Speculation mounts on Melton MP’s involvement in plot to oust Prime Minister

There is mounting speculation this morning (Wednesday) that Melton MP, Alicia Kearns, is part of a backbench Conservative campaign to oust Prime Minister Boris Johnson over his handling of the reporting of drinks parties being held at 10 Downing Street when the country was under Covid lockdown restrictions.

By Nick Rennie
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 9:05 am
Updated Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 9:21 am
Alicia Kearns, MP for Rutland and Melton, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson shortly after she was elected in 2019 EMN-220119-090055001
Alicia Kearns, MP for Rutland and Melton, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson shortly after she was elected in 2019 EMN-220119-090055001

National newspapers and the BBC have dubbed the initiative, the ‘Pork Pie Plot’, because of the involvement of Mrs Kearns and her constituency being the home of the iconic pies.

The Melton Times has contacted her office on the matter but we have been told she is not commenting on it at present.

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg has reported that a group of around 20 MPs who were elected in 2019, including Mrs Kearns, were reported to have met a number of times with a suggestion that they will submit letters of ‘no confidence’ on the leadership of Boris Johnson after Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons this lunchtime.

A total of 54 such letters would be needed to trigger a leadership election within the party.

Ms Kuenssberg also writes, however, ‘For her part, colleagues say Ms Kearns has been unfairly targeted and that she’s not leading any rebellion’.

The Conservative-leaning Telegraph also reported that Mrs Kearns was said by party loyalists to be a key figure in leading the plot against Mr Johnson but they quoted her as saying she ‘was not leading a rebellion’.

Mrs Kearns is known to be unhappy about the revelations over a drinks party in May 2020 at Downing Street attended by more than 30 staff members during lockdown and which Mr Johnson has admitted he attended for a short period.

She posted on her Facebook page last week: “I know that residents feel let down, and angry at these latest allegations. I feel the same.”

Mrs Kearns added in the post: “Residents will be unsurprised by my position that lawmakers should not be lawbreakers, and the Party is well aware of my views on the totally unacceptable allegations, particularly from a time when I know how very difficult the restrictions on our lives were for all of us.”

Many Tory MPs are said to be waiting for the publishing of Sue Gray’s independent investigation into a string of lockdown parties at Downing Street during the height of the Covid restrictions at a time when people were barred from meeting others when large gatherings were banned to prevent further spread of coronavirus.

Mr Johnson has admitted at being at one gathering in the garden at Number 10 in May 2020 but yesterday he insisted he was not warned it was a drinks party and that it breached rules in place at the time, despite accusations from his former adviser Dominic Cummmings that he was briefed beforehand it would not be a good idea to attend.

The Prime Minister has also been accused of lying to Parliament about what he knew about a string of other parties at Downing Street during the pandemic.