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What is the ‘pork pie plot’? MPs’ plan to oust Boris Johnson explained, and will PM face a no confidence vote?

A number of MPs from the 2019 intake are said to be furious with the Prime Minister’s handling of the Downing Street parties scandal

Boris Johnson could face a no confidence vote amid reports that the 54 letters needed from Conservative MPs could be received on Wednesday (19 January).

A number of MPs from the 2019 intake - many of whom have slim majorities - are said to be furious with the Prime Minister’s handling of the partygate scandal.

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They are reportedly preparing to submit their letters of no confidence to the chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs, Sir Graham Brady.

Here we take a look at what the so-called ‘pork pie plot’ is, who has publicly called for the Prime Minister to resign and what could happen next.

What is the ‘pork pie plot’?

Tory MPs who won seats in the ‘Red Wall’ - a number of constituencies in northern England that had typically voted Labour until the 2019 election - met on Tuesday (18 January) to discuss Mr Johnson’s future.

The gathering was nicknamed the “pork pie plot” or the “pork pie putsch” because one of the MPs who reportedly attended the meeting was Alicia Kearns.

She is the MP for Rutland and Melton - with the latter being famous for its pork pies.

One of the politicians who attended that meeting told The Daily Telegraph that the 15% of letters needed to trigger a challenge could be reached on Wednesday.

Who has called for the Prime Minister to resign?

A total of seven Tory MPs have publicly called for the Prime Minister to resign.

Bury South MP Christian Wakeford – who has a majority of just 402 – became the latest to call for Mr Johnson to go on Tuesday (18 January).

However, the plot to oust the Prime Minister is thought to be far wider.

Mr Johnson is said to have spent Tuesday evening in his Commons office meeting with potential rebels over their anger with the scandal.

Why are a number of Tory MPs calling for the Prime Minister to resign?

A number of Tory MPs are said to be furious at the Prime Minister’s handling of the partygate scandal engulfing Westminster.

They were reportedly angered further by Mr Johnson’s insistence that nobody had told him a party at Downing Street would break rules he himself had set.

He appeared in a major broadcast interview on Tuesday and apologised multiple times for the “misjudgments that were made”.

Mr Johnson’s former chief aide Dominic Cummings has thrown that claim into doubt after he said he would “swear under oath” that the Prime Minister was told about the bash.

Asked if he had lied to Parliament over the parties as he visited a north London hospital, the PM told broadcasters: “No. I want to begin by repeating my apologies to everybody for the misjudgments that I’ve made, that we may have made in No 10 and beyond, whether in Downing Street or throughout the pandemic.

“Nobody told me that what we were doing was against the rules, that the event in question was something that… was not a work event, and as I said in the House of Commons when I went out into that garden I thought that I was attending a work event.”

What could happen next?

An inquiry into Westminster parties, led by senior civil servant Sue Gray, is expected to be published on either Friday or early next week.

Many Tory MPs are reportedly said to be waiting for Ms Gray’s findings before deciding whether to submit a letter to Sir Graham.

The chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs needs 54 letters for it to trigger a no confidence vote. Only Sir Graham knows how many letters have been received so far.

If that number is reached, Conservative MPs will have to vote on whether they have confidence in the Prime Minister.

Mr Johnson would need 50% or more of MPs to back him or he would lose his job.

If the Prime Minister wins any potential no confidence vote, MPs will be barred from forcing another vote on his premiership for 12 months.

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