Downing Street launches a briefing war against Downing Street as Tories turn on each other

“There is a lot of concern inside the building about the PM … It’s just not working."

Boris Johnson scratching his head

Prime minister Boris Johnson’s authority is waning, with Tory MPs in open rebellion and now a senior Downing Street source launching an extraordinary briefing war against Downing Street.

In what was a torrid day for the prime minister, following a bizarre speech to business leaders at the CBI in which he stumbled over his words and ranted on about Peppa Pig, matters were made even worse as Johnson’s majority plummeted from 77 to just 26 as the he narrowly won the Commons vote on a controversial change to his social care reforms last night.

A total of 18 Conservative rebels voted against the government and 68 Tory MPs were absent. It comes after a Tory corruption scandal which saw Owen Paterson resign as an MP and increased scrutiny of MPs’ second jobs following Johnson’s disastrous attempt to let Paterson off the hook.

To cap it all off, an anonymous Downing Street source issued a scathing and extraordinary briefing against the prime minister’s top team to the BBC. They said: “There is a lot of concern inside the building about the PM … It’s just not working. Cabinet needs to wake up and demand serious changes otherwise it’ll keep getting worse. If they don’t insist, he just won’t do anything about it.”

A minister also told the Times that Johnson ‘looked dreadful today’ and that it was ‘indicative of the chaotic way the government is drifting’.

With a significant chunk of Tory MPs no longer willing to provide unconditional support for Johnson, and with more tricky votes still to come and with his stock among his parliamentary party plumbing to depths not previously seen, could it be a sign that Tory MPs are finally out of patience with Johnson?

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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