Boris Johnson told ‘in the name of God, GO’ by top Tory David Davis in bruising PMQs

 BORIS Johnson today insisted he won't resign as he faced a skewering from Keir Starmer at PMQs over the worsening "Partygate" scandal.

Minutes before he got to his feet in the Commons the PM was rocked by the news of a Tory MP defecting to Labour amid a growing plot to oust him.

Boris Johnson faced a PMQs mauling today
Boris Johnson faced a PMQs mauling todayCredit: PA
Boris was rocked by the defection of a Tory MP to Labour moments before PMQs
Boris was rocked by the defection of a Tory MP to Labour moments before PMQsCredit: Reuters

Christian Wakeford, a 2019 Red Waller representing Bury South, sensationally defected in a hammer blow to No 10.

In a lengthy parting shot he said the PM is "incapable of offering the leadership and government this country deserves".

In interviews later he said defecting was "the most difficult decision I have ever had to make".

And in a devastating double-whammy veteran former Cabinet minister David Davis used his speech to MPs to call on Boris to resign.

To a ruckus in the Commons, he said: "I’ve spent weeks and months defending the PM against often angry constituents.

"I’ve reminded them of his success in delivering Brexit, the vaccine, and many other things.

"I expect my leaders to shoulder the responsibility for the actions they take. Yesterday he did the opposite of that."

He told the PM: "You have sat there too long, for all the good you have done. In the name of God, go."

The last line was a quote from Tory MP Leo Amery as he called for wartime premier Neville Chamberlain to quit in May 1940. 

Mr Davis, an ex Brexit Secretary, is the most senior Conservative sitting in the Commons to have urged the PM to resign.

At the time the PM replied that he didn't "know what he's talking about" but he later hit back: "I haven't sat here long enough, nothing like long enough."

Boris was tonight defended by health secretary Sajid Javid, who praised his record in handling the pandemic.

Speaking at a No 10 press conference, he said: "I fully support the Prime Minister.

"It's important to me and to the country that he's come to the House to apologise."

Asked if he'd fancy a tilt at the Tory leadership, Mr Javid added: "We have a leader. We have a Prime Minister.

"The Prime Minister is busy delivering for this country. He's delivered on Brexit, he's delivered on jobs, he's delivering on fighting this pandemic.

Boris faced jeers as he entered the chamber and immediately had to fend off questions calling on him to go.

Asked first up if he was going to quit, the PM said: "No, but I apologise sincerely for any misjudgements that were made."

A contrite Boris later added: "I entirely understand people’s feelings and I entirely support obeying the rules when you make the rules."

It comes as...

To laughing and cheers from the Labour backbenchers Sir Keir then immediately stuck the knife in over No 10 parties.

Welcoming Mr Wakeford to the Labour benches, he said: "Like so many people up and down the country he has concluded that the PM, the Conservative Party, have shown themselves incapable of offering the leadership this country deserves.

"Every week the PM offers absurd and frankly unbelievable defences to the Downing Street parties and each week it unravels."

Boris was drowned out as he said people must wait for the inquiry into the bashes being carried out by top civil servant Sue Gray.

But to cheers from Tories he then added: "The Conservative party won Bury South for the first time in generations under this PM with an agenda of uniting and levelling up and delivering for the people of Bury South.

"And we will win again in Bury South at the next election under this Prime Minister."

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Boris also said he was "proud" of the work his staff in No 10 have done on fighting the pandemic.

He said: "Throughout the pandemic people across Government have been working flat out to protect the British public."

And in a barb at Sir Keir he suggested the Labour leader "tell the House" about pictures of him drinking a bottle of beer with staff last May.

During the powder keg session the Commons Speaker had to repeatedly intervene and threaten to throw out raucous MPs.

The PM has faced another hellish week of No 10 party revelations that have left him clinging to power by his fingernails.

Ahead of a stormy PMQs there were increasingly loud rumours that a challenge to his leadership is imminent.

And there has been chatter that backbench Tories are getting close to submitting the 54 letters that would trigger a no confidence vote in the PM.

Efforts to oust him are being led by a group of 2019 intake MPs, mostly from vulnerable Red Wall seats that are being targeted by Labour.

They are known as the "pork pie plotters" because one of the ringleader, Alicia Kearns, represents the town of Melton Mowbray.This morning a dire new poll shows the Tories are on course for a wipe out in many of the Northern and Midlands seats they seized two years ago.

An AJL Partners survey for Channel 4 found the party would lose 42 of the 45 constituencies it gained in 2019 if an election were held now.

The PM's personal rating has collapsed amongst voters in Red Wall seats and now sits on a shocking minus 35.

Today a junior minister admitted that he can "sympathise" with the rebels, and said the No 10 party scandal has made everyone angry.

Armed forces minister James Heappey, a former parliamentary private secretary to the PM, even acknowledged the PM's excuses "sound absurd".

But he suggested Boris may have been let down by staff who didn't "have his back" when they let him attend the No 10 garden bash unawares.

He said: "I think everybody in Government, everybody in Parliament, is acutely concerned about what has happened and the reaction of the public.

"Our boss is not the Prime Minister. Our boss is those who send us to Westminster to represent us and they are furious at what they have heard.

"So it doesn't surprise me in the slightest that every single member of the Government, every single member of the party, is balancing those two loyalties."

Sir Keir Starmer targeted the PM on what he knew about No 10 parties
Sir Keir Starmer targeted the PM on what he knew about No 10 partiesCredit: Sky News
Tory MP Christian Wakeford defected to Labour minutes before PMQs
Tory MP Christian Wakeford defected to Labour minutes before PMQsCredit: pixel8000
David Davis urged the PM to resign in a shock Commons speech
David Davis urged the PM to resign in a shock Commons speech

Asked whether he had sympathy with 2019 MPs who were "battered on the doorstep" by constituents, Mr Heappey said: "We all were.

"I have sympathy with every colleague because this is not easy.

"This is extraordinarily difficult and my mail bag is like theirs, all our mail bags are like this."

He revealed that he has received more than 500 letters from constituents about the PM's behaviour.

And he added: "The overwhelming majority - at least nine in 10, if not 19 in 20 - are absolutely furious and cannot understand how all of this has happened."

"I choose to believe what the Prime Minister has said. But I know that that's not good enough for many of my constituents."

PM in crisis

Mr Heappey said it was possible Sue Gray's report into the parties could find Boris misled parliament.

He added: "Ministers know when they stand pat the despatch box they need to be accurate with their language. I sincerely hope the PM was."

The No 10 party scandal has sparked the biggest crisis of Boris' premiership and has seen the Tories slump in the polls.

Yesterday leading pollster Sir John Curtice warned the PM is unlikely to ever fully recover from the scandal in the eyes of the public.

Boris is hoping to get his premiership back on track today by announcing the good news that all Plan B restrictions are being binned.

No 10 is pinning its hopes on highlighting Boris' record on Covid to get him through the growing storm.

The Cabinet this morning signed off on plans to scrap working from home guidance, vaccine passports at mass events, and mandatory mask wearing.

That went further than expected, with many anticipating rules on face coverings for public transport on shops would stay a little longer.

And speaking in the Commons the PM even suggested that all remaining Covid measures including mandatory self-isolation are set to end in March.

Boris Johnson apologises for parties at Downing Street on the eve of Prince Philip's funeral

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