Boris Johnson: Party revelations will ‘continue to run’ says Bridgen
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Boris Johnson may have to reshuffle his inner circle if he wants to keep his position, as anger around Downing Street staff flouting lockdown rules continues to grow. A culling of rule-breakers may be his only chance to survive the publication of senior civil servant Sue Gray’s report into the allegations of rule-breaking at Number 10.
Despite his anger over the reports of parties being held in Downing Street when the rest of the country was following strict Covid rules, Conservative Party chairman, Oliver Dowden, doesn’t believe the PM needs to resign.
But he stressed that the PM will need to “address the underlying culture in Downing Street” that led to the “partygate” scandal.
He told ITV News that it’s the culture at Downing Street that needs to change not the person in charge.
He strongly hinted that key figures in Downing Street could be ousted as his Government plans to “address the kind of culture that has allowed” rule-breaking to happen.
Mr Dowden’s hints come after The Sunday Times reported that Mr Johnson is drawing up plans for a “mass clearout of No 10.”
The Prime Minister reportedly accuses his team of failing to protect him.
According to the Sunday Times, Boris Johnson complained to staff: “How has all this been allowed to happen?
“How has it come to this? How haven’t you sorted this out?”
A senior government source told the Sunday Times: “He made it clear he thought they had let him down.
“Boris’s view is that he is not to blame. That everyone else is to blame.”
Which Downing Street staff could be culled?
Martin Reynolds, Johnson’s principal private secretary, is most likely to be Mr Johnson’s fall figure as he sent the email inviting staff to “bring your own booze” to an after-work party during lockdown.
His deputy, Stuart Glassborow, is also expected to be a scapegoat for the rule-breaking at Number 10 and a limited Cabinet reshuffle could occur.
The Mail reports that Chief Whip Mark Spencer and Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg could be removed from the Cabinet.
The Sunday Times reports that Mr Johnson will introduce a range of measures to save his position, such as a workplace “booze ban” in Downing Street in a bid to end the reported drinking culture there.
According to reports Mr Johnson is also planning to announce a range of policies to boost his falling popularity. These could include:
- Lifting Covid restrictions. These are scheduled to be reviewed on January 26.
- A freeze to the unpopular BBC TV licence fee for two years to help reduce the spiralling cost of living.
- The military is being given more control to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing the Channel.
- News plans to cope with the backlog of NHS operations caused by the pandemic.
- Extra funds to provide job training for the 1.5 million who are on universal credit to get them back into employment.
Michael Gove’s levelling-up white paper is also expected to be published soon.
This could help boost the PM’s popularity as it is expected to outline policies to help “level up” struggling parts of the country.
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