In the Bashundora curry house in Sutton Coldfield on Thursday, senior true blue Conservatives unanimously gave a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister.
The seat, which has been Conservative since its inception in 1945, and has returned MPs who have served as government ministers and party chairmen, is one of the party’s headlands. But even here, the mood of the public and the party have turned against Boris Johnson.
All those in attendance, officers of the seat’s Conservative Association, were disappointed with the Prime Minister and “thought his time was up”, according to one source, following multiple reports of parties in Downing Street.
Councillor Simon Ward, who was in attendance at the event, held before the revelations about the Number 10 parties before Prince Philip’s funeral, said that “the culture starts at the top”.
Less than three years previously, Sutton Coldfield was the first port of call for Boris Johnson following the first leadership hustings between himself and Jeremy Hunt in Birmingham, where he met 400 activists and was the overwhelming choice for the area as Prime Minister.
In the subsequent election, the Conservatives took nine seats from Labour in the West Midlands, cementing what has become one of its strongholds in the UK.
Late last year, things began to change, after the seat in North Shropshire, previously held by Owen Paterson was lost to Liberal Democrats – their only seat in the area – following a drawn-out scandal over sleaze and lobbying.
Following the stories about parties in the heart of Government, the public mood has turned against the Prime Minister in other areas of the West Midlands.
In Dudley North, one of those seats won by the Conservatives in 2019, Diana Thacker said on Friday: “I voted Conservative, I’ve always voted conservative. I don’t know if I would vote for them again though.”
One market trader added: “He should resign. The invitation said “bring your own beer. He knew it was a party.”
‘One rule for them, and one for us’
Several people in the market town repeated the line that the Labour party has trumpeted from the airwaves following every scandal, that it is “one rule for them, and one for us”.
Jason Perry, 43, a business owner, who voted Conservative in 2019, said: “It’s shocking, especially the party during the first lockdown. He needs to resign, really.”
“I couldn’t see my family. I was on the fence about Boris Johnson but this is definitely a shove in the other way.
“All my friends and family think it’s shocking too.”
The feeling of constituents has not been lost on the MPs that represent them, feeling that the actions of the Prime Minister’s staff and the man himself are linked.
One West Midlands MP said: “Can you imagine under either Gordon Brown or Mrs Thatcher or Mrs May, Downing Street behaving in this way? It shows you that the culture all comes from the top.”
Another said that Conservative activists in his constituency conducted a poll amongst themselves where 65 per cent said that Boris Johnson should resign.
“That Barnard Castle field trip was a really, really sort of seminal moment.
“After that, what was blindingly obvious was that the country was really, really angry.
“Anything that was done after that, I think just shows contempt for, for the feelings of people.
“When you know how angry people are and carry on arsing around, then that’s contemptuous, rather than just bad judgment.”
PM’s own constituency turns against him
Even in Boris Johnson’s backyard, people in his Uxbridge constituency felt that the Prime Minister was on his way out.
“He’s got to go,” said Harjinder Ahluwalia, a retiree in her sixties. “He’s been telling porkies.”
In the town centre is a Boots vaccination clinic that Mr Johnson visited on Monday. Outside the clinic, a 24-year-old nurse told of her anger at the recent revelations of lockdown partying in Number 10.
In the spring of 2020, the period in which the pictures were taken, she had been working 14-hour shifts on the mental health ward of Hillingdon Hospital. She had had to treat psychotic Covid patients, one of whom bit her, and had contracted dermatitis from constantly wearing PPE.
Unlike many of her colleagues, the nurse voted Tory in 2019. “I kept quiet about it and I won’t do it again,” she said, explaining that she and her colleagues felt betrayed by Mr Johnson. “When Boris was in hospital the nurses looked after him, but he’s not looking after us.”
Henry Allum, a 60-year-old mechanical designer, condemned the partying that took place the night before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral. “That picture of the Queen,” said Mr Allum of the image of the monarch sitting alone as she mourned her husband, “was heartbreaking.”
Whether the Conservative grassroots will take action is yet to be seen, with one Conservative Association chairman telling the Telegraph that although there was no vote tabled for the next meeting, “I have no doubt that if there were a vote it would pass”.
In 2019, 70 Conservative associations voted in a vote of no confidence against Theresa May, triggering a vote involving the chairmen of every Conservative association in the country, but was forced to resign before the vote could take place.
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( Information from telegraph.co.uk was used in this report. To Read More, click here )