In a letter to Mr. Johnson, Mr. Wakeford said, “Both you and the Conservative Party as a whole have shown themselves incapable of providing the leadership and government this country deserves.”
Mr. Johnson’s earlier public appearances, including a television interview on Tuesday, not only failed to convince his internal critics but seemed to deepen the crisis. He showed more fight in Parliament on Wednesday, and again insisted he would not resign, but was still put on the defensive by the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, who mocked his shifting explanations about a party he attended in the Downing Street garden in May 2020.
Noting that Mr. Johnson had apologized to Queen Elizabeth II for parties held on the eve of the funeral of her husband, Prince Philip, Mr. Starmer asked, “Isn’t he ashamed he didn’t hand in his resignation at the same time?”
Mr. Johnson has struggled to sustain his argument that he did not mislead Parliament — an offense that could lead to a prime minister’s resignation — on the grounds that he thought he was attending a work event when, in May 2020, he joined several dozen staff members, drinking in the garden at the height of lockdown restrictions.
Understand Boris Johnson’s Recent Troubles
With polls showing that only a small minority of people believe that Mr. Johnson is telling the truth about the Downing Street parties, and with lawmakers fearing an electoral backlash, the pressure for a no-confidence vote is mounting. Because the process is secret, it is unclear how many lawmakers have sent letters calling for such an action.
So far, just seven lawmakers have said publicly that they have called for a vote and one of those was Mr. Wakeford. But on Wednesday, the BBC reported that a group of around 10 lawmakers who won their seats in Mr. Johnson’s landslide victory in 2019 had joined them. Many more have criticized him-in public.
To complicate matters, there is no single faction seeking to destabilize Mr. Johnson in the way that his predecessor, Theresa May, was forced from power in 2019. In her case, most of the plotting to oust her came from hard-line supporters of Brexit.