FEW Conservative MPs spoke out against Boris Johnson in the Commons following the publication of Sue Gray’s damning report on boozy lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street.

The National counted just one who openly said the Prime Minister should resign after the full findings of the civil service probe into law-breaking in No 10 during the pandemic were published today.

Tobias Ellwood, a ferocious critic of Boris Johnson within his own party, told the Prime Minister again he does not think he is fit for the job.

READ MORE: Boozing, vomiting and karaoke: The most damning lines of the Sue Gray report

The current chair of the defence select committee asked his Tory colleagues: “Are you willing, day in and day out to defend this behaviour publicly?

“Can we continue to govern without distraction, given the erosion of trust with the British people?

“And can we win the general election on this current trajectory?”

Ellwood noted he was almost booed into silence by members of his own party as he attacked the Prime Minister.

Aaron Bell, another critic of the Prime Minister on the Tory benches, asked if there was any truth in a report in The Times that Johnson had attempted to lean on Gray to block publication of the report.

The Prime Minister refused to answer the question directly and the MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme could be seen furiously shaking his head.

John Baron, the Tory MP for Basildon and Billericay, came close to asking the Prime Minister if he had lied to the Commons, suggesting Johnson’s claims that all rules were followed failed to “pass the test of reasonableness”.

Former justice secretary Robert Buckland, who was sacked by Johnson in 2021, said: “The rules of this House are clear that anybody who deliberately lies to and misleads this House should leave their position.

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“[He] has been asked many time about specific incidents, specific events that Sue Gray has outlined. Has he, on any occasion, and, in response to specific questions about specific events and deliberately lied to us?”

Johnson denied he had lied but the implication of the question was clear.

The Prime Minister has specifically denied in the Commons that he attended an illegal gathering on November 13, 2020 but pictures show he attended a party in Downing Street. He was not fined for the event but was photographed at it holding aloft a glass of drink in a picture shared in the Gray report.

The overall tone however was muted and few spoke out against the Prime Minister from his own benches as had done in the past.

It marks a shift from the previous outcry from the backbenches following the publication of Sue Gray’s interim report – a much shorter dossier with less detail released prior to the conclusion of the police investigation into Downing Street lawbreaking.

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That some of his most prominent critics, such as Roger Gale, did not speak in the debate might provide comfort for the Prime Minister.

Steve Baker, an arch-Brexiteer and former ally of Johnson was also notable in his absence from Wednesday’s debate.

But the most deafening silence came from the seat for the member for Moray.

Douglas Ross was not in the Commons on Wednesday for the bombastic session but the Scottish Tory leader gave his contingent support to the Prime Minister on media rounds. 

He told Sky News: "The Prime Minister doesn’t have my unqualified support, it has been because of the situation in Ukraine.”

But Johnson is still awaiting a probe by a committee of MPs who will decide whether he lied to parliament over parties in Westminster during lockdown.

Ross told the PA news agency there was an "expectation" Johnson should resign if the Privileges Committee found he broke the ministerial code. But that is hardly groundbreaking - that is set out in the ministerial code the Prime Minister has sent out to all his ministers. 

It is not known whether Ross would back Johnson stepping down if he was found to have lied to parliament before the war in Ukraine came to an end. 

Before that though, Johnson will face the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers on Wednesday evening and to face questions from MPs, some of whom are privately furious about the conduct of the Prime Minister and his senior staff.

He was greeted by the "customary" banging of tables on his entrance - suggesting MPs are satisfied he's turned the situation around - or want to give the impression they are.  

It may be the case the “greased piglet” – in the parlance of ex-PM David Cameron – has escaped political damnation, oiled by the joint crises of Ukraine and the soaring cost of living.

Or this could be another step in the slow erosion of support for Johnson, as predicted by Baron Hayward, who warned the Prime Minister would face a leadership challenge. 

It could prove that Johnson goes not with a bang but a whimper.