Boris Johnson grilled on Downing Street party 'shame' by Raworth
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Boris Johnson, 57, appeared to see off the initial challenge to his leadership after the ‘pork pie plotters’ failed to bring forward a ballot against the Prime Minister. However, it seems Mr Johnson could face even more pressure following the conclusion of Scotland Yard’s investigation into the lockdown-breaking parties which allegedly took place inside Downing Street.
The Prime Minister refused to tell the BBC whether he would resign if the Met found he broke the Covid rules.
He said: “As soon as I have something meaningful to say about this, which will come at the end of the process, I will make sure I do it to you, the BBC… I’ll have a lot more to say about this in due course.”
Mr Johnson added: “Any answer would be interpreted as a point of commentary about the process.
“I’ve got to leave it, you must forgive me, I can’t comment about a process that is currently underway and I won’t.”
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However, two ministers are reportedly expected to pull their support for Mr Johnson if he is handed a fixed penalty notice.
According to sources who spoke to the Times, the Prime Minister’s position would become untenable if he is found to have broken the law.
One source said: “If he gets an FPN he’ll have to go. How can you have a Prime Minister who has been found guilty of breaking the law?”
A minister and close ally of a second Cabinet member said: “If the Met’s conclusion is effectively that he broke the regulations then it makes his position extremely difficult.
“It’s going to be very difficult for him to stay, especially if it’s for a party in the Number 10 flat.”
The Prime Minister has also faced pressure from leaders of other parties in Britain.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey, 56, said: “If he won’t resign, Conservative MPs must do the right thing and sack him.
“For a sitting Prime Minister to be found guilty of breaking the law would be unprecedented and put to bed once and for all the Conservative Party’s claim to be the party of law and order.”
It is thought enough Tory MPs would submit letters of no confidence to the chairman of the 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady, 54, if Mr Johnson receives a fine for his involvement in partygate.
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Europe and North America Minister James Cleverly, 52, is one of Mr Johnson’s loyal supporters inside the Conservative Party.
The Braintree MP, who supported the Prime Minister’s leadership bid in 2016 before launching a short-lived and somewhat audacious bid of his own in 2019, told Sky News: “I don’t think what the country needs at the moment is a vacuum at the centre of Government when we are dealing with our recovery from Covid, the accumulation of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, making sure that the health service is able to deal with the sad, the unfortunate but nevertheless obvious, backlog that’s been created by Covid.”
Asked if that could be taken as Mr Johnson should not resign if he gets a fine, Mr Cleverly said: “That is exactly how you should be taking it.”
Mr Johnson is believed to be among the more than 50 people who have been sent a questionnaire by the Metropolitan Police in relation to their partygate investigation.
The investigation, dubbed Operation Hillman, is examining 12 gatherings on eight dates, some of which the Prime Minister is said to have attended.
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