‘In the name of God, go’: what did David Davis say to Boris Johnson - Tory MP urges prime minister to resign

Former Brexit secretary and Conservative MP David Davis uses Leopold Amery quote to Neville Chamberlain in attempt to force UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to step down at PMQs

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Embattled Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced a resignation call from Conservative former minister David Davis.

Mr Davis was among many who asked the Prime Minister to go during a heated PMQs.

Embattled Mr Johnson was consistently questioned over the Downing Street party scandal during the session on Wednesday.

What did David Davis say?

Former Brexit secretary and Conservative MP for Haltemprice and Howden David Davis called for the Prime Minister to resign.

Mr Davis told Boris Johnson he had spent weeks defending him from “angry constituents”, including by reminding them of the “successes of Brexit”.

He said: “I expect my leaders to shoulder the responsibility for the actions they take. Yesterday he did the opposite of that. So, I will remind him of a quotation which may be familiar to his ear: Leopold Amery to Neville Chamberlain.

“You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. In the name of God, go.”

Responding to Mr Davis’s calls to resign, the Prime Minister said: “I must say to him, I don’t know what he is talking about.

“What I can tell him – I don’t know what quotation he is alluding to – what I can tell him is and I think have told this House repeatedly, I take full responsibility for everything done in this Government and throughout the pandemic.”

David DavisDavid Davis
David Davis

Who are Leopold Amery and Neville Chamberlain?

Leopold Amery, who died in 1955, was a British Conservative journalist, politician, and member of numerous Cabinets. He was known for his opposition to appeasement, a policy which was pursued prior to the Second World War by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.

Chamberlain, who was Prime Minister from May 1937 to May 1940, lost the support of many Conservatives in the House of Commons after the failure of a British expedition to Norway in April 1940.

Amery was best known for the remarks he made to his colleagues during a debate in the House of Commons on 7 May 1940. His speech was said to be key to the division of the house the next day which led to the Prime Minister being forced out and replaced by Winston Churchill. Churchill is said to be a hero of Mr Johnson’s, and he actually penned a biography about him.

During his speech in the Norway debate on 7 May Amery attacked Chamberlain’s government and said the words quoted on Wednesday by David Davis.

The quote itself was originally used by Oliver Cromwell in 1653.

In the aftermath of Amery’s speech the debate led to 42 Conservative Members of Parliament voting against Chamberlain and 36 abstaining, leading to the downfall of the Conservative government and the formation of a national government under Winston Churchill.

Neville Chamberlain waving from at window of 10 Downing StreetNeville Chamberlain waving from at window of 10 Downing Street
Neville Chamberlain waving from at window of 10 Downing Street

What has been the response to what was said?

Treasury Chief Secretary Simon Clarke has brushed off a call by David Davis for Boris Johnson to resign as Prime Minister. He also said he disagreed with Christian Wakeford, the Tory MP who defected to Labour.

Mr Clarke said Mr Johnson was focused on leading the country out of the Covid pandemic.

“The Prime Minister was very clear we will get on with the job of getting the country through the pandemic,” he told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One.

“I disagree very strongly with David Davis, I disagree very strongly with Christian Wakeford.

“The priority now is to make sure that this country which has, like much of the world, gone through such difficult times in the last two years is now in a position to come out of the pandemic really strongly. We have the strongest economic growth in the world.

“I am fully supportive of the Prime Minister.”

What else was said in PMQs?

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer asked Prime Minister Boris Johnson when he first became aware that any of his staff had “concerns” about the gathering in the Downing Street garden on May 20, 2020.

Sir Keir said: “Not only did he write the rules, but some of his staff say they did warn him about attending the party on May 20, 2020.

“Now, I have heard the Prime Minister’s very carefully crafted response to that accusation. It almost sounds like a lawyer wrote it. So, I’ll be equally careful with my question. When did the Prime Minister first become aware that any of his staff had concerns about the May 20 party?”

Mr Johnson replied “it is for the inquiry to come forward with an explanation of what happened”, adding: “I am afraid he simply must wait.”

Meanwhile leader of the SNP in Westminster, Ian Blackford said this week was “supposed to be operation Big Dog but it’s very quickly become operation dogs dinner.”

“Will the Prime Minister finally take responsibility, resign, go, Prime Minister.”

Mr Johnson referred to the inquiry - as he had done throughout PMQs, into the alleged gatherings held at Downing Street during the Covid restrictions, being headed up by Sue Gray, replied: “No, but I thank him for his question again and let me just remind him that there’s an inquiry that is due to conclude. I believe he is wrong in what he asserts, but we’ll have to wait and see what the inquiry says.”

This article will continue to be updated

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