Political pundits and news presenters have been quick to comment on the movements of important Conservative backbenchers during Boris Johnson’s response in Parliament to the findings of the Sue Grey report. Heavy hitters on the Government benches such as former Brexit Secretary David Davis and former Party leader Theresa May were either absent or were spotted slipping out of the Chamber during the Prime Minister’s address, something GB New’s Gloria De Piero believes is grounds for Boris Johnson to “be concerned.”
Ms De Piero told GB News: “What struck me about the Tory benches because what we were really interested in as observers of this is whether Conservative MPs were either going to attack or defend.
“We wanted to see what the big figures were going to do, Theresa May, Steve Baker, David Davis, the movers, and shakers.
“People like that were absent, Theresa May left very early on the statement. Where are those people? That’s what I would want to know, I suspect that’s what the Prime Minister wants as well because he would be…there’s something eerie about what we just witnessed there.”
GB New’s presenter Liam Halligan added: “We know the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers meets earlier this evening, I think about five o’clock and it sounds insular but these are the important people because these are the people who can remove the Prime Minister right.
“If 15 percent of those Tory MPs I think it’s 54 submit their letter of resignation, that the Prime Minister should resign there is a Tory leadership contest.
“We could get a new Prime Minister”
Ms De Piero continued: “But the nature of that statement, where were they? Either to condemn or to support.
“My sense is there is a meeting going on somewhere in Westminster and that should be a concern for the Prime Minister.”
At the despatch box on Wednesday, Mr Johnson was forced to field a string of hostile questions from fellow Conservatives and opposition politicians over the Sue Gray investigation into lockdown-breaching parties in Whitehall.
The Prime Minister robustly denied he had willing lied in the Commons over the partygate affair, an offence which traditionally ends in the offender resigning from office.
Speaking on the publication of Sue Gray’s report, Mr Johnson argued he had been “vindicated” by the senior civil servant’s findings.
Nevertheless, the Prime Minister has been issued a fixed penalty notice for being present at a birthday party held in his honour at Number 10 when strict lockdown rules in England prohibited such indoor social gatherings.
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He told MPs: “I am happy to set on the record now that when I said – I came to this House and said in all sincerity – the rules and guidance had been followed at all times, it was what I believed to be true.
“It was certainly the case when I was present at gatherings to wish staff farewell, and the House will note that my attendance at these moments – brief as it was – has not been found to be outside the rules.
“But clearly this was not the case for some of those gatherings after I had left, and at other gatherings when I was not even in the building.
“So I would like to correct the record, to take this opportunity, not in any sense to absolve myself of responsibility – which I take and have always taken – but simply to explain why I spoke as I did in this House.”