Conservative Party MPs and ministers are losing confidence in Boris Johnson as the coronavirus crisis continues, it has been reported.
BBC Newsnight reported that some Tory backbenchers and government ministers believe the prime minister will be ousted during this parliament.
The programme’s political editor, Nicholas Watt, said on Monday evening he had spoken to a number of disgruntled members of the party.
He said one backbench Conservative MP had said of Johnson: “Where is he? Where’s his leadership?
“I don’t think he’ll survive this parliament.”
Watt added that “some ministers” are also predicting the same thing.
“Confidence in [Boris Johnson’s] premiership is beginning to ebb away in the Conservative Party.”— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) September 21, 2020
Political Editor @nicholaswatt talks to @maitlis about the changing mood in the Conservative Party as the Prime Minister prepares to announce new Covid restrictions 👇#Newsnight https://t.co/AjqCFXQDuJ
On Tuesday, Johnson will outline plans for pubs, bars and restaurants in England to close by 10pm from Thursday.
The new curfew comes after the UK’s COVID-19 alert level was raised to four, meaning transmission is "high or rising exponentially".
On Monday, the government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said the number of new daily cases will reach 50,000 by mid-October if no action is taken.
This would, in turn, lead to 200 new daily deaths a month later in mid-November, he said.
Watch: These are some of the most important moments from the COVID-19 briefing
There is growing anger among the Tory ranks at how the government has handled the coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday, the government was warned it could face “backbench resistance” if it tried to force through a second lockdown without proper scrutiny in parliament.
Conservative MP Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the powerful Tory backbench 1922 Committee, said ministers had “got into the habit of ruling by decree”.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The British people are not used to being treated like children.”
The government continued to be criticised by its own MPs in the House of Commons on Monday, when health secretary Matt Hancock faced a barrage of questions.
Tory MP Pauline Latham said of Hancock: “Could he explain to the prime minister that we actually live in a democracy not a dictatorship and we would like a debate in this House?”
Sir Graham asked Hancock: “Does he further agree with me that political judgments are improved by debate and scrutiny?”
Hancock replied: “Yes, I do, and I do come to this despatch box as often as possible. The more scrutiny the better is my attitude.”
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