Senior party sources have told Express.co.uk the Prime Minister is “not out of the woods” in terms of his future being secure. But they have said it is not Partygate that is the problem but “a lack of direction and conservatism” in his Government policies.
One insider told Express.co.uk there was “huge disappointment” with the Queen’s Speech this week.
“It has nothing in it and he appears to have doubled down on the National Insurance tax rise to make things worse.
“We still have a lot of the nanny state nonsense interfering in people’s lives and, of course the deeply unpopular Net Zero goals which are suicidal for this Government.”
The feelings were shared by donors and Conservative MPs who are privately pushing for tax cuts and a radical change of direction.
The insider said: “Basically he has got until the conference [in early October] to prove that he is actually a [small c] conservative not just leader of the Conservative Party.
“If he doesn’t then it is likely he will be out.”
A number of Tory MPs were privately despairing about the Queen’s speech.
“We have a majority of 80 and we need to start governing as Conservatives,” one MP said.
“Where are the tax cuts? Where are the things to tackle the cost of living crisis? There was some nice bills on making the opportunities of Brexit but little else.”
With speculation growing over an early election in September or October, another MP said: “It felt like the sort of Queen’s speech before an election when a Government has run out of ideas.”
It is understood that some Northern Tory MPs are beginning to worry about the lack of detail on the levelling up agenda to hold on to the Red Wall seats.
A former party donor, who until recently supported more than 20 Conservative MPs but pulled funding because of anger over partygate, said: “The problem is that this is a tax raising government.
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“Boris has a Chancellor who actually believes in raising taxes when he should be cutting income tax, corporation tax, VAT and inheritance tax.
“This would actually bring in investment and grow the economy so the Exchequer would not lose out.”
He went on: “We are now on the verge of a recession after today’s GDP figures [down 0.1 percent] and that has been partly caused by the crazy decision to put corporation tax back up to 25 percent in three years.
“As a result companies are staying away from Britain and not investing.”
He added: “Why are they not behaving like a Conservative Government? We may as well have Labour in power.”
In a briefing to MPs seen by Express.co.uk another senior insider noted: “There seems to be this perception that we are out of the woods.
“Whilst the local elections were not as bad as expected, and the government has done a Sterling job in Ukraine, huge issues lurk over the next three months.
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“We had the Queen Speech – an opportunity to show what a post covid government with a majority of 80 can do. People were expecting big things, with extra pressure on the Government alleviating the cost of living crisis. If the solution to this problem is not put in motion, this will become the dominating issue once again.”
There was also continued speculation in it that Mr Johnson’s fate could be tied to Labour leader Keir Starmer (KS) who has said he will resign if fined over beergate.
If that happens calls for Mr Johnson to quit over fines for lockdown breaking parties in Downing Street will increase.
The briefing noted: “Then of course we have Keir Starmer (KS) and his impending issues. If KS resigns, where does that leave Boris?
“Can colleagues accept that two men issued with the same penalty can act in such different ways? Can the public?
“We are closer to the next election than the last. The test is simple: have we governed like conservatives? The next three months will answer this, and will determine whether there is a conservative government post 2024.
“If the answer is no, and we remain a high tax, nanny state government, embroiled in scandal, KS’s replacement, propped up by the SNP, will be our next leader.”