Boris Johnson has been warned that his position will be “untenable” if he knowingly attends a “Bring Your Own Schnaps” party in Garden No. 10 in violation of the Covid rules.
The Prime Minister came under increasing pressure to say whether he would attend the May 2020 gathering after an email from his Chief Private Secretary Martin Reynolds to Downing Street staff on ITV News leaked Monday.
Downing Street refused to say if he was there, despite reports that he and his wife, Carrie, numbered about 30 people at a time when such gatherings were banned.
The Prime Minister said it was up to Sue Gray, the senior official who is investigating a number of reported parties on Downing Street and elsewhere in Whitehall during 2020.
However, conservative backbencher Nigel Mills warned that a high-ranking figure who willingly attended the event could not take a position that the Covid-19 policy sets out.
“It’s absolutely untenable, we’ve seen people step down for far less,” he told BBC News.
“If the Prime Minister knowingly attended a party, I can’t imagine how he can survive having accepted resignations for much less.
“He accepted the resignation of his spokeswoman (Allegra Stratton) because he hadn’t attended a party but had joked about it at a time with much easier restrictions. I just think that’s untenable. “
Mr Mills added, “I don’t think we need an investigation to find out if the Prime Minister was there. He knows whether he was there or not. Just come out and say what happened.
“If he’s been there, he’d better apologize with a huge apology and see if the country buys it, but I’m not sure they will.”
Earlier, Scottish Tories chairman Douglas Ross warned again that Mr Johnson could not move on to # 10 if he had misled Parliament.
He said the prime minister shouldn’t wait for Ms. Gray’s report to say if he’d come on Nov.
“It will definitely come up on the Prime Minister’s questions tomorrow, so why not come up to the front right now and tell the public, was he at the party or not?” Mr Ross told the PA news agency.
“But I have no doubt that a member – whether the Prime Minister or someone else – who is deliberately misleading Parliament cannot go on. You would have to resign. “
Sir Charles Walker, vice chairman of the Conservative Backbench Committee in 1922, said there was a lot of anger over what happened and said the prime minister urgently needed to rebuild public confidence.
“I think the prime minister will have to spend the next six months restoring confidence in number 10 and making some good and strong decisions. I think that’s the challenge for him, “he told Channel 4 News.
When asked if Mr Johnson had so long to win back support, Sir Charles said, “That is what Parliament Party has to decide. But I think the Prime Minister is a fighter and he will want to prove to his doubters that he is up to the job. “
Amid mounting public anger, two quick polls found that a majority now believed Mr Johnson should step down as Prime Minister.
A study by Savanta ComRes found that 66% of UK adults thought he should quit, with 24% saying he should stay, while a YouGov poll for Sky News found 56% thought he should should go and 27% said he should stay.
Mr Johnson faces a difficult session of the Prime Minister’s Questions Wednesday but dodged control in the House of Commons on Tuesday and instead sent the purser General Michael Ellis to answer an urgent question.
In the Scottish Parliament, Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Mr Johnson should resign, claiming he was “not truthful” about his knowledge of the various parties.
In response to opposition calls for Mr Johnson to step down in the House of Commons, Mr Ellis told MPs the Prime Minister was “going nowhere”, adding that he “maintains the trust of the people of this country, and one of the greatest two years ago Majority did ”. in decades “.
Mr Ellis said the Gray investigation “will establish the facts and if misconduct is found appropriate disciplinary action will be taken”.
The investigation could be suspended if there is evidence of a criminal offense and the Metropolitan Police decides to open an investigation.
Scotland Yard said it was in contact with the Cabinet Office on the latest allegations.
The Tory benches were sparsely populated, which may suggest that the prime minister’s position on the issue is unsupported.
Earlier, Health Secretary Edward Argar told the BBC that he “fully understands” why people who have lost loved ones or whose lives have been severely disrupted by these restrictions are “angry and upset”.