Grant Shapps defends Boris Johnson over new party allegations
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
The BBC’s political editor Laura Kuennsberg said the impeding Met Police investigation into lockdown-breaking parties at Downing Street announced this morning could force Tory MP’s to make moves to get rid of Boris Johnson. She said: “The delay could press pause on the whole saga, and give Boris Johnson more time – but equally the very fact of the police investigation might tip more Tory MPs to trigger a vote of confidence in his leadership.
“The fact of No 10 being part of a live police investigation is damaging and extraordinary – yet it’s not clear which way Tory MPs will jump.”
Mr Johnson was plunged into deeper jeopardy today when Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick announced officers were investigating a “number of events” in Downing Street and Whitehall over two years after being passed information from the Gray inquiry.
It prompted Downing Street to acknowledge aspects of Sue Gray’s Cabinet Office inquiry that touch on potentially criminal acts will be paused.
A potential delay will raise questions over the actions of Tory MPs who previously insisted they were waiting to hear the outcome of Ms Gray’s inquiry before they make a decision on Mr Johnson’s future.
A vote of no confidence can be triggered if 15 percent of Conservative MPs – which would mean 54 currently – write to the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee.
If Mr Johnson lost that vote he would be out, but even if he won his position may be untenable if a significant minority of the 360 Tory MPs fail to support him.
Mr Johnson has been fighting for his political life ever since Downing Street was hit by claims it had hosted a number of parties during the height of lockdowns imposed on Britain during the Covid pandemic.
Fresh allegations have emerged at a steady pace and have now totalled at least 19 separate events.
The latest emerged on Monday when Downing Street was forced to admit Mr Johnson had a birthday celebration inside No 10 during the first lockdown.
Downing Street conceded staff “gathered briefly” in the Cabinet Room following a meeting after it was alleged 30 people attended and shared cake despite social mixing indoors being banned.
Liz Truss unable to implement Brexit plan until May 6 in bitter blow [INSIGHT]
Brexit bounce? How price of butter quadrupled after Britain joined EEC [INFO]
Piers Morgan blasts Boris Johnson after defending Dominic Cummings [OPINION]
Dame Cressida announced the investigation had been launched at a meeting of the London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee.
She said they are looking at “a number of events that took place at Downing Street and Whitehall in the last two years in relation to potential breaches of Covid-19 regulations”.
The investigation was opened as a result of information from the Gray inquiry and “my officers’ own assessment”, Dame Cressida added.
She pledged to only give updates at “significant points” and declined to say which alleged parties are under investigation, nor would she put a timeline on when officers could detail their findings.
She said: “The fact that we are now investigating does not, of course, mean that fixed penalty notices will necessarily be issued in every instance and to every person involved.”
Dame Cressida said investigations are carried out into “the most serious and flagrant type of breach” where individuals knew they were committing an offence or “ought to have known”.
She said, “several other events” that appeared to have taken place in Downing Street and Whitehall had also been assessed, but they were not thought to have reached the threshold for criminal investigation.
Reacting to the news, Mr Johnson told MPs it is “right” for Scotland Yard to investigate and that he believes it will “help to draw a line under matters”.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told reporters that “everyone required will fully cooperate in any way they are asked”.
Pressed if Mr Johnson is willing to be interviewed by officers, his spokesman responded: “Anyone asked to will cooperate fully as you would expect.”
Source: Read Full Article