Boris Johnson has been told that public anger over the breaking up of Downing Street parties will cause Conservatives to suffer significant losses in next month’s local elections, with the possibility of the Prime Minister facing further police fines ahead of Election Day.
Steve Baker, a prominent backbench Tory MP, said voters repeatedly mentioned the Partygate scandal on the campaign trail and that conservatives should prepare to “harvest the whirlwind” of backing Johnson.
The former Brexit minister, who called on Johnson to quit earlier this week, told the Daily Telegraph it was clear the prime minister was not being sincere when he apologized to parliament for breaking lockdown rules, adding : “The problem is that the repentance didn’t last much longer than it took to get out of the headmaster’s study. By the time we got to the 1922 committee meeting that evening, it was the usual feast of bombast and orgy of reverence. It took me about 90 seconds to realize that he had no real remorse.”
He said cabinet members who want the prime minister to leave will “sit fat, dumb and happy and let me do the dirty work” rather than risk their careers by publicly trying to remove Johnson from office. force. The Guardian has reported how MPs believe allies of Tory MPs such as Penny Mordaunt and Jeremy Hunt are already preparing for leadership bids.
Baker has represented Wycombe since 2010, but his seat is now a prime target for Labour, with current polls suggesting Sir Keir Starmer’s party would win the constituency if elections were held tomorrow.
“People lived under barbaric rules,” Baker said. “They were told that if they strayed even one iota from the law, they would kill people. And they suffered for it… Meanwhile, in No. 10, where they should have obeyed both the letter and the spirit of the rules, they clearly broke both.”
It comes after a report from ITV News said fines had been emailed to officials who attended a ‘bring your own booze’ drinks event in the Downing Street garden in May 2020 at a time when indoor and outdoor gatherings were banned.
Downing Street said Friday night that Johnson, who has admitted to attending the garden party but insisted he “implicitly believed this was a work event”, had not received notice of a fine related to the gathering.
But as the prime minister has already been fined once for attending his own birthday event in June 2020, there is a risk that he could face further fines, with claims that police are investigating a further five possible rule-breaking events he allegedly committed. attended.
The Met has said it will not provide any public updates on how many fines have been handed out until after the local elections. However, Downing Street has said it will still announce whether the prime minister will face further fines in the run up to election day.
In addition to a police investigation and an investigation by senior official Sue Gray, the prime minister will be subject to a third inquiry by the House of Commons Privileges Committee into the Partygate scandal. It will try to establish whether he was aware of the alleged rule violations before making his statements to MPs. An attempt to block this third investigation backfired this week, amid a backseat revolt.
Facing questions about the alleged parties during his final day in India on Friday, the prime minister said he would still be in power in the fall, after setting a goal to sign a trade deal with New Delhi by October.