Wed. Apr 17th, 2024
alert-–-rishi-sunak’s-shock-honours-‘is-an-election-ploy-to-thwart-tory-plotters-and-keep-conservative-mps-in-line’Alert – Rishi Sunak’s shock honours ‘is an election ploy to thwart Tory plotters and keep Conservative MPs in line’

Rishi Sunak was last night accused of using a surprise Easter honours list as part of a ploy to keep his MPs in line.

The Prime Minister triggered renewed speculation of a summer election with a list of new gongs slipped out on Thursday night.

Backbenchers said they believed the move was meant as a threat to those plotting to oust him that he was prepared to call a vote, scuppering their chances of mobilising and forcing them to fight for their jobs.

It comes after it emerged that MPs on the Right of the party held talks with moderates about uniting behind Penny Mordaunt to replace the Prime Minister before the country goes to the polls.

The plotters discussed the possibility of crowning Ms Mordaunt the new leader if the PM faced a confidence vote in the coming weeks. This would be triggered by 53 MPs submitting letters of no confidence to 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady.

Rishi Sunak was last night accused of using a surprise Easter honours list as part of a ploy to keep his MPs in line

Rishi Sunak was last night accused of using a surprise Easter honours list as part of a ploy to keep his MPs in line

On Thursday, Mr Sunak rewarded Mohamed Mansour (pictured), who gave £5million to the party last year, with a knighthood. Pictured in 2016

On Thursday, Mr Sunak rewarded Mohamed Mansour (pictured), who gave £5million to the party last year, with a knighthood. Pictured in 2016

The list also included honours for four Tory MPs who have been loyal to the PM, including Philip Davies, husband of Esther McVey. Pictured: The married couple presenting their GB News show together

The list also included honours for four Tory MPs who have been loyal to the PM, including Philip Davies, husband of Esther McVey. Pictured: The married couple presenting their GB News show together

On Thursday, Mr Sunak rewarded Mohamed Mansour, who gave £5million to the party last year, with a knighthood. The list also included honours for four Tory MPs who have been loyal to the PM, including Philip Davies, husband of Esther McVey.

READ MORE: Could Rishi Sunak gamble on a summer election? Fevered speculation arises as some Downing Street aides warn the Prime Minister the fragile Tory truce may not hold

But the fact that the honours came outside of the traditional New Year and King’s birthday lists sparked speculation about a summer election, with Labour claiming it was the action of ‘someone who doesn’t expect to be Prime Minister much longer.’ 

Tory backbenchers said it was also a warning he’s prepared to ask the King for Parliament to be dissolved early.

Government sources did not rule out an election as early as July, but said the ‘working assumption’ was that it would take place in the autumn.

One senior Tory MP said: ‘Any talk of an earlier election is about unsettling MPs who may want to be plotting. There are people who want a change, and if there’s a suggestion of going early then it’s going to be a problem for them to get organised.’

Another backbencher added: ‘It’s a way of saying, ‘Mess me about and you can face a straight-away election that no one is prepared for.’

A third MP said: ‘The backbenchers would try to depose him if he tried to go early.’

Government sources said the timing of the gongs was linked to the need to make appointments to the Privy Council, including new Welsh First Minister Vaughan Gething.