Boris Johnson is to face MPs amid furious demands to come clean over his attendance at a reported “bring your own booze” party in the No 10 garden in breach of Covid lockdown rules.
It comes as Angela Rayner and Alastair Campbell have slammed the PM in separate TV appearances this morning.
Johnson will make his first public appearance since the leak on Monday of an email from his principal private secretary Martin Reynolds inviting Downing Street staff to the gathering in May 2020.
The disclosure triggered a new wave of public anger following the reports last year of parties in the run up to Christmas 2020, with Tory MPs openly warning Mr Johnson his position will be untenable if he has been shown to have lied.
The PM avoided scrutiny by sending the paymaster general Michael Ellis to respond on his behalf to an emergency Commons question on the issue tabled by Labour.
In a possible indication of waning support among Tory MPs for their leader, the Conservative benches were sparsely populated while no senior ministers appeared publicly to defend him.
In an echo of what happened last year when Health Secretary Sajid Javid pulled out of a morning broadcast round following earlier disclosures, there was no sign of a minister taking to the airwaves on Wednesday.
In contrast, the Commons chamber is expected to be packed for Prime Minister’s Questions as MPs watch to see if he can turn round an increasingly perilous position.
Angela Rayner appeared on BBC News to slam the PM.
She didn’t mince her words telling the presenters: “Boris Johnson has lied to the British public and to parliament… he implemented these rules as Prime Minister of this country… and if he was at this party… then his position is untenable.”
Meanwhile, Alastair Campbell spoke to Kay Burley and said that if rumours are true, and the cabinet didn’t bother to mention the party scandal yesterday then they “really are an utterly spineless, craven bunch, as this is affecting the good governance of the country.”