Boris Johnson has announced that he will not step down as prime minister as he was prepared on Wednesday to receive Sue Gray’s long-awaited report on the parties breaking the lockdown in Whitehall.
Johnson told MPs at the time of the prime minister’s question that he was “getting started”, even as Downing Street was consumed by preparations for the Gray report and the battle to save his career. Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister told MPs at lunchtime that he had not yet received the report; Hours on, it is unlikely Johnson will have time to publish his findings and report back to MPs on Wednesday.
No 10 confirmed that discussions were taking place behind the scenes as Johnson wanted to be assured that “nothing would interrupt” a separate Metropolitan Police investigation into the alleged parties.
But a spokesman for Johnson insisted Number 10 would “publish the findings” of the Gray report as they are received.
Sir Keir Starmer, Labor leader, said: “Honestly, the public has decided, they know he’s not the right fit for the job.” One Labor MP, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, has called the prime minister a “liar”.
Johnson said: “The problem with Labor today is [Starmer is] a lawyer, not a leader. We’ve made the tough decisions, we’ve got the big callings right. We – and especially me – are getting to work. “
The exchange of questions from the prime minister comes as Johnson’s allies ramped up support on a pivotal day in Westminster, with a minister warning Tory rebel MPs that if they topple the prime minister, they could force an unwelcome early general election.
Westminster was flooded with speculation that Gray had seen pictures of parties being held during Britain’s Covid-19 lockdown as well as WhatsApp messages with more detailed information about the parties. Metropolitan Police announced on Tuesday it has launched its own investigation.
An official offered a different view that Gray’s report would be “pretty thin” and would not name those responsible for organizing the parties, leaving Johnson to draw his own conclusions.
However, Johnson’s allies have told MPs the prime minister will act decisively after receiving Gray’s report to tackle the “culture of drinking” at the heart of government. A change in the operation of Johnson’s Number 10 is expected, and the administration of the government party – the whip office – is expected.
Johnson told MPs on Tuesday night he was confident he would survive his job. “He said we were going to get through this,” said one MP, adding: “He really believes he will get out of this.”
However, some rebels are expected to use the report to promote a vote of no confidence in the prime minister. A total of 54 Tory MPs had to send a letter to Sir Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 backbench Committee, to trigger a vote.
Liz Truss, foreign minister and potential leadership candidate, told the BBC: “I believe the prime minister should stay in office. I think he’s doing a great job. He apologized, he admitted that mistakes were made. “
In his role as prime minister, Johnson’s allies developed a number of arguments to try to thwart the rebels. Jacob Rees-Mogg claimed if they abandoned Johnson, an election would follow.
“Any prime minister is well advised to seek a new mandate,” he told the BBC Night.
The Rees-Mogg controversy is not supported by recent precedent; Previous prime ministers who gained power midway through a parliament – including Theresa May, Gordon Brown and John Major – have not yet immediately called an election.
Other supporters of Johnson have tried to downplay the party’s allegations, suggesting the prime minister should be allowed to focus on more important issues such as the Ukraine crisis.
Conor Burns, Minister for Northern Ireland, said Johnson was unaware his wife and staff had organized a surprise birthday party for him during the shutdown in June 2020. “It wasn’t that. a pre-arranged party,” he said Channel 4 News. “In a sense, he was ambushed with a pie.”