Boris Johnson's Supporters Are Trying To Blame The BBC For The Tory Party's Problems

Conservative MP Lee Anderson's "witch hunt" accusation follows colleague Adam Holloway claiming the PM was made to "look like Hannibal Lecter".

Another day, another Boris Johnson outrider blaming the BBC for the prime minister’s woes.

Less than 24 hours after the Tory party leader survived a confidence vote, despite 148 of his MPs wanting him out, backbencher Lee Anderson claimed the corporation was leading a “witch hunt” and that it was “time you got off his back”.

It came hours after another Conservative MP, Adam Holloway, accused the BBC of making the prime minister “look like Hannibal Lecter”.

Johnson has been fined by the police for breaking the lockdown rules he set. Sue Gray’s partygate report painted a debauched picture of booze-fuelled lockdown partying into the early hours, cleaners having to scrub red wine off the walls, a fight between staff, and a karaoke machine at the ready.

Despite these events being cited by the majority of Tory rebels, the PM’s defenders seem determined to deflect the blame, and the media appears to be the target.

In a terse interview live on the BBC News, Anderson told the broadcaster: “What people see is a witch hunt, led by the BBC and the Labour Party. The BBC has had it in for Boris since day one.”

Despite protestations from the interviewer (“our job is to ask questions of all politicians”), Anderson continued: “My inbox is full of people complaining about the BBC all the time, saying it should be defunded. There’s a massive witch hunt by you, and the Labour Party, and the mainstream media.”

He added: “You’re on his case all the time. You’re not gonna let this drop, are you? You’re gonna go on and on and on. It’s quite sad.”

On Monday night, fellow Tory MP Holloway attacked the media’s portrayal of the partygate scandal.

He said: “This programme I am on now showed pictures of him looking like Hannibal Lecter at the beginning. I can show you here.”

He held up his iPad with a screen grab of the offending picture.

Loyalist Tory MPs have gone to extreme lengths to defend Boris Johnson.
Loyalist Tory MPs have gone to extreme lengths to defend Boris Johnson.
BBC

On LBC, presenter James O’Brien accused Anderson of being “spectacularly stupid”.

He said: “148 Tory MPs have lost confidence in Boris Johnson because of a BBC witch hunt ... and because his inbox is full of rubbish from racists he somehow thinks that’s true ... it is absolutely breathtaking.”

Despite Johnson’s attempts to draw a line under questions about his leadership, critics warned that the political crisis was not over after 41% of his MPs said they no longer had confidence in him.

The scale of the opposition was greater than that seen in 2018 when Theresa May faced a confidence vote. She was ultimately forced out within months.

Opening a Cabinet meeting in Downing Street, Johnson said: “We are able now to draw a line under the issues that our opponents want to talk about.”

Before You Go