Police investigation brings the end of Boris Johnson’s premiership nearer

Now that the alleged lockdown parties are a potentially criminal matter, the prime minister’s position has become more perilous, writes John Rentoul

Tuesday 25 January 2022 19:12
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<p>Today, Cressida Dick said that she thinks there is a strong case that the law has been broken</p>

Today, Cressida Dick said that she thinks there is a strong case that the law has been broken

If 54 Conservative MPs were going to demand a vote of confidence in Johnson’s leadership when Sue Gray’s report came out, it might be thought that they would do so now. The prospect of the police investigating whether the prime minister broke the law during lockdowns puts a lot of pressure on MPs to do whatever they can to make the bad headlines stop.

On the other hand, Michael Ellis, the paymaster general (an antique title bestowed on the “minister for replying to questions about scandals in parliament”), pleaded with Tory MPs to assume Boris Johnson is innocent unless proven otherwise. Some MPs might be persuaded that they should wait until the police have completed their inquiries, but I had assumed that there were enough who had already made up their minds to trigger a vote of confidence.

Today, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, Cressida Dick, said that she thinks there is a strong case that the law has been broken. Given how reluctant the police were to get involved, after they made fools of themselves in pursuing the doomed cash-for-peerages allegations against Tony Blair 16 years ago, she needed wild horses to drag her to water.

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