Senior cabinet ministers have been accused of disloyalty to the prime minister
Cabinet ministers deny they are on maneuvers and insist they are working with MPs as part of their normal duties. But a growing number of senior Conservatives believe that even if Mr Johnson survives the aftermath of Partygate, there is a serious risk he will be pushed out if the upcoming election goes badly.
Rishi Sunak met more than 100 MPs this week, while Liz Truss is set to have dinner with other Conservative MPs this weekend as speculation over Boris Johnson’s leadership continues to mount and backbenchers openly debate who should replace him as prime minister .
The Chancellor met more than 100 Tory backbenchers this week to discuss how to ease pressure on the cost of living amid rising inflation and energy bills.
A source close to Mr Sunak said living standards were the only issue discussed at the meetings. However, fellow ministers have accused him of only lukewarmly supporting the prime minister – one informing a newspaper that he is a “prancing pony” who is “quite frankly” about his leadership ambitions.
In a tweet on Wednesday night, Chancellor Merkel called for “patience” ahead of the parties’ inquiry, which is being filed by senior Mandarin Sue Gray.
An ally insisted his comments “are in line with those of other ministers” and that his trip to Devon, which meant he missed the Prime Minister’s questions, had been planned for at least three months.
Ms Truss is understood to be attending a dinner with fellow Conservative MPs this weekend, although a source said it was not a formal engagement.
The source added: “It is normal for cabinet ministers to meet MPs. She regularly meets with MPs to discuss foreign policy.”
The Foreign Secretary has been holding ‘Fizz with Liz’ events at the private members’ club at 5 Hertford Street in recent months.
On Friday, she pledged loyalty to Mr Johnson, saying: “The Prime Minister apologized on Wednesday, he made it very clear that mistakes were made.
“But I think we have to look at the overall position we are in as a country, the fact that he delivered Brexit, that we are recovering from Covid, we now have one of the fastest growing economies in the G7 and we deliver the booster campaign.
“He apologized, I think we need to move on now and talk about how we’re going to solve problems.”
Michael Gove, who twice challenged Mr Johnson for party leadership, said: “I totally understand that people will be upset, angry and upset. I think people are committed to the truth.” He said the public deserves “a fair and full account of what was going on, and then a fair recognition of what needs to change.”