A UK Government minister has attacked MPs in his own party calling on Boris Johnson to resign, saying they never accepted him as their leader.

Northern Ireland Minister Conor Burns criticised his Tory colleagues as pressure mounts on the Prime Minister over illegal lockdown parties in Downing Street.

“There are a number of colleagues across Parliament who have never really supported the Prime Minister,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“If the Prime Minister stepped off Westminster Bridge and walked on top of the water they would say he couldn’t swim. That is a fact.

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“The reality is that it is is only two years ago since we won a majority of 80 seats, the biggest majority since Margaret Thatcher in 1987.

“What the Prime Minister is saying is ‘I led you to that victory, I have got business I want to do’.

“What he has also said is that the events in Downing Street and the fine has actually redoubled his determination to rebuild the bonds of trust with the British people.”

It comes as Tory MP Tobias Ellwood said the onus is on his party's MPs to force a change in leadership.

He said “we must stop drinking the Kool-Aid” by supporting Johnson as leader.

Speaking on Sky News, the former defence minister said: “All MPs are deeply troubled by what the party is now going through and what to do next, given the huge credit you must give to Boris Johnson in bringing the party so far.

“But we must stop drinking the Kool-Aid that’s encouraging us to think this is all going to disappear and that we can all move on.

“We can’t use Ukraine as a fig leaf to dodge those difficult questions – the issue of partygate continues to distract from both domestic and international issues and is just not going away.

“We’re going to see, I’m afraid, a steady trickle of letters, resignations… I predicted that."

Ellwood said it was clear that more and more MPs are privately believing it’s the time that the "leadership baton is actually passed on".

He continued: “There’s a recognition that every MP now realises it’s up to us to take ownership of this, because, I’m afraid, the absence of discipline, of focus and leadership in Number 10 during that lockdown period has led to a huge breach of trust with the British people.

“It’s causing such long-term damage to the party’s brand and that’s proving difficult to repair.

“Can it be repaired in time for the next general election?

“So it’s beholden upon all Conservative MPs then to take matters into their own hands, and I think, as I say, I think this is where things will go, particularly as we have more bad news to follow.”

The seething row totally has overshadowed Johnson’s much-trumpeted visit to India for trade talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

It followed a chaotic day at Westminster which saw ministers forced to abandon plans to try to delay a vote on an inquiry into whether Johnson misled Parliament in the face of a threatened Tory revolt.

Instead MPs nodded through an opposition motion referring Mr Johnson to the Commons Privileges Committee.

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It was reported that Johnson intervened personally from India to drop a Government amendment after six junior ministers threatened to resign.

In the Commons, influential former minister and leading Brexiteer Steve Baker said the Prime Minister needs to realise the “gig’s up”.

The committee will not begin its inquiry until the Metropolitan Police have completed their investigations into breaches of Covid regulations in Whitehall.

The Prime Minister has already received one fine – as has his wife Carrie and Chancellor Rishi Sunak – over a birthday gathering in No 10 and there are fears more could follow.