POOLE MP Sir Robert Syms said it would be “very difficult” for Boris Johnson to survive as Prime Minister after the Chancellor and Health Secretary resigned.
Shortly after Mr Johnson issued a statement apologizing for appointing Chris Pincher as Deputy Chief Whip, Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid announced their decision to step down from senior cabinet positions.
The resignations have put pressure on the Prime Minister just weeks after surviving a vote of no confidence.
Sir Robert told the Daily Echo: ‘Clearly there is still a lot of dissatisfaction with the way the Prime Minister is handling things and the only strength he has had so far is that he has kept his cabinet loyal to him, including Rishi who I think next week was going to make a variety of policy announcements.
“The fact that they left today makes it look like it will be very difficult for the prime minister to survive.
“He could still try to rename people and continue in the next week or two to get to recess, but it seems to me that if these two leave, everyone else who wants to run for leadership will probably be in. a position where they are given their positions also.
“It is very likely that this will cause change and we will have to see what happens over the next four or five days but Tory MPs are a bit schizophrenic, they want to see things resolved and they are little surprised at the speed at which things are going.”
Mr Pincher resigned as Deputy Chief Whip last week after he claimed he groped two men at a private club, but Mr Johnson was made aware of the allegations against him as early as 2019.
The Prime Minister admitted he should have sacked Mr Pincher when told of the allegations made against him when he was Foreign Secretary in 2019, but instead Mr Johnson continued to appoint him to other government posts.
Assessing today’s events, which began with a letter written by Lord McDonald saying Downing Street was not telling the truth about Mr Pincher, Sir Robert said: ‘Cabinet members have been put in a very hard.
“I happen to think that if there was a vote on leadership, he would still win today, but by a small majority.
“I think the promise that was made when he won the vote of confidence was that things were going to get better, we’re going to handle things better.
“There’s not much you can do with a situation like Chris Pincher because sometimes people don’t know what people are doing around you, but it just wasn’t handled very well.
“There have been different lines taken by Downing Street. No one knows exactly what happened and what didn’t. It undermines sensible government and sensible politics.
“Other ministers who want to make announcements are frustrated. Instead of being able to make announcements, they only get questions about the Prime Minister and his judgments.
“He could stagger a bit longer, but at the moment he looks badly hurt.”
Sir Robert added: ‘I thought when he won the vote of confidence which would settle things we would come to the summer recess and he would have the opportunity with the conference and the budget coming in the autumn to have a sort of reboot.
“It added to everything else and it’s like a straw that breaks the camel’s back. Something in itself is not a dramatic situation but it just reminds people that maybe the way the prime minister is running the country is not very efficient and he doesn’t seem to be in charge of the situation and he there were bad judgments.
“Ultimately, if you looked at the faces in the cabinet when the cameras came in earlier in the day, it looked like a pretty dark mood. Nobody smiled, was happy and joyful. I think for a lot of people in the cabinet they wanted the Prime Minister to succeed and I think a lot of them supported him, but here we are a few weeks later, going from trouble to trouble.
The resignations from the cabinet of MM. Sunak and Javid have put pressure on Mr Johnson’s premiership.
Asked who he would like to see lead the Conservative Party, Sir Robert said: ‘I would like to know how people act in this situation because I think some of those who have had the courage to step down will be better placed to come to power than others of those who cling to a sinking ship.
“We will have to see what the choice is. The Conservative Party has a lot of talented people and what will happen, if we get to a leadership race, there will be several people who put their hats in the ring and maybe someone s will inspire as a person to take the job and carry on.
“Some people who seem like they should inherit everything sometimes don’t and some of those who are not expected to emerge do.
“We’ll just have to see. It will be an interesting time and given that we still have almost two years left in Parliament, there is still time, if there was a change, for the government to rebuild, reset and keep winning (the general election).”