Minister asked whether she could submit no confidence letter after PM announced election

A minister asked a meeting of Tory MPs whether it was still possible to submit a letter of no confidence in the prime minister after he announced the election, Sky News understands.

Sky’s political editor Beth Rigby revealed in her Electoral Dysfunction podcast that health minister Dame Andrea Leadsom made the query at the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs yesterday.

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Dame Andrea declined to comment when contacted by Sky News, saying “1922 Committee meetings are private”.

File photo dated 08/10/19 of Member of Parliament for South Northamptonshire Andrea Leadsom who has been awarded a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for political service in the Queen's Birthday Honours list. Issue date: Friday June 11, 2021.
Dame Andrea Leadsom is a health minister. Pic: PA

Hours after Rishi Sunak announced there would be an election on 4 July, Beth Rigby reported there were considerable discussions on Conservative WhatsApp groups about whether there was still a route to stop a general election.

She told the podcast MPs are “really unhappy” with the timing of the vote, with some texting her saying it was “absolute madness”.

One minister, she says, told her the letters were already going in again for a vote of no confidence in the PM, indicating the election was called “from a position of weakness”.

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Meanwhile, former leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson criticised those plotting against the prime minister.

“This group of people are being such paper tigers,” she told the podcast.

“At any other point that they could have stepped in to really do something, to think they can now do a rear-guard action to stop a general election once Pandora is out of the bloody box.”

Campaigning kicked off on Thursday, with the prime minister embarking on a two-day tour of the four nations.

Email Beth, Ruth, and Jess at electoraldysfunction@sky.uk, Tweet Beth @BethRigby, or send a WhatsApp voice note on 07934 200 444.

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