The Conservative peer warned Mr Johnson to “beware the silent Cabinet minister” as he navigates calls for his resignation. He compared the Prime Minister’s current situation to one experienced by previous Conservative Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. Mr Johnson has faced calls to resign after he admitted to attending a “bring your own booze” party in the Number 10 garden May 20, 2020.
At this time, the UK was under strict lockdown rules.
People in England were not allowed to leave the house without a reasonable excuse and could only meet one person outside their household in an outdoor setting while exercising.
Although Mr Johnson admitted to attending the gathering in the garden but denies knowing it was a social event.
He told the House of Commons that he had stayed at the drinks for 25 minutes to thank staff for their hard work and had believed it to be a work gathering.
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Lord Tebbit wrote in the Telegraph: “To add to [Mr Johnson’s] troubles, three of his Cabinet colleagues — Rishi Sunak, Dominic Raab and Michael Gove — were anxious to let it be known that they were not at the party, but were busy at their departmental duties.
“That reminded me of the fall of Prime Minister Thatcher when John Major pleaded that he was unable to get to Westminster to support her due to a painful wisdom tooth, which eased just in time to let him arrive in Westminster to stand as the ‘Keep Heseltine out’ candidate and be elected as her successor.”
Lord Tebbit was a minister under Mrs Thatcher and considered standing for the Conservative leadership following her resignation in 1990.
However, he came to the decision not to stand due to a commitment he had made to his wife to retire from front-line politics.
His wife, Margaret, had been left permanently disabled – and Lord Tebbit injured – in the Provisional Irish Republican Army’s bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton during the Conservative Party Conference.
Rishi Sunak has been criticised for not supporting the Prime Minister enough after his apology in the Commons last week.
While the Prime Minister was defending himself in the Commons, the Chancellor was more than 200 miles away visiting a pharmaceutical purifying plant in Ilfracombe.
Hours after the Commons apology, Mr Sunak wrote: “I’ve been on a visit all day today continuing work on our Plan For Jobs as well as meeting MPs to discuss the energy situation.
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“The PM was right to apologise and I support his request for patience while Sue Gray carries out her enquiry.”
Meanwhile, Michael Gove and Dominic Raab were quick to distance themselves from the Prime Minister in his hour of need, insisting they did not attend the event.
Tory backbenchers have been left furious at the fallout from the row, with multiple MPs demanding their leader’s resignation.
Six have publicly admitted to submitting no confidence letters in the Prime Minister, although some believe the figure could be as high as 30.