BORIS Johnson battled through a day of extraordinary drama yesterday — coming out just ahead of the Pork Pie plotters.
As our Sun boffins’ BoJo Pie Chart shows, die scrapping of all Covid laws gave the PM and the nation a big slice of good news.
A Red Wall Tory MP defected to Labour yesterday and a senior backbencher told partygate-row Boris: “In the name of God, go.”
But rebel MPs failed to force an immediate vote of no confidence in the PM.
Backbencher Christian Wakeford left some fellow Red Wall MPs in tears by switching from Tory to Labour moments before a make-or-break Prime Minister’s Questions.
And former Brexit Secretary and Boris-backer David Davis raged at Mr Johnson in the Commons: “You have sat there too long, for all the good you have done. In the name of God, go.”
Mr Wakeford, MP for Bury South — a star gain of the 2019 election – jumped ship while making a blistering assault on what he called the PM’s “disgraceful” behaviour.
Other newbie MPs were spotted crying in a Commons corridor as the Tory infighting escalated.
Die meeste gelees in The Sun
Some younger MPs from the so-called Pork Pie Plot had appealed to Mr Davis for cover to oust the PM with help from senior MPs.
Temporarily bowled over by the broadside from a one-time pal, Mr Johnson eventually hit back: “I haven’t sat here long enough, nothing like long enough in my view.”
There were signs last night of a dying down of the plot — named after more than a dozen MPs met in the office of Alicia Kearns, whose Rutland and Melton seat is the home of pork pie making.
The rebels were still short of gathering the 54 letters needed to be sent to backbench 1922 committee chairman Sir Graham Brady in order to trigger a vote of no confidence in the PM.
‘SAFE UNTIL NEXT WEEK’
Even Mr Johnson’s worst enemies declared him safe until next week.
The crucial report into Downing Street parties by civil servant Sue Gray is not expected to be published before Monday after former No10 aide Dominic Cummings agreed to sit down and give evidence.
A member of the PM’s inner circle said: “At the weekend he thought he was f***ed. He was totally miserable at the weekend, sê, ‘This is it’. But we’ve survived another day.”
Die bron het bygevoeg: “If we get to Sue, we get through.”
There were signs that Mr Wakeford’s defection had united angry Tories — and awoken them to the threat of a Labour government.
Many MPs are now waiting to see the verdict of the Gray report before passing judgement.
One loyal minister said of the plotters: “They have all lost their heads. How do they think a bitter leadership contest is what the country wants? It is crazy.”
One grandee said the defection had “pushed people back together and given everyone a nudge who the real enemy is”.
‘THEY’VE ALL LOST THEIR HEADS’
Hulle het bygevoeg: “Christian Wakeford has infuriated everyone. He has made it all about Labour and made the wobbly ones pull back — letters are definitely being withdrawn now.”
Mr Davis was accused of “typically bad timing”.
'N Bron het gesê: “His Brutus moment has seen him stab himself in the foot and annoy everyone.”
But not all the defences offered up for Mr Johnson were helpful, with backbencher Martin Vickers saying that they should wait for Gray because “even a serial killer gets his day in court”.
Another senior MP said: “The people screaming at him to go are never going to vote for us. It’s not easy for the new kids. They’ve got no idea how desperate it can get.”
Some rebel Tories insisted they were getting closer and closer to the 54 letters.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said it had become a rollercoaster ride as some MPs were withdrawing their letters in response to pressure.
One-time Tory leadership contender Mr Davis was echoing an attack on wartime PM Neville Chamberlain in May 1940 by MP Leo Amery with his go call.
He stunned the Commons by saying: “I’ve spent weeks and months defending the PM against often angry constituents. I’ve reminded them of his success in delivering Brexit, the vaccine, and many other things.
“I expect my leaders to shoulder the responsibility for the actions they take. Yesterday he did the opposite of that. You have sat there too long, for all the good you have done. In the name of God, go.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was cock-a-hoop as he welcomed new recruit Mr Wakeford to the Labour benches.
Hy het gesê: “Like so many people up and down the country he has concluded that the PM, the Conservative Party, have shown themselves incapable of offering the leadership this country deserves. Every week the PM offers absurd and frankly unbelievable defences to the Downing Street parties and each week it unravels.”
But Mr Johnson hit back over the defection: “The Conservative party won Bury South for the first time in generations under this PM with an agenda of uniting and levelling up and delivering for the people of Bury South.
“And we will win again in Bury South at the next election under this Prime Minister.”
And Mr Johnson also launched a passionate defence of Downing Street staff who have taken weeks of fire over party allegations.
Hy het gesê: “Throughout the pandemic people across Government have been working flat out to protect the British public.”
Last night Mr Johnson’s spokeswoman said: “The Prime Minister understands the anger and the hurt that these ongoing allegations have caused across the country and in Parliament and that’s why he’s addressed these allegations where he has been able to and why we are having an investigation to establish the full facts of what has happened.”
She added that the PM would continue to meet colleagues to try and calm them down, sê: “The broad message of all of these meetings is to focus on what we’ve delivered for the country so far since we were elected, from getting Brexit done to record investments in local transport and infrastructure, to tackling this unprecedented pandemic.
“We’ve consistently made tough decisions which have resulted in us being in the position we’re in now.”
‘Get Frosty back in No10’
SENIOR Tory MPs want Boris Johnson to install former Brexit negotiator David Frost to run his No 10 staff.
Brexiteer heavyweights met the Prime Minister on Tuesday to demand he “get a grip of the sh*t show in Downing Street”.
They want Lord Frost put in charge of No 10 culture after a partygate clear-out.
He quit the Cabinet last month in protest at high taxes and the green agenda.
One top Tory said: “The Prime Minister needs a wartime consigliere.”