THERE is not “a chance in hell” that Boris Johnson will stand down voluntarily, a Tory peer has said, as a former Conservative Party leader warned it would be a “very difficult task” to win back the trust of the public.

Gavin Barwell, who served as chief of staff to Theresa May and now sits in the House of Lords, said there was a “strong case for change” at the top of Government.

But he said Johnson would not leave office of his own accord. Speaking on Sky’s Trevor Phillips On Sunday, Barwell said: “My inclination is that the Conservative Party would be better making a change and I also think, for the good of the country in terms of trust and faith in our politics, there’s a strong case for change.

The National: Boris Johnson.

“But it’s not up to me to make a decision. Ultimately, this is a decision that, up until the next election at least, is one for Conservative MPs.”

He added: “I don’t think there’s a chance in hell that the Prime Minister is going to voluntarily resign. He’s going to stay there unless Conservative MPs remove him or unless he loses an election. I don’t see any prospect of him voluntarily standing down.”

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Meanwhile, former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said the Downing Street Partygate saga and its aftermath had been “hugely damaging” and the public were “very angry”.

Asked whether it was possible to recover the reputation of the Tory Party with Boris Johnson remaining as Prime Minister, he told the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme: “None of us know the answer to that question ... Respect and trust you have to earn, and when you lose it, it’s very difficult task to get it back across the board.

The National: Iain Duncan SmithIain Duncan Smith

“And so that’s going to be a huge task. The Government and the Prime Minister have set out to try to do that.”

Duncan Smith said he still thought Johnson was the right person to lead “at the moment”.

He said: “My sense right now is that if we go and plunge ourselves into a leadership election, vote of confidence – which in the end always damages leaders even if they win it – and then maybe a leadership election, internecine warfare, in the midst of which we’re facing a big cost of living crisis Getting that sorted, that is our number one priority.

He said other political players who might be vying for a leadership bid should “temper their ambition” for now.

“Ambition is a thing that exists in all of us, but it’s ambition at the right time. I would say to people, ‘temper your ambition’,” he said.