UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
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Claims of lockdown-busting parties have seen Boris Johnson’s support ebb, even from the Brexiteers who once loved him.
Tories are quitting the party, while others threaten to pull support if he doesn’t go in the coming weeks, Members of Parliament told Insider.
MPs are using the weekend to decide whether to push for Johnson’s departure.
As Conservative MPs returned to their constituencies after another week of fresh allegations of lockdown-busting parties at Downing Street, they were left wondering what reaction they would find back home.
Boris Johnson, the man once seen as electoral dynamite, is now increasingly seen as politically toxic. The question his backbenchers will have to answer this weekend is whether his toxicity is terminal.
The prime minister’s apology to the House of Commons – in which he acknowledged the public “rage” caused by ITV’s revelation of a “bring your own booze” garden party held in May 2020 — did little to quell the anger on Tory benches. But it did initially appear to buy him some time.
Then came another set of revelations. This time, two leaving parties, for which a No. 10 staffer was dispatched to buy a suitcase’s worth of wine, were held in Downing Street on April 16, 2021, the night before Prince Philip’s funeral.
The fact the story appeared in The Telegraph, Johnson’s former employer, under a headline emphasising the monarch’s solitude in her grief, strikes at the heart of the matter.
“I thought the [partygate] story was dying a death, but to do that to Her Majesty — it’s gone down very, very badly,” a former minister told Insider. “We’ve got people leaving the [Conservative] party — not just people who have voted for us for the last 40 years, but people who have been members. We’ve got to do …read more