‘In the name of God, go’: Former Brexit minister David Davis turns on Boris Johnson

David Davis in the House of Commons: “I expect my leaders to shoulder the responsibility for the actions they take.” Photograph: AFP via Getty Images

Boris Johnson has been told by a former minister and senior Tory MP to “in the name of God, go” as he lost one of his newest MPs in a dramatic defection to Labour minutes before prime minister’s questions began on Wednesday.

Mr Johnson went into the House of Commons with his premiership on life support due to the scandal over lockdown parties at Downing Street, as a group of Tories who won their seats in the 2019 election landslide appeared to have lost faith in their boss.

But the anger levelled at the PM was not contained to just one wing of the Conservative Party, with former minister and Tory grandee David Davis telling Mr Johnson: “You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. In the name of God, go.”

“I spent weeks and months defending the prime minister against often angry constituents and I reminded them of his success in delivering Brexit, vaccines and many other things,” the former Brexit minister said. “But I expect my leaders to shoulder the responsibility for the actions they take.”

It came after Christian Wakeford, the MP for Bury South who has a majority of just 402, announced minutes before the prime minister arrived in the Commons that he had defected to Labour, accusing Mr Johnson of being “incapable of offering the leadership and government this country deserves”.

Mr Johnson apologised once again for the partygate saga which threatens to be the death knell for his time as prime minister.

But he said it was for senior official Sue Gray’s inquiry “to come forward with an explanation of what happened”, as he indicated the report would be published next week.

To trigger a leadership challenge, 54 of the 360 Conservative MPs in parliament must write letters of no confidence to the chairman of the party’s 1922 Committee.

As many as 20 Conservative MPs who won their seats at the last national election in 2019 plan to submit letters of no confidence in Mr Johnson, the Telegraph reported. A handful of others have already said they had written such letters.

An analysis by The Times newspaper showed that 58 Conservative lawmakers had openly criticised the prime minister.

Mr Johnson on Tuesday denied an accusation by former adviser Dominic Cummings that he had lied to parliament about a lockdown party, saying nobody had warned him the “bring your own booze” gathering might contravene Covid-19 rules.

“As he waded through the empty bottles and platters of sandwiches – he didn’t realise it was a party? Does the prime minister realise how ridiculous that sounds?” Labour leader Keir Starmer told parliament. “Every week, the prime minister offers absurd and frankly unbelievable defences to the Downing Street parties, and each week it unravels.”– PA/Reuters