Tory MPs mocked for tweeting bizarre identikit messages in support of Boris Johnson

Leadership loyalists take to social media to save PM’s job

Jon Stone
Policy Correspondent
Friday 04 February 2022 12:27
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Conservative MPs have been mocked for tweeting bizarre identikit messages in support of Boris Johnson – apparently under orders from their party.

The almost identical posts were all sent just before 8.30pm on Thursday night as the prime minister faced an avalanche of resignations from Downing Street.

The messages all claimed that the resignations were good news for the PM because he had promised to overhaul his No 10 operation and replace staff.

One such message was posted by Joy Morrissey, Tory MP for Beaconsfield, who said: "The PM promised changes to the No10 operation earlier this week, glad to see him delivering tonight."

But she was swiftly followed three minutes later by Lichfield MP, Michael Fabricant, who posted: "The PM promised changes to the No10 operation at the 1922 [committee] on Monday, and it's good to see action is now swiftly being taken."

Stuart Anderson, a Wolverhampton Tory had posted just minutes before: "On Monday Boris Johnson promised MPs change. Tonight we see that change starting to happen and I welcome this quick action by the prime minister."

And Darlington MP Peter Gibson said: "Great to see the change that Boris Johnson promised in Downing Street being delivered."

The thoughts were also echoed in strikingly similar terms at the same time by Chris Clarkson, MP for Heywood and Middleton, who said: "Earlier this week the PM promised the parliamentary party swift and decisive change at No.10 to get us back on course and focused on people's priorities - pleased to see true to his word he's delivering." Other Tory MPs also joined in posting very similar messages.

Responding to the posts, Louise Haigh, a Labour MP tweeted sardonically: "This is extremely convincing."

Despite the Tory MPs' claims otherwise, the most explosive departure from No 10 on Thursday did not appear to be on the orders of Mr Johnson.

Policy chief Munira Mirza, who has worked with the prime minister since he was Mayor of London, quit dramatically on Thursday afternoon, citing the PM's discredited attempt to try and link Keir Starmer to notorious sex offender Jimmy Savile.

Other departures includes Jack Doyle, the PM's director of communications, Martin Reynolds, his principal private secretary, and the prime minister’s chief of staff, Dan Rosenfield.

The latter three departures were reportedly part of a clearout of senior Downing Street staff designed to help Johnson avoid personal blame for the string of 12 allegedly lockdown-breaching social events currently being investigated by the Metropolitan Police.

Many Tory MPs have made a shake-up of senior personnel at No 10 a key demand if they are to hold back from ousting Mr Johnson in a vote of no confidence. In his partygate apology earlier this week, he promised to reshape the operation as an Office of the Prime Minister under a civil service permanent secretary.

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