Boris Johnson, pictured earlier this month at an infant school in South Ruislip, has faced new allegations of violating the lockdown. Photo: Daniel Leal/Getty Images
Right-wing conservatives targeted in Whitehall witch hunt; led by "blob" civil servants, high-ranking Tories complained.
“Now there is an open witch-hunt going on in the Conservative Party against the right. The party leadership must stop this immediately.” one senior conservative told me in a rousing WhatsApp message. “There are active discussions among the deputies about how to respond to this, and nothing is being decided.”
For many pro-Brexite conservatives, the news that Johnson was facing two new police investigations into new alleged breaches of the lockdown was the final straw after days of revealing stories that damaged Home Secretary Swella Braverman's reputation.
Police complaints against Johnson were made by civil servants in the cabinet, which is the only Whitehall department that reports directly to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Johnson's successor. Did he know that his team was reporting Johnson to the police?
The timing of the revelations also seemed suspicious, just over a day after the deadline (4 p.m. on Monday) of all ministerial submissions for the Covid-19 inquiry into how the government is handling the pandemic.
There were also speculations that The Cabinet decided to report Johnson to the police because the privileges committee, which is about to report whether Johnson lied to MPs about the party gate scandal, was just about to approve a House of Commons ban of less than 10 days to save him from another recall at by-elections.
How can the committee report now if it has new evidence of new wrongdoing over the lockdowns, which Johnson denies? This threatens to keep the Privileges' the investigation will last until the end of the year.
Johnson's office is crying about the “patch”
His spokesman said: “It appears that some in the government have decided to make unsubstantiated proposals to both the police and the privileges committee. Many will think that this has all the hallmarks of yet another politically motivated set-up.” before they were sent to the police and to the seven MPs on the privileges committee.
The new attacks on Johnson followed days of stories that undermined Braverman, the most senior right-wing and Brexit champion in Sunak's cabinet.< /p>
Braverman has already battled accusations that she violated civil service code by asking a government official to help her with speeding.
Then it was reported that she had not officially disclosed her years of previous employment with a charity that worked with the Rwandan government, and that Interior Ministry officials were forced to “check the facts” of the Interior Minister's statement to the Cabinet. .
And this comes just a day after Dominic Raab, the former pro-Brexit Vice Prime Minister who resigned amid allegations of intimidating public officials, said he was stepping down deputy in the next general election. .
A senior former Conservative cabinet minister texted me on WhatsApp on Tuesday evening. The message read: “I really didn't believe in the 'blob' until now. But the events of recent days – the re-briefing against Suella and today's action against Boris – are starting to make me think again.
“If the Prime Minister's team is somehow encouraging all this, they need to quickly retreat, and if not , they need at least once to take some kind of tough action against civil servants who leak information about ministers. ;
'Attack on Democracy'
A high-ranking Conservative government minister was on the line. He said, "This is a complete set-up. I can not believe this. This is an attack on democracy and due process.” While the Brexit MP, the Conservative MP, accused Whitehall of “a blob”, stating: “We are being devoured like in Pac-Man.”
Not surprisingly, critics on the left were not impressed. Labor MP Neil Coyle said the Tories were just “crazy and bad and sad for the country”. Brexit-hating LBC host James O'Brien posted a photo of actor Rowan Atkinson in shorts over his head and two pencils in his nose.
Nevertheless, the leadership of the Conservative Party is in turmoil today. How will Rishi Sunak answer this challenge?
Late Tuesday, No. 10 said Sunak was still deliberating whether to accept Braverman's explanation about the speeding or to launch an independent investigation that could take up to two months.
However, this morning we are announcing that Braverman will not be fired.
Next will be what to do with Johnson, who suddenly faces two more police investigations and is waiting for the privileges committee&# Verdict 39 .
Sunak can't contact the police either' investigations or deputies' discussion.
But he needs to do something. If he waits, he may lose control of events with some of his MPs who are now in “active conversation”. about what to do next. "Nothing goes off the table" the source added ominously.
On Wednesday morning, there were rumors that Johnson supporters were collecting fresh letters of no confidence in Sunak.
It takes only 54 letters to announce a Christmas vote of no confidence. The new leaders cannot be challenged for a year after being elected.
Maybe it's time for Sunak to turn to Johnson himself for peace talks?
There have been offers before. Greg Hands, the party's chairman, told me on my podcast last month that he would like Johnson to campaign nationally for the party before next year's general election.
Right now, the chances of the pair coming together are vanishingly slim .
But at some point, both men must realize that they are better off working together to fight their common enemy: Labor and Sir Keir Starmer. If they don't, they will have plenty of time to mend their opposition fences at their leisure.