Prime Minister Boris Johnson before welcoming the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to 10 Downing Street. (Photo: Stefan Rousseau via PA Wire/PA Images)
A senior Tory MP has said he is “talking to colleagues” about whether they should dump Boris Johnson as Conservative leader.
Tom Tugendhat said they “need to focus on who is going to lead us into the future” after pictures emerged of the prime minister drinking at a party in Number 10 during lockdown.
The foreign affairs committee chairman told Times Radio: “I think it’s time for all of us to look at what this country needs.
“And you know, I think we should be pretty ruthless in our in our views, you know... I think it’s absolutely essential that whenever we come up to an electoral event, we look ahead, we look forward. What is the best answer for the United Kingdom?”
Tugendhat said the cost of living crisis means the country needed “seriousness” at the top of government.
He said: “It’s what keeps food prices down. It’s what keeps energy prices down. It’s what protects the British people. And I’m afraid these photographs just don’t look serious, do they?”
Asked whether Johnson should be replaced as PM, Tugendhat said: “This is something I’m talking to colleagues about today. And the reason I’m not giving you a yes/no answer is because this isn’t a binary question. It’s about a team...We need to focus on who is going to lead us into the future.”
Tugendhat is the latest senior Tory to make clear their dissatisfaction with Johnson since the partygate pictures were revealed.
On Monday evening, Steve Baker tweeted an NHS Covid campaign poster urging people to obey lockdown rules.
Baker, who was pivotal in bringing down Theresa May over Brexit, posted the image of a woman breathing through an oxygen mask with the message: “Look into her eyes and tell her you never bend the rules.”
Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross – another who had urged Johnson to go –demanded the prime minister explain why he believes his behaviour was “acceptable” when most will think the pictures “seem unjustifiable and wrong”.
His predecessor, Ruth Davidson, went further by saying Johnson should resign.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.