A Conservative MP has accused No 10 of intimidating and blackmailing MPs who are thought to be pushing for a vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson. 

William Wragg, who chairs the public administration and constitutional affairs committee, said that No 10 staff, advisers and ministers were threatening the publication of embarrassing stories about, and the withdrawal of funding from, MPs who don’t toe the line.

He said: “The intimidation of a member of parliament is a serious matter. Moreover, the reports of which I’m aware would seem to constitute blackmail.” He advised colleagues to report these matters to the police. 

Wragg is one of the handful of Tory MPs to have publicly called for Johnson to resign, saying he was “tired” and “frankly worn out of defending what is invariably indefensible”. 

Wragg’s allegations are an indication of just how vulnerable the Prime Minister’s allies feel, and how ugly the mood in Tory ranks has become. 

Here is Wragg’s statement in full:

In recent days a number of members of parliament have faced pressures and intimidation from members of the government because of their declared or assumed desire for a vote of confidence in the party leadership of the prime minister.

It is of course the duty of the government whip’s office to secure the government’s business in the House of Commons.

However it is not their function to breach the ministerial code in threatening to withdraw investments from members of parliament’s constituencies which are funded from the public purse.

Additionally, reports to me and others of members of staff at No 10 Downing Street, special advisers, government ministers and others encouraging the publication of stories in the press seeking to embarrass those who they suspect of lacking confidence in the prime minister is simply unacceptable.

The intimidation of a member of parliament is a serious matter. Moreover, the reports of which I’m aware would seem to constitute blackmail. As such, it would be my general advice to colleagues report these matters to the Speaker of the House of Commons and the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, and they’re also welcome to contact me at any time.