A Conservative MP has pressed ‘send’ on a letter of no confidence in Boris Johnson while sitting opposite the prime minister at a parliamentary committee.
Huw Merriman wrote to Mr Johnson on Wednesday to tell him he believed he had failed “in terms of judgment, competency and integrity” and that he should resign.
His letter was posted online at 3.41pm, while Mr Merriman was siting in a meeting of the Liaison Committee opposite Mr Johnson.
Tom Peck, the The Independent‘s sketchwriter, who attended the committee hearing in person said: “Huw Merriman’s sitting opposite me at the liaison committee.
“Pretty sure he actually looked Johnson in the eye when he pressed send on this.”
In the letter, the Battle and Bexhill MP said he had always “expressed grave concern about the events and culture at Number 10, which demonstrated that there were serious issues with the judgement, decision-making and accountability” there.
Noting that he had wanted to see whether “lessons had been learnt” after the Partygate affair, he added: “Events of the past few days, however, have demonstrated a further failure on the part of the prime minister, in terms of judgement, competency, and integrity. This tells me that lessons have not been learnt.
“We cannot continue like this. This current situation is causing inertia in government and if we allow standards expected of those in public service to fall, we will lose the trust of the public and we will never attract high calibre, trustworthy, and hard-working individuals into politics or public service.”
Mr Merriman added that he now believed the prime minister’s position was “untenable”.
The MP, who chairs the transport committee, used his questions to the prime minister to suggest that “inertia in No 10” was slowing progress on deploying crucial policies like road pricing, which had been “sat on for three months”.
Mr Johnson said the claim was “nonsense”.