Boris Johnson’s attempted coup attempt by Tory MPs infuriated by Partygate row has raised suspicions among the Prime Minister of India and Chancellor Rishi, who is his favourite successor.

Johnson spent the weekend trying his best to win support from calling weaker MPs from Chequers, while Sunak was establishing his place amongst the Pork Pie Plotters who would like to see the Prime Minister removed from Downing Street.

Shortly after Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday – when Mr Johnson endured the defection to Labour of one of his MPs, Christian Wakeford, and a call for his resignation from former Cabinet Minister David Davis – Mr Sunak met rebel ringleaders from the Red Wall constituencies won from Labour in the 2019 General Election.

As part of what was interpreted as a drive to reassure the plotters that he would be as generous as Mr Johnson with regional funding, a source said they were reassured that their constituencies would receive ‘unlimited’ Treasury support, adding: ‘He didn’t mention the leadership, but he didn’t have to – he made clear that they would be safe in his hands.’ 

The attempted putsch against Boris Johnson by Tory MPs angered by the Partygate row has renewed suspicions between the Prime Minister and Chancellor Rishi Sunak (pictured), who is the favourite to succeed him

The attempted putsch against Boris Johnson by Tory MPs angered by the Partygate row has renewed suspicions between the Prime Minister (pictured) and Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who is the favourite to succeed him

Boris Johnson was threatened with a coup by Tory MPs, angered at the Partygate row. This has rekindled suspicions about the Prime Minister (right), and Chancellor Rishi (left), who are the favorites to succeed him.

The challengers fail to meet their goals says the rebel U-turned 

Anna Mikhailova Mail on Sunday’s Deputy Political Editor

A Conservative MP who last week withdrew a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister accused the would-be leadership contenders of ‘falling short’.

The MP told the Mail on Sunday Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, the two frontrunners to succeed Boris Johnson, have not been convincing on their commitment to ‘levelling up’.

The MP submitted a letter to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs, the previous week after becoming angry with the Prime Minister over repeated revelations of parties at Downing Street and the Government’s handling of the scandal.

The Tory MP warned colleagues considering submitting letters of no confidence: ‘They should be very careful we don’t end up jumping out of Boris’s frying pan and into Rishi’s free market fire.

‘Rishi and Liz have been showing a lot of leg that they are more about free market, which means less investment. This threatened levelling up for constituents if you are an MP in an area of deprivation.’

To trigger a confidence motion, 54 letters are required. The Pork Pie Plot is a collective of elected MPs who submitted letters to a coordinated bid last week.

But momentum stopped after Christian Wakeford defected from Tory to Labour. According to reports, seven No-confidence Letters were withheld by Tory MPs.

He said that Johnson still seemed more likely to honor previous promises to his constituencies. 

The source said Mr Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, his main leadership rival, had texted the rebels within hours of Mr Johnson’s hangdog interview with Sky News on Tuesday in which he sighed and mumbled about his Government’s travails.

Mr Johnson’s Cabinet allies, led by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, are battling to save his Premiership as Downing Street braces for the publication of the official report into Partygate – and for the potential sparking of an explosive leadership contest. 

Ms Dorries – a die-hard Johnson loyalist – uses an article in today’s Mail on Sunday to condemn the ‘attention-seeking behaviour’ of rebel Tory MPs who have been trying to muster the 54 letters of no-confidence needed to trigger a Commons vote on removing the Prime Minister from office.

Ms Dorries, describing them as a ‘small minority’ devoted to ‘chasing airtime and column inches because they are determined to remove our most successful PM since Margaret Thatcher from office’, warns that the rebels risk jeopardising the country’s recovery from the pandemic. 

She writes: ‘When historians look back, the UK’s vaccine rollout will be seen as one of the most successful peacetime operations in history – thanks to Boris.

‘He also took the decision to hold out against another lockdown this winter in the face of intense pressure and doom-laden predictions from Labour. What number of businesses could be saved by this decision? How many millions of people were enabled to have Christmas with their families?’

The Culture Secretary adds: ‘Of course there have been mistakes. The last two years have been hell for everyone, and for those working 18 hours every single day after day for weeks on end in the Downing Street war rooms, lines clearly became blurred.’

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is also playing a key role in bolstering support, along with other members of Mr Johnson’s 2019 leadership campaign team.

No 10, who fears that Sue Gray’s report on Partygate, a senior civil servant, could land Thursday. This will trigger a flurry more letters to Sir Graham Brady (chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee) and an explosive Commons battle. 

ustralian Foreign Minister Marise Payne (L) and British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (R) arrive for Australia-United Kingdom Ministerial Consultations (AUKMIN) talks at Admiralty House, in Sydney, Australia, 21 January 2022

Marise Payne (left) is the ustralian Foreign Minister. Liz Truss (R), British Foreign Secretary, arrives for Australia-United Kingdom Ministrial Consultations (AUKMIN), at Admiralty House in Sydney (Australia), 21 January 2022

Bury South constituency MP Christian Wakeford speaks during a visit by Labour's Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Rachel Reeves on January 20, 2022 in Bury, Englan

Christian Wakeford, Bury South’s MP speaks to Rachel Reeves, Labour’s Shadow Chief Chancellor of Exchequer on January 20, 2022 in Bury.

‘Conspiracy’ MP takes nanny on Commons trip to Ukraine 

According to Tory MP, she was at the center of plotting against Boris Johnson. She took her child and nanny to Ukraine on a Commons committee visit.

Alicia Kearns, her baby girl of 11 months and a nanny were with her on the three-day visit by the foreign affairs committee to Afghanistan. They were concerned about the possibility that more than 100,000 Russian soldiers might invade the country.

ON FRONT LINE: Alicia Kearns

ON FRONT LINE: Alicia Kearns

The fact-finding trip included a visit to the eastern Ukraine ‘front line’ that had apparently been shelled by Russian-backed forces two weeks earlier.  It is believed that the baby’s nanny and her mother stayed in an apartment about 90 minutes away from the front.

Ms Kearns (34), has previously been a vocal critic of MPs bringing babies to the Commons Chamber.

She said: ‘Babies have no place in the chamber. I’ve asked to leave debates to feed my child a few times – I have never been turned down.’

The Commons paid all the bills, but Ms Kearns who was still breastfeeding her child, accepted the offer to pay for any additional expenses.

This isn’t the first time that an MP has brought her child on a Commons trip abroad.

Luciana Berger was the MP for 2019 and took her six month-old son with her on an international health committee business trip.

Mr Johnson’s allies say he will fight any attempt to topple him, but if a majority of his MPs vote against him the Tory party will be plunged into its second leadership contest in under three years. 

Numerous MPs were known to have prepared their letters to send in to the office in case of a damning report.

The Tory strategists fear that Mr Johnson will narrowly win a confidence vote, and stay on the party’s payroll. This could lead to a slow death spiral for the party. The rules would protect the Prime Minister from any further challenges for one year.

This attempted coup has sparked infighting among rival Tory MPs’ camps, with whips being accused of trying to intimidate the rebels using heavy handed tactics and the threat of making sex-related allegations.

A MP claimed that it had been hinted at that he might be exposed as gay, and another was warned that the allegations of sexual harassment would be made public. The third one was faced with strongly denied allegations of sexual relationships with men prostitutes. One has threatened to release a recording of a whip’s threats.

William Wragg (backbencher) said that Downing Street tried to blackmail rebel MPs yesterday. Downing Street denied that it has seen evidence of Wragg’s allegations.

Chris Bryant (chairman of the Commons Committee on Standards) said that about 12 Tory MPs claimed whips threatened them with withdrawing funding. Following PMQs, Mr Johnson’s MPs were confronted by rebel ringleaders at the Commons Tea Room. One, who was described as a ‘traitor’ for joining a meeting of 18 Red Wallers in the office of Rutland and Melton MP Alicia Kearns, bluntly told his accuser: ‘Just f*** off.’

The same brutal treatment was also given to Pro-Johnson MPs. Stoke-on-Trent North MP Jonathan Gullis, one of a few Red Wallers to back the Prime Minister on MPs’ WhatsApp groups, was ridiculed for a TV interview in which he claimed letters were being withdrawn – but admitted he didn’t know by whom or how many.

The rebels – dubbed the Pork Pie Plotters because Ms Kearns’s constituency is home to Melton Mowbray pies – said dismissive references to them by Johnson allies as ‘f****** nobodies’ and ‘ungrateful rookies’ had made them more determined. ‘After hearing that, I would crawl across broken glass to put in my letter,’ said one.

If all 54 letters are received Mr Sunak or Ms Truss along with potential candidates such as former Health secretary Jeremy Hunt will be ready to run.

Early signs suggest that MPs are coalescing behind Mr Sunak, although one who has been courted said: ‘My impression is that Liz wants to go for it now, while Rishi would prefer for all this fuss to die down and run in the summer.’          

NADINE DORIES: The attention-seeking behavior of MPs can sabotage the incredible achievements Boris Johnson’s and Britain’s. 

By Nadine Dorries, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport of the United Kingdom writing for the Mail on Sunday

In this newspaper, I was the first to endorse Boris for Prime Minister 10 years ago. I stated that he was a winner with a strong track record.

At a time when the party, under David Cameron’s leadership, was consistently trailing behind in the polls, Boris won the London mayoral election – twice.

In December 2019, he had the force of personality to secure a majority of more than 80 and win those important ‘Red Wall’ seats, some of which we had never taken before.

My colleagues and I spent last week chasing column inches and airtime because we are trying to get rid of Margaret Thatcher’s most successful Prime Minister.

It keeps coming up with the same old names.

Last week, sadly, a small minority of my colleagues spent their time chasing airtime and column inches because they are determined to remove from office our most successful Prime Minister since Margaret Thatcher, writes NADINE DORRIES

Unfortunately, last week, only a few of my colleagues were able to chase airtime and column inches as they wanted to take out our most successful Prime Minster since Margaret Thatcher.

Concerning allegations of whips threatening behavior, I cannot imagine the vapours that some of these people would have absorbed during long nights and days of the Maastricht election in 1993 when party machinery was at its peak to ensure a pro EU majority.

Our whips office’s recent depiction is outdated and mostly fiction. Lurid claims by MPs that they have lost funding for constituencies are farfetched. The truth is that Whips have no control over what money goes where.

After 17 years as an MP – and one who is no stranger to the odd rebellion – I can honestly say the worst reaction I ever had from a whip was disappointment.

The attention-seeking behavior these MPs display risks overshadowing the achievement of Britain’s PM.

There really is ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, as the World Health Organisation declared last week. After two extremely difficult years, the United Kingdom is on the verge of returning to normal life again – thanks to the Prime Minister, who has led from the front, furiously championing the booster rollout campaign.

Both in private and public, he has repeatedly stated that there’s only one way to get rid of Covid. That is to abandon all vaccines.

He has proven to be right.

Because of his laser focus and absolute determination to get the job done, January 26 marks the end all Covid restrictions.

Numerous other countries continue to live in the shadows of the virus. Germany is one example. It has strict regulations for bars and restaurants.

We are, in the meantime, emerging into the light with one the fastest-growing European economies. Today, there are more workers than ever before the pandemic.

Our country was the first to give a vaccine against Covid using a tested jab. Why?

The Prime Minister took a calculated gamble and tried every possible solution.

Boris Johnson was able to see the future and make a decision.

A solid conviction during crisis is what makes leadership possible.

The UK had already delivered over 20 million vaccines by the end February. France had less than five millions.

When historians look back, the UK’s vaccine rollout will be seen as one of the most successful peacetime operations in history – thanks to Boris.

In the face of the doom-laden forecasts from Labour and intense pressure, he decided to resist another winter lockdown.

He didn’t listen to armchair epidemiologists and he decided to go all out on leather by launching the booster mission.

It was then that an astonishing one million people presented themselves to be jabbed. We fought against Omicron together, under his leadership.

What number of businesses have been saved? What number of millions were able to celebrate Christmas with their families this year? 

Yes, there were mistakes. It has been a hellish two-year period for everybody. For those that worked for up to 18 hours a day in Downing Street war rooms for many weeks, the lines became increasingly blurred.

Sue Gray’s report will deal with this and hopefully set recommendations for the future.

Despite the distractions, Government’s fast-paced work is still focused on bringing about change in areas that have been neglected for too long. In my own department, we have plans to speed up the broadband revolution, with a £5 billion rollout of ‘gigabit’ networks now gathering pace across the country.

We’re on the side of hard-working households, freezing the BBC licence fee for two years, and have already begun work to discover a new and fairer way of funding the Corporation. We have truly uplifting and historic moments to look forward to in 2022, including the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

No other British monarch has reached the milestone of a 70-year reign, and we’re making great progress on plans for a four-day blockbuster weekend of street parties, with the very best of British pomp and pageantry.

We will host the Birmingham Commonwealth Games a few months later. These games are the most successful in history with over one million tickets sold.

The few of my coworkers who are still agitating against their leader I ask to name another politician who could drive Brexit forward and turn this country from the pandemic to strong recovery.

This year promises to bring us liberation. We came very close to it in 2012. That was when Boris became the mayor of the Olympics. This year, we feel energized by the Olympics and are filled with pride.

He was a winner then and, as he has proven throughout the pandemic, he’s still our winner now.