Boris Johnson has “overwhelming” support from Tory MPs, Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has claimed, despite the backlash faced by the prime minister on Monday.
Raab, who is the UK’s deputy prime minister, intervened after senior civil servant Sue Gray published a draft report on a series of alleged government parties during Covid restrictions – which triggered an apology from Johnson yesterday.
Speaking to Times Radio, Raab said: “On the specific issues Sue Gray cited, I think he has addressed all of those questions in a fulsome way and, frankly, at the political level, my experiences in the Chamber but also at the meeting of Conservative MPs – overwhelmingly MPs backing him, wanting to see us getting on with the job.
“The economy is firing, the vaccine rollout has been a spectacular success. People, and I think our constituents, want to see us getting on with the job.”
Tory MPs who don’t seem to agree with Raab
Raab’s claims come as Tory MP Angela Richardson resigned from her role as ministerial aide for cabinet minister Michael Gove, citing “deep disappointment” with the government’s handling of the Partygate scandal.
And, last month, Christian Wakeford, now former Tory MP, defected to Labour.
Meanwhile, Theresa May launched a withering broadside against Boris Johnson in the House of Commons yesterday.
The former Tory prime minister said: “The Covid regulations imposed significant restrictions on the freedoms of members of the public.
“They had a right to expect the prime minister to have read the rules, to understand the meaning of the rules and indeed those around him to have done so too and to set an example in following those rules.”
She added: “What the Gray report does show is that No 10 Downing Street was not observing the regulations they had imposed on members of the public.
“So either my Right Honourable Friend had not read the rules and didn’t understand what they meant and other around him, or they didn’t think that rules applied to No 10, which was it?”
“No”, Boris Johnson replied, “that is not what the Gray report says. “I suggest that she waits to see the conclusion of the inquiry,” he added.
SNP leader kicked out of Parliament for hitting out at Johnson
Gray’s report was published on Monday afternoon, but details on her findings are being withheld while the Metropolitan Police is investigating some of the allegations.
Ian Blackford, leader of the Scottish National Party also lashed out at Johnson and indeed at the report following its publication.
He said: “We stand here today faced with the systematic decimation of public trust in government and the institution of the state, and at its heart, a prime minister, a prime minister being investigated by the police.
“So here we have it, the long-awaited Sue Gray report. What a farce.”
Blackford labelled the report a “fact-finding exercise with no conclusions” and “with no facts”, before being kicked out of Parliament for suggestion Johnson’s behaviour was intentional.