The PM's defence was 'ridiculous' but he survives – until next week | John Rentoul
By SEAMLESS DAILY
13 January 2022
The first Conservative MP I spoke to after Prime Minister's Questions said they thought Boris Johnson ’ s defence was not enough to save him.
Admittedly this MP is not a supporter of the prime minister, but they were convinced that the "emails and the messages" between Tory MPs will be negative : “ How can he survive another PMQs like that ? ” The prime minister has handed great power to Sue Gray, the civil servant investigating the possible breach of lockdown rules by Downing Street parties.
He admitted he had attended a party in Downing Street in May, during the first lockdown, but that he "believed implicitly that this was a work event".
After that, he had two answers to every question, which was to repeat his apology and ask people to wait until the inquiry had reported.
Margaret Thatcher memorably had tears in her eyes as she drove away from her home of 10 years.
Geoffrey Howe, the former cabinet minister who wielded the knife in the Commons, was later to explain : "The insistence on the undivided sovereignty of her own opinion – dressed up as the nation's sovereignty – was her undoing."
His brief tenure contains a legacy of sorts, the negotiated departure of the UK from the EU, but not so long ago his advisers were briefing the Times he intended to stay in office for 10 years.
The file was closed soon after he left office and Blair said the 18 months had been “ an absolute hell ” for all those involved.
It was the first time a prime minister had helped the police with their inquiries.
The day after the party, 24 hours after the last empty cans were being cleared from the Downing Street garden, Johnson stood on the steps of No 10 to applaud NHS workers.
The Johnson experiment seems to have almost run its course.
The worry for Johnson is that too many MPs have indeed looked at that larger picture – and seen something irredeemable.
What does the Conservative party stand for after two and a half years of Johnson's leadership?
Johnson ’ s apology to the Commons does not solve this in any way.
tory mps find themselves on the threshold of a leadership change.
All of which explains why the party is moving towards its third leadership election in six years.
It is a remarkable turn of events that Tory party members – demographically so deeply unrepresentative of modern Britain – should again be asked to choose the prime minister.
It needs saying that the ascent of Sunak would be remarkable.
but there is much more to sunak's willingness to spend.
With neat historical symmetry, Bonar Law emerged to become Tory leader 100 years ago – the Tory backbench 1922 Committee owes its name to the machinations that overthrew David Lloyd George and took Bonar Law to Downing Street.
They gave up any right to that word when they allowed him to become Prime Minister.
This is something that every Tory MP whom I contacted for this article remarked on.
Most of what Sunak has said since entering politics – to say nothing of his own wealth – suggests that he is broadly sympathetic to this approach too.
Or do you start thinking it would be better to get a more reliable new vehicle?
Sunak and Truss, the apparent frontrunners to succeed, would struggle to maintain the kind of appeal that Johnson achieved.
Electing him would be an act based on hope rather than experience.
Boris Johnson has lied and bent the truth throughout his career.
He entered the Commons for this week's PMQs ashen-faced.
Johnson did what he could to try to stem the bleeding.
The story he told simply made no sense.
The men and women of the Conservative parliamentary party gazed at him.
He did it as a reporter in the 1980s when he was sacked by The Times for allegedly fabricating quotes.
When he became MP for Uxbridge he said he would "lie down in front of those bulldozers" to stop the third runway at Heathrow only to flee to Kabul when it came to a vote in the Commons.
As Prime Minister he was accused of lying to the Queen when he dressed up an attempt to silence parliament over Brexit as a routine prorogation.
It is a lie wrapped in a lie wrapped in a lie, a pitiless drop into the oblivion of hypocrisy.
One of two things will now happen.
Either he will somehow struggle on, dragging his political corpse into the next few months or years of party political activity.
They 'll opt for Rishi Sunak, or Liz Truss, or perhaps Nadhim Zahawi.
Indeed, the closer you look at Sunak or Truss, the weaker they seem to be.
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