As much as Boris Johnson would like to believe otherwise, the hangover from the Downing Street booze ups of 2020 hasn’t subsided. His position is looking increasingly uncertain as even some Tories are publicly baying for Johnson’s blood.
Another former cabinet minister said doubts over the succession were now irrelevant, such was the urgency of the situation. “A broomstick would be better,” he said. “I have absolutely nothing, frankly, to hide,” Johnson declared last week. But after he spent two years denying partying during strict lockdown, few would believe him. And the revelations keep coming. Johnson admitted last Friday that he attended a “bring your own booze” party in the Downing Street gardens in May 2020.
But the denial continues, claiming that he “believed implicitly that this was a work event”. Senior Tories were last week scrambling to find a way to block Labour leader Keir Starmer’s calls for an inquiry, but backed off after Labour added an amendment saying the inquiry could take place after the next phase of the Grey report had been released.
Many Tories are terrified that public anger over Johnson’s lies could cost the party at the local elections. The Met police have said it won’t make any public announcements about fines for rule breaking parties until after polling day. But with claims circulating that the cops are investigating five further parties Johnson was at, he is far from out of the woods yet. A devastating result for the Tories next week could be the final blow for slippery Johnson. If he doesn’t go willingly, pressure should mount to push him out.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is taking time out from dealing with the scandal caused by his dodgy tax affairs to host a fundraising banquet for bankers. Sunak will be schmoozing the rich at a dinner, where it costs £10,000 to buy a ten seat table.
Guests will be stumping up £1,000 each for a seat—which is helpfully under the £7,500 threshold for declaring party political donations. It’s therefore likely that guests will be buying individual tickets at £1,000 a seat, so they’re not forced to declare the purchase.
In yet another blow for Sunak’s career, he polled at the bottom of the popularity chart compiled by the Conservative Home website. He scored minus 5.2—even lower than embattled prime minister Boris Johnson.
Never one to miss an opportunity to grab a headline, Jacob Rees Mogg is trying to force civil servants back into the office. He’s campaigning for government workers to return to Westminster, and left notes on empty desks saying, “Sorry you were out when I visited”.
It’s a desperate piece of political theatre. And it’s part of a plan to position himself at the top of the Tories, at a time when others are floundering. Rees Mogg, who last month called on chancellor Rishi Sunak to lower taxes, said civil servants working from home was a “bad deal for taxpayers”. And he represents a large section of the rich who would like to pretend that the pandemic is over, despite that far from being the case.
The latest figures reveal that in the seven days leading up to 22 April, some 185,625 people tested positive for Covid-19. Some 1,956 people died. His pushback into the office is nothing short of a political stunt that could cost lives.
Angela Rayner, deputy Labour leader, faced familiar sexist abuse from the right wing press on Sunday.
The Mail on Sunday newspaper reported that Tory MPs claimed Rayner liked distracting Johnson by crossing and uncrossing her legs during Prime Minister’s Questions.
As well as vile sexism, it reeked of a snobbishness of the establishment, who have regularly sneered at Rayner. One Tory said, “She knows she can’t compete with Boris’s Oxford Union debating training, but she has other skills which he lacks. “She has admitted as much when enjoying drinks with us on the terrace.”
It talked of how “flirty exchanges” took place between “the comprehensive school-educated Labour MP against the Old Etonian”. It’s a reminder that no woman is exempt from the sexist filth of the media.
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