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'Like when Labour knifed Blair' – MP says Tories made 'huge mistake' in ousting Johnson

Michael Fabricant has likened the Tory decision to get rid of Boris Johnson to Labour's "knifing" of Tony Blair.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking during the confidence debate on Monday night

The Lichfield MP, who remained loyal to Mr Johnson while he was forced out of office, said his party would rue the decision in the years ahead.

Speaking in a confidence debate on the Government, Mr Fabricant said Mr Johnson had "got the big calls right" on Brexit, Covid, and the war in Ukraine.

"I think we have made a huge mistake in making him stand down," he said. "I personally believe that our party is making the same mistake that the Labour Party made when they knifed Tony Blair."

Dudley South MP Mike Wood also praised the Prime Minister during the debate, saying he had lead international support for Ukraine and spearheaded the country's successful vaccine programme.

"The Prime Minister has many achievements of which he should be proud," Mr Wood said.

"His successor will have a strong foundation to build on, thanks to the decisions that he has taken over the past three years."

Stone MP Sir Bill Cash said the Government had succeeded where Labour "would have completely failed miserably".

He said thanks to Mr Johnson's efforts on Brexit, "the essential foundations of sovereignty and democracy have now been re-embedded in our national DNA".

"This success cannot be taken away from the Prime Minister, and it never will be when the history books are written," he added.

Marco Longhi, Conservative MP for Dudley North, accused Labour of playing "silly games" and said Sir Keir Starmer's party "would have had us in lockdown throughout the whole of Christmas and beyond, destroying more jobs, destroying more businesses and harming lives".

West Bromwich West MP Shaun Bailey said he had "lived under the alternative" to a Tory government in "socialist Sandwell", where "dodgy land deals" and "backhanders" took place with "no scrutiny".

He said: "Labour promised that it would get a grip on this, and it did not. So when Labour Members sit there and talk about standards in public life, I tell them to come to Sandwell. Come to Sandwell.

"If Members want to see the horror that is the alternative, we can show them." He also hit out at Sandwell Council for failing to apply for government funding.

Sir Keir has called for Mr Johnson to quit immediately rather than stay on until the completion of the Tory leadership contest.

"Now is not the time for Downing Street to be occupied by a vengeful squatter, mired in scandal," he said.

The Government won the vote 349-238, a majority of 111. Number 10 had called the vote of confidence in itself after it rejected a Labour motion targeting Mr Johnson.