSO READ: UK PM suffers heavy losses in London in local elections