Politics Live panel discuss Boris' future as PM
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The Prime Minister admitted on Wednesday that he attended a “bring your own booze” do at Downing Street – what he called a “work event” – during the first national lockdown. His admission to MPs formed part of what has been branded “Mr Johnson’s worst day as Prime Minister”. In an attempt to prevent it from becoming his second worst, Mr Johnson is said to be planning on replacing some of those who form his inner circle at Number 10.
By almost all accounts, the Prime Minister is currently treading on incredibly thin ice.
Ben Harris-Quinney, Chairman of the Bow Group, claimed that if one more serious mistake is made, Mr Johnson could be out of a job.
He told Express.co.uk: “If yet another scandal drops it will push him over the edge.”
One way he is considering attempting to relieve tensions is by carrying out a “major overhaul” of his Downing Street team.
One backer of Mr Johnson told the Financial Times: “The best-case scenario is that Sue Gray [who is investigating reports of lockdown rule-breaking at Downing Street] reports back… and he can then respond with a convincing changing of the guard at Number 10.”
Among those who could be “changed” is Martin Reynolds, the Prime Minister’s principal private secretary, who invited 100 staff to the “bring your own booze” do in Downing Street’s garden in May last year.
Chief of staff Dan Rosenfield could also be given the sack, reported the Financial Times.
Mr Harris-Quinney claimed, however, that such an overhaul – “major” or otherwise – would not be enough to save the Prime Minister’s position.
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He said: “The toxic culture that has grown up in Number 10 and around Boris Johnson over the past few years isn’t going to change by changing advisors.”
Removing some figures and adding some others will not, he added, be sufficient for preventing the Government from “collapsing”.
The Prime Minister has faced numerous calls to resign following his apology on Wednesday.
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Perhaps the most significant of these has come from Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross.
He said Mr Johnson’s position “is no longer tenable”.
Other senior Tories have been reluctant to comment on the matter, noting that the verdict of Ms Gray’s investigation should be heard before serious calls – such as for the Prime Minister to resign – are made.
Some of Mr Johnson’s more loyal followers were put off by Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s alleged delay in showing his support for the Prime Minister on Wednesday, according to the Financial Times.
One minister said: “You’ve got to lean in or get out.”
According to fresh allegations on Thursday evening, Number 10 held two “boozy” parties the night before the funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, when the Queen sat alone mourning the death of her husband.
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