Tory rebels to wait out ‘partygate’ inquiry before deciding Johnson’s future

London, Jan 20 (EFE).- Disgruntled members of the British Conservative Party have opted to wait until an internal inquiry presents its findings on a series of allegedly illegal parties held at Downing Street during lockdown before deciding whether to launch a leadership challenge against prime minister Boris Johnson.

A host of MPs this week said they were preparing to lodge signatures with the 1922 Committee, the Conservative Party’ parliamentary group, to begin the process of a leadership challenge against Johnson, for which 54 names are needed.

The UK’s Northern Ireland minister, Conor Burns, told UK media Thursday that Conservative lawmakers would now instead wait for the results of an internal inquiry being conducted by senior civil servant Sue Gray, which are expected next week.

The inquiry is collecting evidence on a series of alleged parties that took place in Downing Street when the UK was in a state of lockdown, including a social gathering attended by Johnson on 20 May 2020.

British political analysts have said that the defection of former Conservative MP Christian Wakeford to the Labour Party on Wednesday may have helped shore up support for the PM within his own ranks.

Wakeford was involved in another controversy on Thursday involving accusations that the government had used blackmail against Conservative Party members to get them to vote in a certain way.

He alleged that the government whips had threatened to remove funding for a new school in his constituency if he did not vote in line with Johnson.

It came after fellow Conservative Party MP William Wragg accused government officials of using such tactics to whip the parliamentary vote.

Speaking during a visit to an NHS hospital in England on Thursday, Johnson said he had “seen no evidence” to support Wragg’s claims. EFE


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