Tories Say Johnson Safe Despite Probe Blaming Him for Partygate




  • In World
  • 2022-05-25 14:27:09Z
  • By Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Members of Boris Johnson's Conservative Party say the UK prime minister is in no imminent danger over "partygate," as several lawmakers privately called a long-awaited report on the scandal a damp squib.

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A succession of Tories spoke supportively of Johnson in the House of Commons on Wednesday, after Britain's leader said he was "humbled" by the publication of a probe into illegal parties in Downing Street during the pandemic.

The release of Sue Gray's report was long predicted to be a tricky moment for Johnson and had had the potential to spur a fresh wave of anger from his backbenchers and renewed calls for his resignation. Conservative MPs have the power to force a no-confidence vote on Johnson if 54 of their number -- 15% of the total -- write letters demanding he stand down.

Read More: 'Humbled' Johnson Slammed by Probe Laying Out Partygate Scandal

But one Tory MP, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the party had switched off from the saga. A cabinet minister, who also asked not to be identified, said the Gray findings were built into the political calculation and that Johnson had survived. A third MP said that, even if 54 letters went in to trigger a confidence vote, Johnson would win it.

Prior to Gray's report, a handful of Conservative MPs had publicly called for Johnson to step down, but there were no new resignation calls on Wednesday. The premier is due to address his rank-and-file MPs at a meeting of the influential backbench 1922 committee at 5 p.m.

Even a Labour MP tried to put a positive spin on events, saying the result is Johnson would limp on to the next general election due by 2024 at the latest.

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©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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