Boris Johnson Autumn exit looms as ‘plots’ taking place ‘below surface’ — Tory insider

By-election: Boris Johnson 'not listening' says Gale

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Boris Johnson has suffered a trio of bombshell losses in just hours as the Conservatives were defeated in two byelections last night. The Lib Dems stole Tiverton and Honiton in Devon, which the Conservatives had held with a huge majority. Meanwhile, Labour took back Wakefield, West Yorkshire, which it lost to the Tories at the 2019 General Election. The third loss came in the form of Conservative co-chair Oliver Dowden, who stepped down from his post, writing in his resignation letter that his fellow Tories were “distressed and disappointed”.

The by-election losses and the loss of a key Johnson loyalist, which come after the recent Partygate scandal, could now heap pressure on Johnson to resign as Prime Minister.

The crunch point for the embattled Tory leader may come in Autumn when MPs return from the summer recess, according to Lord Robert Hayward.

The Tory peer said no “plotting will come to the surface this side of the summer recess”, suggesting that some Tories are keeping their plans to oust Mr Johnson low-key.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “Despite Oliver Dowden’s resignation, I don’t think any plotting will come to the surface this side of the summer recess.

“We have only got three weeks to go. So, unless there is some other major event…

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“Although politicians always plot. But unless another minister resigns, I don’t think anything will come to the surface before the summer recess.

“So, I am not saying he is safe. What I am saying is, I do not think events will turn before the summer recess.

“But nothing in politics is ever certain.”

Lord Hayward is one of the Tory party’s top political analysts, who is known for advising campaign chiefs and prime ministers.

The pollster underlined the gravity of the situation facing Mr Johnson, claiming that his advisers should stress to him how serious the events of the last 24 hours are for his own leadership and the Tory party.

He said: “I think his advisers should make absolutely clear to him that this is not just two more events, and you pass on.

“But his inclination will be to say, ‘These are events and I now move on’.”

As voters in Devon and Yorkshire headed to the polls yesterday, Mr Johnson was thousands of miles away in Rwanda.

The Prime Minister flew out to the East African nation for a Commonwealth summit in the capital Kigali.

His visit came after the Government defended its controversial policy to remove asylum seekers from Britain and send them to Rwanda.

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However, Downing Street claimed this was not the focus of the Prime Minister’s trip to the country, insisting that he would instead be concentrating on sustainability, climate change and girls’ education.

Last week, the inaugural flight of asylum seekers was stopped from leaving the UK after an intervention by the European Court of Human Rights.

The block on Mr Johnson’s asylum plan followed a string of other setbacks for the Tory leader.

The week before, the Prime Minister narrowly survived a confidence vote in his leadership by Tory MPs.

A total of 211 MPs voted for Mr Johnson to remain in office, compared to 148 votes against him.

Despite the scale of the Tory rebellion against his leadership, Mr Johnson claimed it was an “extremely good, positive, conclusive, decisive result”.

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