Black Country red wall MPs back Boris Johnson and call on Tories to pull together

Conservative MPs with narrow majorities in the Black Country have backed the Prime Minister and called on the party to "pull together" amid calls for him to resign.

Stuart Anderson defended Boris Johnson in the Houses of Parliament. Photo: BBC
Stuart Anderson defended Boris Johnson in the Houses of Parliament. Photo: BBC

Boris Johnson has come under intense pressure over several alleged lockdown rule-breaking parties including a "bring your own booze" event in Downing Street which he attended in May last year.

Some Tory MPs elected to 'red wall seats won from Labour in 2019 are said to be orchestrating a plot to oust the PM, known as the "pork pie plot" with one member dramatically defecting to Labour ahead of Prime Minister's Questions.

However as the inquiry led by Sue Gray into the rule breaches continues and pressure mounts on Mr Johnson to resign, two Black Country MPs who were both elected to marginal seats in 2019 have backed Mr Johnson and called for the party to show some unity.

Stuart Anderson, MP for Wolverhampton South West, told the BBC: "I've not been in any of those meetings and I would not be invited to those meetings, because I'm very focused on supporting the Prime Minister and moving forward.

"Yesterday, I called for unity across our party, a level head and a think this and move forward. Fighting amongst ourselves will not get us anywhere. I don't know the details of any of those meetings, but nobody wants to see that – we need to move forward together behind the Prime Minister.

"There's never going to be any good time for us with a vote of no confidence. I don't agree with it and I don't think it's the right way forward. We've got to wait for the outcome of the inquiry. It would be daft to say what that is going to be, because nobody knows at this stage at this time.

"I certainly will not be putting a letter in and all the colleagues I'm speaking to this morning, they are not looking to do that either."

Boris Johnson came under heavy fire at PMQs. Stuart Anderson can be seen leaning forward on the second row behind him, two down from West Bromwich West MP Shaun Bailey, wearing the Union Flag mask

Christian Wakeford, who won Bury South for the Conservatives in 2019, defected to the Labour Party and called on the Tory leader to quit on Wednesday.

It came ahead of a bruising PMQs where the Prime Minister faced repeated calls to resign including from former cabinet minister David Davis.

Mr Anderson said the defection of Mr Wakeford was disappointing and said it would also be frustrating for the constituents who voted in a Conservative MP, but added he was confident the party could win the seat back.

He said: "It's been very hard for my intake, we've come in and dealt with Covid, not had your traditional role as an MP because of all the restrictions, and how we've had to work under intense pressure. I've had constituents write to me in Wolverhampton and they are very upset by this and they've got a right to be.

"You don't want to be hearing this and we want to be focusing on what's right for our constituents and my constituents in Wolverhampton. The Prime Minister has continually delivered and I want to see that continue."

The former soldier said it would be "daft" to write-off Boris Johnson from bouncing back from the party issue and leading the party at the next election – saying the Prime Minister's vision and drive helped the 2019 intake of MPs get elected.

The Wolverhampton MP added: "Last Thursday I went out very clearly backing the Prime Minister for the next general election – he is the right person for this country, he has continually delivered with Brexit, he's taken us through Covid and I want to go into the next general election knowing we have a strong vision for our country and the Prime Minister is the only one who is going to deliver that vision."

Nicola Richards, MP for West Bromwich East, also expressed her support and made clear she was not among the recently-elected MPs considering a rebellion.

She added: "I agree with my Black Country colleague. The PM helped win us seats like mine, he got Brexit done and has pulled us through the pandemic.

"We at least owe it to him to wait for the report before making any judgements about the future."

West Bromwich West MP Shaun Bailey and Wolverhampton North East MP Jane Stevenson, who were also both elected to former Labour seats in 2019, are yet to comment.

Marco Longhi, who was elected for the Tories to Dudley North in 2019, has not responded to requests to comment this week but has remained a vocal supporter of Boris Johnson and retweeted a message from Stuart Anderson which urged MPs to "get on with the job".

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