Boris Johnson’s “third-rate” cabinet has been branded too “cowardly” to remove him from office.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has called the PM’s top team among the “weakest in modern history” and accused them of putting Mr Johnson’s career ahead of the national interest.
His intervention comes after more than 40% of Tory MPs failed to back the Prime Minister in a vote of confidence this week – prompting calls for ministers to step in and oust their leader.
Speaking exclusively to Metro.co.uk, Sir Ed also predicted a “summer of discontent” and – amid talks of a future coalition with Labor – hinted that the Lib Dems could achieve much in opposition.
Sir Ed suggested the Cabinet would use “every excuse” to fail to fulfill its “patriotic duty”, saying: “You certainly don’t have the courage or the conviction to stand up against a Prime Minister who would have done it before months gone.
“They are spineless … they do not serve the national interest – they put the interests of Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party ahead of those of the country and that is unacceptable.”
After checking the names of Nadine Dorries, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Priti Patel and Dominic Raab, Sir Ed continued: “These are people that many previous Conservative Prime Ministers would never have dreamed of bringing into their Cabinet and I think that is one part of the problem.
“It is one of the weakest cabinets in modern history.”
The Lib Dem leader condemned the ministers as “frankly third rate” and also said that after the prime minister’s lawbreaking and the Partygate saga they had failed the British people by not forcing him to resign.
“They won’t do it because they are too cowardly and lack political standing,” he argued.
But Sir Ed claimed two upcoming June 23 by-elections could “change everything”.
He believes that if the Tories do poorly in Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton it will put further pressure on Mr Johnson.
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But it’s unclear how that would lead to Mr Johnson’s ouster – unless Tory MPs force a rule change allowing them another vote of confidence on his leadership, or Cabinet ministers act.
Sir Ed warned the minister that voters could kick them out if they didn’t.
He aimed directly at the deputy prime minister and goaded: “The Liberal Democrats are after your seats, and I would say that to Dominic Raab in particular.”
But when asked what a loss in the Tory general election would mean for the next government, Sir Ed refused to be asked whether he would form a coalition with Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour.
The Lib Dem leader, who served as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in David Cameron’s coalition government, stressed: “My focus is on electing as many Liberal Democrat MPs as possible and defeating as many Tory MPs as possible.
“That will ensure the removal of Boris Johnson and the Tories from power.”
When asked whether he would rather be in government or opposition, Sir Ed replied: “I have been in opposition in a number of parliaments where we managed to get ours because we have a significant number of Liberal Democrats MPs had to translate political priorities into law and action.
“You don’t have to be in government – that’s the most important thing I want to get over with – we don’t have to be in government to make policy.”
He identified the climate crisis and the mental health crisis as one of his party’s top priorities.
When the Lib Dems were last in a coalition, the party faced years of electoral backlash over the controversial tripling of tuition fees – leaving many graduates in excess of £50,000 in debt and now facing soaring interest rates.
But Sir Ed refused to say the move was a mistake, arguing instead that current students need better maintenance grants.
Elsewhere, he blamed the Prime Minister directly for the travel chaos at UK airports that was hampering the summer holidays and suggested previous transport ministers had resigned over the matter.
“I think the country is in for a summer of dissatisfaction,” he argued.
“It’s the cost of living crisis… but it’s also the NHS and care crisis and now the travel and holiday crisis…
“People who have been desperate for a holiday after the Covid pandemic will not even be able to go on holiday because this government is so hopeless.”
Metro.co.uk has reached out to the Government for comment.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/09/boris-johnsons-cabinet-is-spineless-and-cowardly-lib-dem-ed-davey-16797680/ Boris Johnson's cabinet is 'spineless and cowardly' - Lib Dem Ed Davey