Michael Gove has come out to bat for the prime minister following a disastrous set of results in the local elections.
Victory for Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland contributed to a bruising set of local elections for the Tories which saw them lose control of key authorities and suffer a net loss of more than 400 councillors.
It is thought that the loss of Wandsworth and Westminster in London to Labour, after decades of Conservative control, and significant defeats to the Liberal Democrats in southern heartlands, such as Woking, could persuade more MPs to submit letters of no-confidence in the prime minister.
The partygate row, which has seen Mr Johnson and Rishi Sunak fined for breaching coronavirus laws, scandals involving MPs Neil Parish and Imran Ahmad Khan, and the cost-of-living crisis all contributed to a difficult week for Johnson.
But one man whose support he can rely on is housing secretary Gove, who came to his aide in The Telegraph this weekend.
Asked if there were any circumstances under which he believes the PM would have to resign over the Partygate issue, he said:
“No. I know that it’s incredibly difficult, particularly for people who made sacrifices during Covid, particularly for those who will have lost loved ones.
“But I think, if you’re going to make a judgement about any prime minister, you have to make that judgement in the round. And overall on Covid, on the vaccination programme, on the booster programme, on the big economic questions, on Ukraine, the Prime Minister has consistently got those big questions right.
“So I think it was right to apologise. But the idea of removing the Prime Minister over this, I think, is bonkerooney.”