Former Conservative leader Michael Howard – the man once described as someone “who has something of the night about him” by a fellow Tory- is the latest to call for the PM’s resignation after two devastating by-election losses.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4 today, Howard, who led the Conservatives between 2003 and 2005, said: “The party and more importantly the country would be better off under new leadership,” after the Conservatives were defeated in the Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton by-elections.
“[Boris Johnson’s] biggest asset has always been his ability to win votes. But I’m afraid yesterday’s results make it clear that he no longer has that ability,” the Tory peer added.
During his leadership of the party, Howard sacked Boris Johnson from his front bench, for lying about an affair.
Despite the two defeats, at the hands of Labour in Wakefield and the Lib Dems in Tiverton, the PM has refused to resign. Johnson, who is currently visiting Rwanda, said “we will keep going,” but admitted that “there’s more that we can do.”
Howard’s wounding comments follow on from the shock resignation this morning of Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden. He added that “members of the cabinet should very carefully consider their positions, as Oliver Dowden has done,” Howard said.
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Alternatively, he suggested that it may be time for the 1922 to show its teeth, saying: “It may be necessary for the executive of the 1922 Committee to meet and to decide to change the rules so that another leadership contest could take place.” The former QC might even be able to help them decide how.