Partygate: 5 lurking threats that would nonetheless harm Boris Johnson | Boris Johnson

For the primary time in lots of weeks, Boris Johnson is not going to should surprise this weekend if he’s about to be toppled by Tory MPs offended concerning the Partygate scandal. Following the top of the police inquiry into a number of events in Whitehall, a few of the prime minister’s most ardent backbench critics have withdrawn their confidence letters from the 1922 Committee – which might have meant a vote on his management.

But there are different doubtlessly damaging challenges earlier than this summer time that would add to the impression Johnson’s days are numbered.

The Sue Gray report

Next week is prone to see the publication of the report by the senior civil servant Sue Gray, who oversaw an inquiry into the Partygate scandal.

There are studies that the doc can be extremely essential of Johnson, each for attending a few of the occasions and for the tradition in No 10 underneath his management.

It could assist reply whether or not the prime minister knew the principles have been being damaged. The language Gray makes use of can be key to how damaging the revelations can be for Johnson.

Privileges committee inquiry

In one more undesirable precedent, Johnson will face a Commons inquiry over whether or not he lied to parliament about Downing Street events and whether or not he attended them. No prime minister has beforehand been referred to the committee for scrutiny.

The inquiry is predicted to concentrate on Johnson’s responses to questions within the Commons in 2021 about studies that there had been events in No 10. He responded to many questions with assurances that the principles and steerage had been adopted.

The ministerial code that bears the prime minister’s signature states clearly that ministers who intentionally mislead are anticipated to supply their resignation.

The committee may have wide-ranging powers to name for papers and different evidential paperwork – comparable to images, which might show significantly damning for Johnson – and summon witnesses. But Johnson will know that there’s an in-built authorities majority on the seven-strong committee, which can not want to pressure him from workplace.


Having survived the native elections, Johnson is braced for 2 extra doubtlessly damaging electoral battles in June. The Conservative celebration will hope to struggle off a Lib Dem problem in Tiverton and Honiton, the place the celebration is working second; and in Wakefield, the place the Tories unexpectedly received in 2019 however now face a resurgent Labour celebration.

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Both contests will carry the pervasive stench of Tory sleaze – the Devon seat was vacated by Neil Parish, who admitted to twice watching pornography within the Commons chamber. The West Yorkshire seat is free after Imran Ahmad Khan resigned in April following his conviction for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

Northern Ireland protocol

Johnson has mentioned the federal government will introduce a brand new regulation that can override the Brexit deal it signed with the EU, which set down commerce guidelines for Northern Ireland. He is being cheered on by Brexiter commentators and the DUP, and a row with the EU does win approval from the Tory base vote.

But he should keep away from a number of pitfalls that would have monumental penalties for the UK. The EU has mentioned it might launch a commerce conflict if the UK breaks a global settlement; present guidelines would enable the buying and selling bloc to hit UK items with tariffs inside seven days of authorized motion or freeze the whole commerce deal. Alternatively, it might droop components of the settlement.

Any transfer unilaterally to interrupt the transfer might spark the ire of Joe Biden’s administration which pays an in depth curiosity within the island of Ireland. The US House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, a number one Democrat, mentioned this week that Congress “cannot and will not support a bilateral free trade agreement” with the UK if it undermined the association.

Windfall tax

How to confront the rising price of dwelling disaster whereas elevating money to pay for levelling up is the issue many “red wall” Tories need Johnson to deal with.

Ministers are reportedly uncomfortable with an absence of coverage initiatives. Multiple studies say No 10 is engaged in a battle with Rishi Sunak’s Treasury over how to reply to Labour’s name for a windfall tax on vitality corporations, which have loved bumper earnings as costs soar. Johnson is being urged by Tories to set out another.

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