“Worn out defending the indefensible”

The forthcoming report on Partygate could seal the Prime Minister's fate. But in his blog Jim warns that Johnson could still escape,with Scottish Tories splitting away.

Jim Hancock

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GO NOW!

William Wragg has risen rapidly to be a senior Tory backbencher since his election for Hazel Grove seven years ago. He chairs a select committee and is a vice chair of the influential 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers. It is chaired by Sir Graham Brady, his neighbouring MP in Altrincham and Sale West.

Sir Graham is receiving the letters from Conservative backbenchers who want to rid themselves of their lying leader, Boris Johnson. It is a safe bet that Wragg has passed an envelope to Brady having said he is weary of defending the indefensible. He was referring to the series of revelations about Downing Street parties being held. Meanwhile law-abiding citizens couldn’t hold their loved one’s hands as they died of Covid, and thousands were fined for meeting their neighbours.

He was unimpressed as the truth was finally dragged out of Johnson yesterday that he had attended another illegal party at No 10. His apologists keep telling us how gracious the Prime Minister’s apology was. What would have been more impressive would have been a frank statement about all the law breaking at the heart of government when the story broke before Christmas. Instead, Johnson preferred to go from one obfuscation to another, when it was clear what answers parliament wanted.

Wragg is one of many northern Conservatives that can see the writing on the wall for Red Wall seats in the North. But he is not just motivated by electoral concerns, but also for decent standards in his party.

MOTOR MOUTH MOGG.

It really felt like the desperation of a dying regime when Commons leader William Rees Mogg described the leader of the Scottish Conservatives Douglas Ross as “a lightweight.”

The spectacle of a man who goes out of his way to display the sort of pin stripe English arrogance that Scots despise, insulting Ross for calling for Johnson to go, could well lead to the Scottish Tories splitting away.

In the Commons on Thursday, Mogg questioned whether the 2020 rules were too tough in hindsight. Could this be a clever ruse to put Johnson’s breaking of the rules in a more sympathetic context?

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Well don’t rule out Johnson surviving! A senior civil servant, Sue Gray, has been charged with investigating the mess.

The problem is she reports to the Prime Minister, and we know how these things have turned out in the past. When Home Secretary Priti Patel was found to have broken the ministerial code over bullying Johnson ignored the finding and kept Patel on. With the scandal over No 10 refurbishments, The Prime Minister waited until he had been largely cleared by Lord Geidt before finding texts on an old mobile that could have led the peer to a different conclusion.

If the Gray report even hints that the No 10 Garden was a workplace and it was some sort of work event that Johnson was confused about, you watch him escape again.

If Gray’s statement of the facts leaves Johnson no way out, we may be rid of him by Spring.

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