A ministerial Aide who has loyally defended Boris Johnson in public has privately told a constituent that the PM’s position “appears terminal” amid the ongoing “partygate” fallout.
The comments come from Lucy Allan, Conservative MP for Telford and parliamentary private secretary to cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg. Mr Rees-Mogg became the minister for Brexit opportunities and government efficiency on Tuesday as part of a mini-reshuffle.
Ms Allan has been a loyal and very public supporter of the prime minister throughout Partygate. Following the resignation of key aides from No 10, Ms Allan said in a letter to a constituent last week that she did not support efforts to remove the prime minister. However, she added her own view that “the position now appears terminal”.
Questioned about the correspondence, Ms Allan told Politico: “The phrase ‘terminal’ was used in one letter to one constituent. … At the time of writing to that constituent the PM’s position did indeed appear ‘terminal’ but that is not the case today”.
“The PM is building a new team and is earning back support. But of course, there may be more to come out including the outcome of a police investigation”.
Ms Allan also told The Independent that Mr Johnson’s position had “improved” since last Friday following the mini-reshuffle and recent appointments to the No 10 team.
Just this week, Ms Allan criticised the former Conservative PM leader Sir John Major, saying in a tweet: “Trying to remove an elected PM with a huge personal mandate, mid-term, is anti-democratic”.
The former Conservative party leader issued a scathing critique of Mr Johnson’s government; he said Mr Johnson and his officials had flouted lockdown laws, “shredded” Britain’s reputation, and urged Conservative MPs to “put country before party” in any vote to remove him.
In response, Ms Allan added: “Those who seek to do so [remove the PM] are destabilising democracy. If you respect democracy, Mr Major, Mrs May, Mr Heseltine et al, do it through the ballot box, not by abusing your power and influence”.
Nonetheless, the private remarks are a sign of unease within the Conservative party over the PM’s future.
This comes following news that the PM has received a questionnaire from the Metropolitan Police as part of the inquiry into parties at Downing Street and Whitehall. As part of Operation Hillman, the Met are sending the questionnaire by email, of ‘formal legal status’, to more than 50 people.
The Met said on Wednesday that the email must be responded to ‘within seven days’ and that the questionnaire should shine a light on a ‘recipient’s participation in an event’. If the PM does not reply in seven days he will face a fine.
Carrie Johnson, the prime minister’s wife, is also understood to have received an email.
Another former Conservative party leader, Iain Duncan Smith, has told the i newspaper that the PM would find it difficult to hold onto his post if the force fine him: “I think it would be very tough for anyone to remain after that. If you’ve set the laws, and you break them and the police decide you have broken them… and then there’s the unredacted (Sue Gray) report – the two things will come together”.