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27 January 2022

Why Sue Gray’s report might not bring down Boris Johnson

Conservative MPs prepared to give the Prime Minister another chance may outnumber the rebels.

By Ailbhe Rea

Prince Andrew has bumped Boris Johnson off most of the front pages this morning, as we enter a holding pattern in anticipation of Sue Gray’s inquiry into Number 10 parties.

The police investigation is underway and the Sue Gray report is reportedly finished, with police now poring over every word to determine whether certain publication of details could compromise their own inquiry. But as we wait for a report that contained details serious enough to meet the police’s threshold for criminal investigation, the Prime Minister’s position, strangely enough, seems the most assured it has in weeks. 

No one could be in any doubt watching yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions that Johnson believes he deserves to stay in position, and intends to fight to the bitter end to do so. His bullish performance is underpinned by the shadow whipping operation that has been conducted in the background, with Johnson loyalists hearing Conservative MPs’ concerns and feeding back to him, many seemingly placated by assurances of changes to his personnel and approach. While many MPs have more or less made up their minds to submit a letter when Sue Gray’s report drops, the number content to give Boris Johnson another chance could well be far higher.

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