Mad panic among Tory MPs Sky News Jon Craig issues Boris Johnson dire exit warning

Politics: John Craig issues Boris exit warning

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The Sky News journalist warned Tory files are growing concerned about Boris Johnson’s ability to recover from a series of humiliating U-turns and rows that have rocked the party over recent weeks. Mr Craig noted MPs are especially looking at Thursday’s North Shropshire by-election as a potential signal on whether Mr Johnson will be able to stay on as leader. He said: “As well as the big vote in the Commons on Tuesday, when there’s every chance the rebellion will be bigger, than the 54 which is the record for this Parliament on the tier system, at this time last year there is also the North Shropshire by-election on Thursday.

“And a lot of Tory MPs have got the jitters about that.

“Now you’d think, majority just under 23,000, surely the Conservatives can’t lose that.

“Well, according to the Financial Times, bookies have got the Lib Dems as favorites.

“And if the Tories were to lose that by-election, there would be mad panic among Tory MPs and the Prime Minister would be in real peril.”

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The North Shropshire by-election was itself the result of one of Mr Johnson’s miscalculations after MPs were urged to vote against a motion urging for a 30-day suspension for the constituency’s former MP Owen Paterson.

And this week a row over an alleged Christmas party held in violation of Tier 2 rules last year resurfaced, with a video leak showing Number 10 staff seemingly mocking social distancing.

Mr Johnson denied any gathering took place but apologies during PMQs for any offence the video of his staffers caused.

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And The Times on Friday reported some Treasury staff who worked on the Autumn Spending Review last year had office drinks while England was in lockdown.

Around two dozen civil servants were present for the drinks on November 25, 2020.

A Treasury spokesman was quoted as confirming that a “small number” of staff had “impromptu drinks around their desks”.

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In November 2020, non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues were closed as well as pubs, bars and restaurants, and people were urged to stay at home except for limited reasons including work if it could not be done from home.

A Treasury spokesman told the paper: “In line with the guidance at the time, a number of staff came into the office to work on the Spending Review 2020.

“We have been made aware that a small number of those staff had impromptu drinks around their desks after the event.”

And on Saturday, pictures emerged showing Boris Johnson allegedly hosting a Christmas quiz at Number 10.

He maintained no rules were broken and the Met Police said they would not retroactively investigate potential breaches of Covid rules.

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