MP urges Johnson’s ‘immediate' departure from Downing Street

Aiken had ‘quit as Tory party vice-chair in February’

Friday, 8th July — By Tom Foot

Nickie Aiken

Nickie Aiken with colleagues

THE Cities of London and Westminster MP urged Boris Johnson to leave Downing Street “immediately” and said the next Conservative leader must have a better moral compass.

Nickie Aiken, who was first elected in Mr Johnson’s landslide 2019 victory, told Extra yesterday (Thursday): “Integrity, probity and trust must be at the heart of our politics and it’s been clear for some time that Boris Johnson has lost the trust of the people. I think he is right to step down. Personally I believe he should go immediately.”

Mr Johnson said he would stay until a new leader was found after making his resignation speech outside Downing Street yesterday at 12.30pm.

Ms Aiken revealed this week how she quit as vice-chair of the Conservative party in February in protest at Mr Johnson’s conduct.

Last month she had called on Mr Johnson to put himself forward for a vote of confidence to “end speculation” over whether he should stand down.

Mr Johnson survived a vote but his position was severely weakened.

On Tuesday she wrote a letter to constituents withdrawing support for Mr Johnson altogether.

Nickie Aiken

It said: “I have been unhappy with the prime minister’s conduct for some time.

“Following the investigations into conduct in Downing Street during the lockdowns, it is clear that trust in both the government, the Conservative party and politics more widely has been seriously damaged.

“And, further to the mishandling of serious allegations made against the former deputy chief whip, I strongly believe now is the time for a new leader of the Conservative party and that the prime minister should step down.”

She also wrote to the chair of the 1922 backbench committee, Sir Graham Brady, informing him of her views and also how and why she had quit the vice-chair role.

Ms Aiken was elected in the election that saw Mr Johnson win a huge majority in the House of Commons.

Mark Field had stepped down as MP for Cities of London and Westminster citing opposition to Mr Johnson’s position on Brexit. The former minister had been suspended earlier that year after forcefully frogmarching an environment activist out of a black-tie event.

Despite a charge from the Liberal Democrat Chuka Umunna and Labour’s Gordon Nardell, Ms Aiken breezed into the Commons with 39 per cent of the vote.

She was the next day pictured standing close to a bullish Mr Johnson in the official photograph of all the newly-elected MPs.

Mr Johnson yesterday blamed the string of resignations from Conservative ministers on a “herd” mentality.

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