Lurching to the defence of Boris Johnson in the wake of the damning Sue Gray report which accused the Prime Minister of “failures of leadership”, Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, told GB News that he was fed up with the continued criticism of Mr Johnson following the ‘partygate’ scandal and urged fellow MPs to focus on what Mr Johnson has achieved during his premiership.
Taking direct aim at rebel backbenchers vying to oust Mr Johnson through a vote of no-confidence, Mr Rees-Mogg claimed Tory rebels “serve neither the party nor the country” with their behaviour.
He told Colin Brazier: “They serve neither the party nor the country in doing this, they forget the mandate that Boris Johnson got in December 2019 and the success of the Government he leads.”
He went on to claim how Britain has been through a difficult period over the pandemic, but insisted Mr Johnson has been the right leader for the country during this period.
The North East Somerset MP claimed: “Out economy is back to where it started, how did it manage that? It managed that because of the £400 billion of taxpayers’ money that Boris Johnson approved to spend on the furlough scheme, on bounce-back loans.”
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He added that the vaccine rollout was a “huge success” for Mr Johnson which eclipsed many countries Europe, as he launched further into his defence of the Prime Minister amid a crisis at the heart of Government.
Mr Rees-Mogg also praised Brexit as “another success” of Mr Johnson, which he said was something the Prime Minister delivered on where his counterpart Theresa May “was unable” to.
He also noted “the openness we had over Christmas” with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions as another “big decision” which the Prime Minister “consistently gets right”.
But he slammed the debate around Mr Johnson’s multiple COVID-19 rule breaking bashes in Number 10, including his June 19, 2020 birthday party, where he was “ambushed” by a Union Jack cake.
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Mr Rees-Mogg slammed: ”And what we are quibbling about is whether he had a slice of cake or not!”
He went on to brand discussions around Mr Johnson’s birthday party as “second tier in terms of the interests of the nation” as he urged MPs to back the Prime Minister moving forward as fears mount of a no confidence vote in the Prime Minister.
The birthday party in question is believed to have taken place in the Cabinet room and thrown by wife Carrie Johnson, Marks & Spencer party food is believed to have been enjoyed at the bash where Tory MP Conor Burns claimed the Prime Minister was “ambushed” by cake.
Twelve of the sixteen bashes Sue Gray investigated, including the birthday party, are now being investigated by the Metropolitan police, the Prime Minsiter said he was “sorry” for the parties in a statement on Monday.
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The Sue Gray report also called on major changes to be made Downing Street operations, arguing how the number of staff working in No 10 Downing Street has “steadily increased in recent years”.
She stressed the situation as being “more akin to a small Government Department than purely a dedicated Prime Minister’s office” adding that the drinking culture in No 10 must end.
Ms Gray added: “The structures that support the smooth operation of Downing Street, however, have not evolved sufficiently to meet the demands of this expansion. The leadership structures are fragmented and complicated and this has sometimes led to the blurring of lines of accountability.”
“Too much responsibility and expectation is placed on the senior official whose principal function is the direct support of the Prime Minister. This should be addressed as a matter of priority.”