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Boris Johnson: number of letters submitted ‘far off’ amount needed for confidence vote – UK politics live

Latest updates: Dominic Raab, the deputy prime minister, says ‘overwhelming majority’ of Conservative MPs have not been public about criticisms

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Wed 1 Jun 2022 18.59 AESTFirst published on Wed 1 Jun 2022 18.32 AEST
Dominic Raab, the deputy prime minister
Dominic Raab. The deputy prime minister told Times Radio that he didn’t think Andrea Leadsom had submitted a letter of no confidence. Photograph: James Manning/PA
Dominic Raab. The deputy prime minister told Times Radio that he didn’t think Andrea Leadsom had submitted a letter of no confidence. Photograph: James Manning/PA

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Dominic Raab has said it is “very unlikely” that there will be an early election.

He told Sky News:

I think it’s very unlikely. And I think, by the way, when the election comes, we’ll win it.

Questions around whether the prime minister had broken the ministerial code “have been answered”, Dominic Raab has said.

Outlining why he believes Boris Johnson has not broken the ministerial code, Raab told Sky News:

Lord Geidt raised that issue and the PM has responded to the letter and he’s been clear that in relation to the single fixed penalty notice he hadn’t intentionally broken the law and his attendance at that gathering, as has been well rehearsed, was inadvertent.

So Lord Geidt is really important, he is a senior figure. We’ve actually been working for months to reinforce his role, that’s been done by agreement between No 10 and Lord Geidt, but actually I think those questions have been answered, both in general but also now specifically in the letter the PM has sent and, as I said, we’re getting on with the job.

Raab said he thinks it is “not that simple” that Johnson receiving a fine for breaking lockdown rules means he has broken the ministerial code.

He said:

There have been examples in the past where similarly, I think Baroness Scotland, I think in 2009, she was a minister (and was fined).

The point was, she hadn’t acted deliberately or intentionally, and therefore Gordon Brown took the view that the code hadn’t been broken.

So I’m just saying there are precedents for this... I think it’s clear from the circumstances of this particular gathering, where he turned up, was there for 10 minutes, was unaware that it was a surprise birthday cake for him, that wasn’t a deliberate breach of the rules, and that’s the key point.

The treasurer of the 1922 Committee has warned that ousting Boris Johnson would mean a leadership vacuum during a “really serious situation” citing the cost of living crisis.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown claimed a leadership contest would take at least eight weeks because of the lack of an obvious successor to the prime minister.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said:

During that time there will be complete stasis of leadership of this country at a time when we are in a really serious situation with the cost of living crisis, with potentially rail strikes.

And the other problem is, who would you have? There will be at least five or six candidates that would put in for the job.

Somebody will emerge, but there’ll be a lot of colleagues who haven’t voted for that particular candidate.

That candidate will then have the job of reuniting the party, trying to deal with all the problems that the country faces. And I think at the moment for me, we should leave matters as they are.

Nicola Slawson
Nicola Slawson

The deputy prime minister has said he believes the number of letters that have been submitted to Graham Brady is “pretty far off” the required amount needed to trigger a confidence vote.

Dominic Raab has said he does not believe the former cabinet minister Andrea Leadsom has submitted a letter to the 1922 Committee.

Speaking to Times Radio, Raab said:

First of all, you said that there were 30 MPs who have been public [in their criticism of the prime minister]. There’s of course well over 350-odd Conservative MPs.

Presenter Aasmah Mir responded: “Well you need to get to 54, so it’s not that far off, is it?”

Raab said:

Well, if you’re at 30, which is what you’ve just said, I think you’re pretty far off, but my point is even then, in terms of the support for the PM, the overwhelming majority have not been public about these kind of criticisms.

Although in fairness, I want to say I understand the frustrations and the concerns.

MPs being publicly vocal in their criticism of Boris Johnson does not mean they have submitted a letter.

Outlining his thoughts on Leadsom’s letter to constituents shared on social media, which criticised the prime minister Raab said:

I’ve known Andrea a long time, we came in as MPs, I hold her in high esteem.

I think it’s clear that she’s expressing her frustration, she hasn’t put a letter in as far as I understand, she hasn’t said that.

The most important thing is the fact that the prime minister has addressed all of these points [and] overhauled the No 10 operation.

Welcome to today’s liveblog. I’ll be updating you throughout the day. Do drop me an email on nicola.slawson@theguardian.com or send me a tweet @Nicola_Slawson if you think I’m missing something or if you have a question.