Politics

Partygate: Email warning with Sue Gray would be serious for Boris Johnson

W

ith the Pork Pie rebellion put down for now, Boris Johnson has bought himself some breathing space as mutinous Conservative MPs await the outcome of Sue Gray’s Partygate inquiry.

But while things were quieter for the Prime Minister on Thursday after Wednesday’s high drama, it was hardly plain sailing for Mr Johnson.

First William Wragg, a senior Conservative backbencher, delivered another bombshell allegation that Government ministers and whips have been intimidating and blackmailing Tory MPs pushing for Mr Johnson’s resignation.

Then ITV News’s Political Editor Robert Peston tweeted an update to an earlier blog which could turn out to be even more significant.

He reported that Ms Gray has now found an email from a senior official in Number 10 which was sent to Mr Johnson’s Parliamentary Private Secretary Martin Reynolds warning him not to go ahead with a staff party at Downing Street on May 20, 2020 – an event which we know the Prime Minister attended.

If this email is now in Ms Gray’s possession then that could be extremely serious for the Prime Minister as it could contradict Number 10’s repeated denials that he was warned in advance about the party.

However the big question at Westminster is whether Ms Gray can go so far as to pass judgement on the Prime Minister.

Described as formidable and fearless, the pub landlady turned senior civil servant, has been placed in the unenviable position of producing a report which will go a long way to determining Mr Johnson’s fate.

As a former head of propriety and ethics in the Cabinet office, she is no stranger to sensitive investigations into senior Ministers.

Her most recent case came in 2017 when she conducted an inquiry into claims that Theresa May’s former de-facto Deputy Prime Minister Damian Green had broken the Ministerial Code.

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