CONSERVATIVE MPs across Hampshire are deciding whether to back Boris Johnson in tonight's vote of confidence.

It comes after scores of Tory members angry about Partygate and other issues wrote to party bosses to demand a vote on the prime minister's future.

If most refuse to support him Mr Johnson will be forced from office and a contest will be held to replace him.

The vote will take place between 6pm and 8pm, with the result expected to be announced shortly afterwards.

Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith has already decided to support the prime minister. He told GB News: "My constituents are not telling me overwhelmingly that they want Boris to go."

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New Forest West MP Desmond Swayne added: "I'm voting for the prime minister. I'm confident he'll win."

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage said: "It’s sad that it’s been necessary to get to this point – but MPs need to reflect the views of those they represent.

"On one hand we have a prime minister who secured the biggest Conservative majority since 1979 and steered our country through Brexit and Covid-19. On the other hand people rightly have concerns about the culture at the heart of our government.

"So today it’s important we all have our say and then, whatever the outcome, we move on in the best interests of our country and our communities."

Last month it was revealed that Winchester MP Steve Brine had written a letter of no-confidence about Mr Johnson.

Referring to the Partygate scandal Mr Brine said: "I have said throughout this sorry saga I cannot and will not defend the indefensible. Rule-makers cannot be law-breakers.

"We do need to move on but we cannot do that without regaining public trust and I am quite sure that’s not possible in the current situation."

Eastleigh Paul Holmes has also called on the PM to go.

Last month Mr Holmes resigned as a Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Home Office over illegal lockdown parties. The MP said he was "shocked and angered" by what happened "when so many people across Eastleigh followed the rules".

Mr Johnson has written to his backbenchers in a bid to win their support and is addressing them privately this afternoon.

In the letters he said putting their confidence in him would "put an end to the media's favourite obsession" and allow the government to focus on voters' priorities.

Discontent among Tory MPs has grown since a highly-critical report into lockdown parties in Downing Street during the Covid-19 pandemic was published last month.

Tory MPs are also unhappy about tax rises and the government's response to the cost of living crisis.