Prime Minister Rishi Sunak could be facing a Conservative leadership crisis, as up to 25 MPs could be set to hand in letters of no confidence to the 1922 Committee.
Two groups of disgruntled Tories – some of which are Boris Johnson’s allies and the remainder are moderate politicians – ‘want to get rid of the PM’, The Times has reported.
The loss of the two by-elections on Thursday were seen as the final straw for those wanting to topple the PM. He has also been warned he is ‘looking general election defeat in the face’ after Keir Starmer’s party overturned massive majorities in Tamworth and Mid Bedfordshire.
While Sunak faced a potentially growing challenge at home, he warned that the Israel-Hamas war risks unleashing a ‘contagion of conflict’ across the Middle East, during visits to Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
A Member of Parliament who spoke to The Times said it wasn’t clear who the rebels wanted to replace Sunak, but it was clear they wanted him out.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak could be facing a Conservative leadership crisis, as up to 25 MPs could be set to hand in letters of no confidence. Pictured working on the plane with his senior advisors on the way to Saudi Arabia
The 1922 Committee (pictured with Rishi Sunak) is a committee of all backbench Conservative MPs that meets weekly when the Commons is sitting
Sunak has been warned he is ‘looking general election defeat in the face’ after Keir Starmer (pictured with newly elected MP Sarah Edwards) overturned massive majorities in Tamworth and Mid Bedfordshire
The anonymous source said: ‘I told them I didn’t think the British public would forgive us for changing prime minister again and that it would likely hurt not help our electoral fortunes.’
Sunak will be hoping his response to Hamas’ deadly attacks in Gaza and West Bank – which saw more than 1,400 Israelis killed, the vast majority of whom were civilians – will prove him to be a competent leader and avert any growing conflict at home.
This comes as its revealed that Sunak intends to scrap his proposal to ban conversion therapy ban, following lobbying by MP Miriam Cates, who said it would ‘split the party and effectively put a Stonewall charter into law’.
During his visits, he said the leaders agreed ‘we need to do everything possible’ to prevent the spread of the war.
He said his two-day visit to the region demonstrated ‘that the UK stands in solidarity with them against terrorism’ and that ‘there can be no justification’ for the atrocities committed by Hamas.
‘I wanted to sit down with other leaders and talk face to face. Because in times of tension and division, it’s more important than ever to accelerate diplomatic efforts,’ he added.
He said the opening of the border crossing with Egypt to allow an aid convoy into the Gaza Strip was an example of what could be achieved.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak meeting with Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi on October 20
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets with Sunak at the royal palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Thursday
Sunak and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu hold a joint press conference in Jerusalem on Thursday
‘The reopening of the Rafah crossing into Gaza is testament to the power of diplomacy, with the US, Israel and Egypt brokering an agreement to ensure vital aid reaches the Palestinian people.
‘We’re working closely with Egypt to ensure that the UK plays our part in ensuring those Palestinians get the food, water and medicine they so desperately need.
‘The overwhelming view I got from everyone I spoke to this week was that we need to do everything possible to stop a contagion of conflict in the region.
‘We need to keep our aspirations for a more peaceful and stable future firmly in our sights as we work together to defeat the evil of terrorism.’