Boris Johnson told Tory MPs “we will get through this” as he prepared to receive Sue Gray’s long-awaited report on Wednesday in the parties that broke the Whitehall blockade and fight for his political life.
Johnson’s allies began circling the carriages on a crucial day in Westminster, with a minister warning rebellious Tory MPs that if they ousted the prime minister, they could call for unwanted early general elections.
Gray, a senior government official tasked with investigating the “party scandal” at Downing Street and other government departments, concluded his report.
But she hadn’t handed it over to Johnson until Wednesday morning. “We didn’t have it,” said Officer 10 at 7:45 a.m. Unless the prime minister sees him soon, the publication could pass on Thursday, adding to the hectic atmosphere at the House of Commons.
Johnson was expecting to see the report on Tuesday night and was preparing to make a statement to lawmakers about its contents after the prime minister’s question time on Wednesday afternoon, but that schedule seems to be slipping away.
Westminster is full of speculation that Gray has seen photos of parties held during the blockade of Covid in England, as well as messages on WhatsApp. Sofia police announced on Tuesday that they are launching their own investigation.
One official suggested an alternative view that Gray’s report would be “quite thin” and would not name those responsible for organizing the parties, leaving Johnson to draw his own conclusions.
However, Johnson’s allies told lawmakers that the prime minister would act decisively after receiving Gray’s report to shake the “drinking culture” at the heart of the government and reconsider his team.
A Tory MP said: “The message is that what matters is not so much what is in Gray’s report, but how Boris responds to it. Operation Johnson’s 10th operation and the operation to run the government party, the Whip Office, are expected to be shaken.
Johnson told lawmakers on Tuesday night that he believed he would survive with his job intact. “He said we could handle it.” The MP added: “He really believes that he will get out of this.”
However, some rebels are expected to use the report to demand a vote of no confidence in the prime minister. A total of 54 Tory MPs must send letters to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the commission since 1922, to provoke a vote.
With his prime position on the edge of a knife, Johnson’s allies used a number of arguments to try to keep the rebels at bay. Jacob Rees-Mogg says that if they give up Johnson, there will be elections.
“It is my opinion that we have moved, for better or worse, to a presidential system in essence and that therefore the mandate is personal and not entirely partisan,” he told the BBC. Newsnight. “Every prime minister would be very well advised to seek a new term.
Reese-Mogh’s claim is not supported by a recent precedent; previous prime ministers who came to power in the middle of parliament – including Theresa May, Gordon Brown and John Major – did not call an election immediately.
Other Johnson supporters have tried to downplay the party’s claims, suggesting that the prime minister should be allowed to focus on more important issues such as the crisis in Ukraine.
Connor Burns, Northern Ireland’s minister, said Johnson was unaware that his wife and staff had organized a surprise birthday party for him during the June 2020 blockade. “It was not a deliberate party,” he said. he in front of C4 News. “He was, in a sense, in an ambush with a cake.”
Those familiar with Gray’s investigation said the report would take the form of her conclusions, span many pages, but would not include a significant amount of evidence from her interviews, such as photos or messages.
One official said Gray would produce an accurate report instead of a longer one that required editing – fearing that a longer report would lead to allegations of bleaching.
“Everything we give to the prime minister will be published,” said a government insider. “He will not receive a complete file of every WhatsApp statement or witness.”