The Conservative rebel ringleader Mark Harper has warned Boris Johnson that he is facing a huge revolt from Tory backbenchers if he does not end all restrictions later this month.
Harper who is the chair of the lockdown-sceptic Covid Recovery Group said Johnson could face a further challenge if the Conservative Party does badly in May’s local elections.
These remarks come as almost half of Tory MPs believe that Rishi Sunak would make a better Prime Minister.
Harper warned that the rebellion against Johnson will be more devastating should he try to extend the measures beyond 26 January with mandatory mask wearing, working from home and Covid passes.
In December the Prime Minister suffered a large revolt as Tory backbenchers defied his Plan B request for restrictions and only made it over the line with the help of Labour votes in the Commons.
The Tory party took a a further battering as they lost their seat in the North Shropshire by-election to the Lib Dems.
Harper told Financial Times in an interview, “I think there will be even more people against it.
“I think the intellectual argument now is even weaker.”
Harper was asked by the Financial Times if he thought Johnson will be in trouble if he failed to change and the Tories performed badly at the local elections, he said, “I do.”
But he added, “It’s in his hands.”
Harper said colleagues would question if they will be able to hold their own constituencies, he added, “They will look at polling and consider who is the person best able to help them keep their seats.
“Conservative MPs have asked themselves that question in the past and decided they need to do something about it. Prime Ministers are on a performance-related contract.”