As published by ITV Calendar:
Boris Johnson has survived his vote of confidence. But more than 40 per cent of his own MPs want him gone.
Every Conservative MP I spoke to after the vote said they thought the prime minister did worse than expected.
Ashfield MP Lee Anderson, who backed Boris Johnson, told me the result was “probably a little bit worse” than he expected but says he the prime minister won a “great mandate” from the party.
“There were probably a few snakes in the grass – but those snakes have been outed now,” he added.
Just four MPs from the Calendar region publicly stated they would be voting against the prime minister: Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker, Haltemprice and Howden MP David Davis, Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones and York Outer MP Julian Sturdy.
“The scale of the vote against the Prime Minister this evening is clear evidence that he no longer enjoys the full-hearted confidence of the parliamentary party and should consider his position,” said York Outer MP Julian Sturdy after the vote.
Several other MPs kept quiet but hinted privately they would cast their ballot against Boris Johnson. The vast majority of Tory MPs across Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, North Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire publicly backed the prime minister.
Unlike many of their southern colleagues, they calculate that Boris Johnson remains a vote winner in our region.
“I think he’s an asset, definitely in Bassetlaw, definitely in the ‘red wall’ in the North and the Midlands. I don’t think it’s the right time to be changing prime minister,” the Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith told ITV Calendar.
But even some of those who say they support Boris Johnson admit this vote will damage him. Asked if the PM could survive a big rebellion, Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Miriam Cates said: “I just don’t know… I think we’ve seen how quickly things change in politics. Who knows?”
Some of the 2019 intake of MPs feel badly let down by the prime minister and how he’s handled the response to ‘Partygate’. One told me how furious they were about being put in this position only two years into the job.
In just over two weeks voters in Wakefield will choose their new MP after the city’s former Conservative MP Imran Ahmad Khan was jailed for sexually assaulting a child.
Two polls in recent days have forecast a big win for Labour. If Labour do take the seat by a margin as big as some Tories fear, some MPs in our region may reconsider their view that Boris Johnson is still a vote winner.