Tory hits back at boos for Boris Johnson – ‘Politicians don’t expect to be popular all the time’

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps warned against “over-interpreting” the chilly reception Boris Johnson received from some members of the public at anniversary events.

Boris Johnson was greeted with boos at anniversary events this weekend
Boris Johnson was greeted with boos at anniversary events this weekend

A Cabinet minister has tried to downplay public boos for scandal-hit Boris Johnson, claiming “politicians don’t expect to be popular all the time”.

The celebratory Prime Minister was greeted by a chorus of boos as he arrived for a Jubilee thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday, in scenes that will alarm Downing Street.

He was also booed by some members of the public at a concert in honor of the Queen at Buckingham Palace on Saturday.

The scenes come ahead of a crunch week for Mr Johnson, which has seen speculation mounting that he could face a no-confidence vote within days.

Backbench Tory leader Sir Graham Brady needs to receive more than 54 letters from MPs – or 15% of the parliamentary party – to trigger a vote.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps insisted journalists “overinterpreted” the frosty reception the Prime Minister received when confronted with clips of crowds booing Mr Johnson.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (centre) with Boris Johnson (r) and London Mayor Sadiq Khan



He told the BBC on Sunday morning: “There were also people cheering for him. They don’t ask me why they did it.

“Look, politicians don’t expect to be popular all the time. Governing the country is a job that often involves making difficult decisions.

“I wasn’t there but I heard people booing, I heard people cheering. I think it’s best to get on with the task at hand – to rule the country – rather than get unduly distracted by the clips being played.”

Top Tory tried to downplay the boos, likening them to former Chancellor George Osborne being taunted at the 2012 Paralympics medals ceremony.

Mr Shapps added: “That didn’t mean the 2015 election wasn’t won. I think you’re interpreting a little too much if you don’t mind me saying that.”

He also dismissed growing speculation that Mr Johnson will face a no-confidence vote as early as this week as anger at Partygate mounts among Tories.

When asked if the Prime Minister would win such a vote, he said: “Yes, he will.”

About 30 Conservative MPs have publicly called for Mr Johnson to step down and letters continued to pour into the committee after Sue Gray’s Partygate report of 1922.

Tory rebels appeared to have promised a jubilee deadline, but the 54-letter threshold has reportedly been reached.

Officials of the 1922 Executive are scheduled to vote on Wednesday, according to the Sunday Times.

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