A CONFIDENCE vote in Prime Minister Boris Johnson could be announced this week as allies of Boris Johnson appeared braced for a test of his leadership.

A minister admitted the Conservative Party “may well” hold a vote on whether to keep Mr Johnson as leader, but backed him to “face down” the rebels calling for him to quit.

Almost 30 Tory MPs - including Sussex MPs Tim Loughton and Nick Gibb, have publicly urged the Prime Minister to resign amid the fallout from revelations about Downing Street parties held during lockdown.

But reports have suggested more MPs privately want him to go and that enough letters demanding a confidence vote have been submitted to trigger such a showdown.

Under Conservative Party rules, if 54 letters from MPs are sent to Sir Graham Brady – the chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tories – asking for a leadership poll then a vote is called.

Only Sir Graham knows how many letters have been received, but he does not reveal the number until publicly declaring the threshold has been reached.

As well as facing trouble on his backbenches, Mr Johnson also faced public backlash during the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday weekend, including being booed on Friday by some sections of a crowd during his arrival at a thanksgiving service for the Queen at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, deemed to be one of Mr Johnson’s closest allies in the Cabinet, told the BBC on Sunday morning that he did not think the Prime Minister would face a confidence test.

However, business minister Paul Scully told Channel 4 hours later that it “may well happen”, in a possible signal his supporters are readying for a poll to be announced.

He told The Andrew Neil Show: “We may well have a vote of confidence.

“If it does happen, the Prime Minister, I know, will face it down.”

Mr Scully said that, no matter the outcome of a potential vote, the party needed to move on to deal with the “big things” facing the country, admitting that the so-called partygate affair had “stretched out” for too long.

Reports have suggested that Sir Graham could announce a leadership vote as soon as Monday, with the secret ballot then said to be pencilled in for Wednesday.

If half of MPs vote that they do not hold confidence in Mr Johnson’s leadership, then he will be ousted.

But, as the rules currently stand, if Mr Johnson wins a confidence vote, he cannot be challenged again for 12 months.