Boris Johnson faces a political ambush at Westminster as the under-fire PM waits for the release of Sue Gray’s report in Downing Street party scandals.
The Tory leader has been hit with damaging revelations about a lockdown birthday party, on top of earlier astonishing claims of behaviour in the pandemic.
And the Met Police confirmed officers are investigating the potential rule breaches.
Mr Johnson remained defiant in the face of internal party opposition and calls to quit from rivals.
He was grilled by Sir Keir Starmer at PMQs, and Conservative backbenchers are potentially primed to turn against him once Ms Gray’s report is released.
Here’s what is happening in another brutal week for Mr Johnson.
1. Sue Gray’s report
Civil servant Sue Gray’s inquiry report into Tory lockdown breaches was being primed for released today.
But the exact timing of when her paper will be given to Boris Johnson remains uncertain.
It’s understood Ms Gray wants her report to be published in full with no redactions, meaning Mr Johnson would spark a backlash if he tried to conceal damaging information.
The government employee is currently second permanent secretary at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
It’s been claimed she is anxious to ensure junior staff aren’t forced to take responsibility for failings in No10.
2. Met probe delay full findings?
It was initially suggested her report into the party scandal would be delayed due to the police investigation.
But senior Met officers believe the internal inquiry can be released while their own probe goes on.
Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick is understood to have said she saw no reason for the findings to be held back.
She added that evidence provided by Ms Gray to officers had helped spark the police investigation.
No10 has previously said they would not hide any findings from the probe.
A damning verdict from Ms Gray could see more Tory MPs turn against the Prime Minister.
3. Keir Starmer turning up pressure
At PMQs on Wednesday, Sir Keir Starmer accused Tories of “undermining the union” and treating Scotland with “utter disdain” by refusing to oust Boris Johnson.
The Labour MP said: “The reality is we now have the shameful spectacle of a Prime Minister of the United Kingdom being sucked into a police investigation, unable to leave the country, incapable of doing the right thing, and every day the Cabinet fail to do the right thing they become more complicit.”
Sir Keir had earlier faced internal criticism for appearing to soft pedal when the country was crying out for strong opposition.
Last week Sir Keir goaded the Prime Minister as he blasted his “absurd” excuses for attending the Downing Street garden party.
But Mr Johnson tried to brush off calls from his opponent to resign and urged him to wait for Sue Gray’s inquiry.
4. Renewed SNP calls to quit
Ian Blackford previously said Boris Johnson had “stuck two fingers up at the rest of us” with his lockdown breaches.
The SNP Westminster chief has repeatedly urged the Tory chief to quit and said his position is “completely untenable”.
On Wednesday, Mr Johnson was heavily criticised for making an off-the-cuff remark about Mr Blackford’s weight.
Mr Blackford had claimed the government was “eating cake” while ignoring major issues facing the country.
But the Prime Minister brushed away his comment and said: “I don’t know who’s been eating more cake.”
5. The Scottish Tory question
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross is the party’s only MP to call for the Prime Minister to quit.
Mr Ross sparked a Tory civil war two weeks ago with his shock demands and has been backed up by MSPs north of the border.
But his fellow Scottish Tory MPs have been more cautious, refusing to turn against their leader.
Aberdeenshire MP Andrew Bowie said yesterday the PM should be “considering his position” but said he would wait for Sue Gray’s inquiry to come out before saying more.
However, a verdict from the report which paints Mr Johnson in a bad light could prompt Scottish Westminster Tories to join calls for him to stand down.
The Prime Minister is a national distraction.
Millions of people are struggling to pay the bills, but Boris Johnson and his government are spending the whole time mopping up their own rule-breaking, sleaze and deceit.
He’s got to go.
— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) January 24, 2022