7 Tory MPs Who Think They're Helping Boris Johnson But Are Actually Making It Worse

That's probably not as good a defence as you think it is.
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Quite a few Tory MPs want Boris Johnson to resign. But the prime minister does still have some allies willing to defend him in public — with varying degrees of success.

Dominic Raab

The deputy prime minister and justice secretary, who got a less important job but a shinier title in the most recent reshuffle, has done his best to downplay the seriousness of the partygate allegations. One gathering in the Downing Street garden could not be a party, he explained, because those photographed eating cheese and drinking wine were “all in suits”.

Nadine Dorries

The culture secretary is probably Johnson’s closely ally in cabinet. In a series of spiky tweets she has attacked the rebels as “a handful of egos” and, as things appeared to be calming down, poked fun at Tory MPs from the so-called Red Wall for being part of a “pork pie” plot to oust the PM.

Jacob Rees-Mogg

The Commons leader dismissed the leader of the Scottish Tories as a “lightweight” after Douglas Ross called for Johnson to resign. An intervention that will have done wonders for the Union. Rees-Mogg also decided to warn off would-be rebels by wrongly arguing a general election would need to be held if the party chose a new leader.

Conor Burns

The Northern Ireland minister, another close ally of the PM, explained Johnson had not deliberately attended a short party in Downing Street, rather that he had been in fact “ambushed with a cake”. Burns also went onto argue that in fact “there actually wasn’t a cake”.

Every Westminster scandal has a standout moment, and this one made it to the White House, with Joe Biden’s press secretary jokingly denying the president had not himself ever been surprised by cake.

Andrew Rosindell

Sure, the prime minister might have broken the rules, but the MP for Romford argued everyone was getting a bit overexcited. "Lots of people break the law in small ways, sometimes unintentionally,” he told Sky News. “He’s not robbed a bank.”

Mark Jenkinson

Johnson could be in line for a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) should he be found to have broken Covid regulations. But Jenkinson, the MP for Workington, rode to the rescue to argue they were just a “minor” punishment.

Adam Wagner, the human rights barrister who has spent a lot of time explaining the Covid laws, was not so sure. “This is wrong,” he told Jenkinson.

“A fixed penalty notice can only be given if the police *reasonably believe someone has committed a criminal offence* under the coronavirus regulations. They are not minor. On the contrary, the PM and government spent 2 years telling us they were deadly serious.”

Boris Johnson

The prime minister is sometimes arguably his own worst enemy. In an attempt to change the story, Johnson accused Keir Starmer of having “failed” to prosecute Jimmy Savile when he was director of prosecution. The claim, which has been widely discredited, was cited by at least one senior Tory MP as a reason why they had submitted a letter calling for a no confidence vote.


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