Boris Johnson has faced calls for his resignation from a number of high-profile people in the Conservative party, including his own backbenchers, after he admitted attending a Downing Street party during the first lockdown.
The Prime Minister apologised on Wednesday (12 January) for going to a “bring your own booze” No 10 party in May 2020.
Mr Johnson said he thought the party was a “work event” but added that “with hindsight I should have sent everyone back inside”.
He said the event was being looked at as part of Sue Gray’s inquiry into numerous claims of rule-breaking events being held in Downing Street during the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the scandal - and the Prime Minister’s response - has prompted several high-profile Tories to call for his resignation.
Who has called for the Prime Minister to resign?
Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative leader and MP for Moray, has called for the Prime Minister to quit.
He has also been joined by all 31 Tory MSPs in calling for Mr Johnson’s resignation, according to reports.
Mr Ross confirmed he had sent a letter of no confidence to the chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs, Sir Graham Brady.
He said Mr Johnson’s position was “no longer tenable” and “I don’t think he can continue as leader of the Conservatives”.
Sir Roger Gale, the Conservative North Thanet MP, told the PA news agency “you don’t have bring-a-bottle work events in Downing Street, so far as I’m aware.”
He added: “I think the time has come for either the Prime Minister to go with dignity as his choice, or for the 1922 Committee to intervene”.
William Wragg, a vice-chairman of the 1922 Committee and MP for Hazel Grove, told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme: “The Prime Minister’s position is untenable and I don’t believe it should be left to the findings of a civil servant to determine the future of the Prime Minister, and indeed, who governs this country.
“I think it is for the Conservative Party – if not the Prime Minister in fact – to make that decision.”
Caroline Nokes, the MP for Romsey and North Southampton, told ITV’s Peston the Prime Minister had “put himself in an impossible position”.
She said Mr Johnson “did a fantastic job” at the 2019 election, but added: “Now regretfully, he looks like a liability, and I think he either goes now, or he goes in three years’ time at a general election, and it’s up to the party to decide which way around that’s going to be.
“I know my thoughts are that he’s damaging us now.”
PM’s future depends on no confidence letters from Tory MPs
The future of Mr Johnson’s premiership will depend on how many letters of no confidence are submitted by Tory MPs to Sir Graham.
The 1922 Committee chairman will not reveal how many letters he has received until the figure of 15% of MPs is reached - which will trigger a confidence vote.
With the current parliamentary make up this would mean 54 letters.
Cabinet ministers defend Boris Johnson
The party scandal may have prompted several Tory MPs to call for the Prime Minister to resign, however Cabinet ministers jumped into action to defend him.
Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg dismissed those who were calling for Mr Johnson to go as “people who are always unhappy”.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who is tipped as a potential successor, tweeted: “The Prime Minister is delivering for Britain - from Brexit to the booster programme to economic growth.
“I stand behind the Prime Minister 100% as he takes our country forward.”
However, Chancellor Rishi Sunak - another tipped as a future leader of the Conservative party - was less fulsome in his support.
He tweeted: “I’ve been on a visit all day today continuing work on our #PlanForJobs as well as meeting MPs to discuss the energy situation.
“The PM was right to apologise and I support his request for patience while Sue Gray carries out her enquiry.”
A version of this article originally appeared on NationalWorld.com