Boris Johnson is hours away from a vote of confidence but he appeared in “optimistic” mood when he hosted Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas this afternoon.
Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of Backbench Tory MPs, announced that he had received more than 54 letters asking for a vote this morning.
Several senior Tory MPs have already refused to back the prime minister, including former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who may have his eye on the leadership position himself.
But a number of key allies at home and abroad, including Ms Kallas, backed Mr Johnson this afternoon.
In paragraph 10, Ms Kallas said: “We were great allies in NATO and we are very grateful for the British troops in Estonia and also that you doubled them during the war.
“I also thank you for the great leadership in the fight against Ukraine and for giving her all the help she needs.
“I think Britain has been a very leading voice on the world stage so the moral compass would be correct in that regard, so thank you for that.”
Mr Johnson was supposed to greet Ms Kallas at the door to Number 10 but opted to receive her inside instead.
Other Tory allies such as Jacob Rees-Mogg said a single vote would be enough for the Prime Minister to continue despite the damage to his position if a major revolt took place.
The secret ballot will take place tonight between 6pm and 8pm, with results announced at 9pm.
This is not a new problem for the Prime Minister as a steady stream of Tories have called for his resignation in recent months.
But after the release of the Sue Gray report, which reveals the extent of lockdown violations, enough MPs could trigger the vote of confidence.
The rebels need 180 MPs to oust Mr Johnson, but Mr Johnson has made it clear he is determined to fight for the job.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/06/boris-johnson-in-upbeat-mood-ahead-of-crunch-confidence-vote-16779209/ Boris Johnson in 'optimistic' mood ahead of Crunch confidence vote