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How Kent Tory MPs have reacted to news Boris Johnson faces a vote of no confidence

Kent's Conservative MPs have been asked whether they will back Boris Johnson to remain as Prime Minister in a confidence vote this evening.

The county's 16 Tory representatives have all been approached by KentOnline about what they intend to do after it was revealed this morning that Sir Graham Brady had received enough letters to trigger the process.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: PA
Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: PA

This evening, Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti revealed on Twitter that he had supported the Prime Minister in the secret ballot.

Speaking ahead of the vote, Ashford's Damian Green kept his cards close to his chest.

He responded: "I will put out a statement after the vote, so I’m going to wait until then to comment."

Others were more forthright in their response, confirming they intend to back the PM.

Damian Collins, who represents Folkestone and Hythe, said: "Boris Johnson received an overwhelming majority from the British people just over two years ago, to lead our country as Prime Minister.

Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins has expressed his support for Boris Johnson
Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins has expressed his support for Boris Johnson
Natalie Elphicke MP is backing Boris Johnson
Natalie Elphicke MP is backing Boris Johnson

"He has my full support to carry on with the job."

Dover MP Natalie Elphicke tweeted: "Boris Johnson has delivered Brexit, the vaccine, got us out of Covid first, led the way in backing Ukraine and is providing unparalleled support to tackle the cost of living crisis.

"Boris Johnson delivers for the British people, time & again. Tonight, I will be backing Boris."

Faversham MP Helen Whately also made her position clear with a tweet.

She wrote: "I will be voting in support of @BorisJohnson this afternoon.

Faversham MP Helen Whately is backing Boris in the confidence vote
Faversham MP Helen Whately is backing Boris in the confidence vote

"He steered us through the pandemic, set us on the path to recovery & stood up to Putin in Ukraine.

"In 2019 he won a mandate to lead our country.

"We live in tough times & now is the time to get on with the job."

In his weekly column for the Thanet Extra, South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay suggested he also backs Mr Johnson. He said: "I have been critical of many aspects of current policies. I’m not at all happy at what went on in Downing Street but more so at many initiatives that to me are not particularly Conservative – on tax policy, and most notably on energy policy.

"That’s the way of the world, that’s my right as a backbench constituency MP, that’s the broad church of the Conservative Party. Whilst I was at the forefront of activity to remove Theresa May as Prime Minister, that threshold has in no way been reached.

"We need a return to steady and effective government and to consider again the impeccable service offered by the Queen over these past 70 years and get on with the job."

Meanwhile, Dartford's Gareth Johnson and Sittingbourne and Sheppey's Gordon Henderson have also said they would be supporting Mr Johnson to continue as PM.

North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale, who is among the more outspoken MPs when it comes to the Prime Minister, says it is time for him to go.

Thanet North MP Sir Roger Gale says it's time Boris Johnson goes. Picture: Tony Flashman
Thanet North MP Sir Roger Gale says it's time Boris Johnson goes. Picture: Tony Flashman

He said there could be a leadership contest during the summer recess with a new leader in place by the time of the party conference.

"That is what I hope and expect," he added.

The vote will take place between 6pm and 8pm today, with the count to take place immediately afterwards.

In order for the Prime Minister to lose, the rebels will need 180 MPs.

Analysis from political editor Paul Francis

So, can we expect the removal lorry be parked up outside Downing Street or will Boris see off his critics and prevent a political gazumping?

While we won’t know the outcome until this evening, what we do know is that many Conservative MPs have their doubts that Boris is the electoral asset he was and now consider him a liability.

The simmering discontent over partygate has not been fully resolved and if there is one thing that voters dislike, it is politicians who say one thing and do another.

It is even more damaging when politicians break the very laws they are asking others to comply with regardless of whether by accident or design.

While the PM has not exactly come out smelling of roses over partygate, we can expect his cabinet colleagues to say that now is not the time to switch horses mid-race because it would be destabilising, disruptive and damaging.

On the other hand, his critics will say that his leadership will be dogged by claims that he misled not just MPs but voters and that will taint his reputation and increase mistrust of politicians.

What matters most in today’s ballot is the numbers - if the scale of any rebellion does not meet the threshold for a leadership contest but is nonetheless significant, the party will face a dilemma.

The rules say that no further challenges can be made for a year and who knows what else may be uncovered that could damage the leader.

The stakes are about as high as they could be. The question is will MPs stick or twist?

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