Boris Johnson is “going nowhere” and will not consider resigning over the Downing Street parties scandal engulfing him, the government has said.
Johnson’s position is coming under increasing pressure, after a leaked email from a senior civil servant last night revealed Downing Street had a lockdown-busting “bring your own booze” party on 20 May, 2020.
The email was sent to 100 members of staff and it was reported by ITV that the Prime Minister and his wife attended the event, despite previous assurances he had no knowledge of any Downing Street parties that broke Covid rules.
The Prime Minister faced a barrage of criticism from all sides today as he sent out ministers to defend what was described as “the indefensible” by Labour MP Dame Angela Eagle.
Paymaster general Michael Ellis was charged with answering questions in the House of Commons, with Johnson failing to make a public appearance all day.
Ellis said the allegations of a 20 May party would be probed by senior civil servant Sue Gray as a part of her wider investigation into the many allegations of illegal Downing Street parties throughout 2020.
He also apologised “unreservedly for the upset that these allegations have caused”, but said he could not answer any questions on the latest revelation until Gray reports her findings.
A Number 10 spokesperson also refused to comment on the allegations.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Johnson must “stop lying to the British public”, adding that “your deflections and distractions are absurd”.
Johnson also caught fire from his own side, with former leader of the Scottish Tory party Ruth Davidson telling the BBC that Brits will “never forgive” Johnson for the scandal.
She said the saga “just makes a mockery of this idea that we were doing a national endeavour to try and keep each other safe”.
Tory Plymouth Moor MP Jonny Mercer said the whole thing was “humiliating”.
The ongoing scandal has seriously dented Johnson’s standing with the public since the first allegations of rule-breaking parties emerged late last year.
A YouGov poll out today found 56 per cent of people thought Johnson should resign, with just 27 per cent saying he should stay on in the role.
The Conservatives are now consistently trailing Labour by around eight points in the polls.