Politics Explained

Can Boris Johnson survive or will his party realise he is an electoral loser?

There is little room for sentimentality in the Tory party, and not much gratitude for past glories, writes Sean O’Grady

Wednesday 13 April 2022 23:48
<p>A placard outside Downing Street on Wednesday </p>

A placard outside Downing Street on Wednesday

At first glance, it seems Boris Johnson might survive this latest revelation in the long-running Partygate scandal.

The few Tory MPs who withdrew their letters to the backbench committee calling for Johnson to quit are not changing their mind. Andrew Bridgen, for example, has repeated his belief that the war in Ukraine means this is not the moment. Even Roger Gale, one of Johnson’s most trenchant critics, and someone who still thinks the country would be better off under fresh leadership, wants to pause the procedure for the time being. A bogus argument about war preventing a leadership change seems to be working, apparently meaning that the leadership of the Conservative Party is tied to the relative strengths of the Ukrainian and Russian armed forces.

Scottish Conservative leader, Douglas Ross, who had previously called on the PM to stand down and then reversed his line, was the first major figure to allow Johnson an escape although his TV interview on the topic was like a hostage video. As ever, Michael Fabricant did more harm than good, chucking casual insults at the teaching and nursing professions. Only Ruth Davidson renewed her call to get Johnson out.

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