A ‘bullish’ Boris Johnson reportedly held a private ‘clear the air’ meeting with Tory MPs shortly after apologizing to the House of Commons for attending a lockdown party.
The prime minister’s appearance in the chamber yesterday was described as “poor and weak”. The Guardians Sketchwriter John Crace. The Independent reported that the apology “failed to appease the conservative critics who are asking for his head.”
in one tweeted Letter of no confidence to Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee, Tory MP Mark Harper told Johnson to quit because of his “unjustifiable” actions.
But acc The mirrorJohnson “earned laughs” from MPs at their private meeting, where he “delivered an apparent slap at Justin Welby” in response to the Archbishop’s criticism in his Easter sermon about the government plans to be broadcast. Asylum seekers to Rwanda.
Journalists who were also present at the gathering behind the doors told The Independent that the Prime Minister’s arrival “was met with sustained table banging and occasional cheers”.
Johnson was flanked by Rishi Sunak, who postponed a trip to the US to show support for his boss. The Prime Minister is said to have briefly expressed “sincere regret” to the assembled MPs before urging them to unite behind him.
The Mirror said that during the 35-minute session in Parliament, “several rounds of laughter and table banging from his supporters could be heard through the doors of the oak-paneled Committee Room”.
Johnson reportedly insisted his plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda was “good policy” despite some “criticism from the BBC and from senior members of the clergy”.
According to a source, Johnson claimed that these members of the clergy “happened to have been less vocal in condemning Vladimir Putin on Easter Sunday than our policy on illegal immigrants.”
“However, two MPs who attended the meeting said they could not recall hearing the comment,” the newspaper said.
Around 20 MPs are said to have asked questions during the clear-the-air meeting, of which only two, from “known critics” of Johnson, were “sceptical”. A ‘bullish’ PM is said to have yelled ‘would you rather have Labour?’
The Telegraph said Jason McCartney, the Tory MP for Colne Valley, was heard telling the PM that Keir Starmer was guilty of “fomenting hysteria” and using language that showed a “visceral hatred” of Johnson.
The Tory leader is reported to have responded that there had been a “broadening of the debate, which does our politics a disservice”.
The times reported that Johnson will order Conservative MPs to block an inquiry into claims he misled Parliament about parties at Downing Street that broke the lockdown.
Tory whips have ordered all MPs to vote against a motion in the House of Commons tomorrow referring Johnson to a formal contempt inquiry by the Commons Committee of Privileges.
But although the prime minister – who has a working majority of 75 – is expected to win the vote, a number of Tory MPs will abstain for fear the issue will “haunt” them in the general election, the newspaper said . These abstentions would be “the first clear sign of the level of concern in the back benches.”
During last night’s private meeting, former Whip Craig Whittaker reportedly “asked Johnson to approach the Privileges Committee himself so MPs could spare a difficult vote.”
The PM is said to have responded by leaving the matter “in the hands of the House of Commons” and dismissively calling the committee “the Bryant Committee” in reference to its leader, the Labor MP Chris Bryant.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/politics/956474/boris-johnsons-clear-the-air-showdown-with-mps Boris Johnson’s ‘clear the air’ showdown with MPs