Tory MPs have warned they will lose the election if they drop Boris Johnson

Tory MPs have been warned they risk losing their seats if they drop Boris Johnson in the lead.

Despite the Prime Minister’s current unpopularity, which saw him booed by voters as he arrived for the Platinum Jubilee thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday, a government source said that he remained “an election-winning machine”.

Mr Johnson is battling demands from his own MPs for a vote of confidence in his leadership, which could come as early as next week.

More than 40 Tory MPs have openly called for his impeachment, with at least 17 submitting letters of censure to the chairman of the 1922 backbench committee, Sir Graham Brady, who is to call for a vote if the total reaches 54.

The publication last month of Sue Gray’s report into the Partygate scandal sparked a flurry of new letters, and Mr Johnson’s supporters fear pressure for his removal could intensify if the Tories lose the by-election in Wakefield and Tiverton & Honiton on June 23.

Addressing the I newspaper, a senior government source said none of the potential alternative Tory leaders had the same ability as Mr Johnson to attract voters in the ‘red wall’ constituencies of the Midlands and North seized from Labor in 2019 .

“If you throw Boris, you blow up the red wall,” the source said. “He’s the only leader that keeps it together.

“The mandate given to Boris in 2019 was broad and it reaches parts of the country that no Tory leader has had for a generation.

“This is a huge, huge call, two years from an election, to tell an election-winning machine that time is up.”

The source also said Mr Johnson was better placed than his potential replacements to defend the traditionally Tory ‘blue wall’ seats under pressure from southern and rural Liberal Democrats.

“Boris has shown that he understands the traditional blue wall sensibility and it will be important for him to then want to prove it and show it,” the source said.

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Edward L. Robinett