A ministerial aide who publicly defended Boris Johnson privately told a constituent the prime minister’s position appeared “terminal” amid the fallout from partygate allegations.
The comments from Lucy Allan, the Conservative MP for Telford and parliamentary private secretary to cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg, come as the prime minister faces the prospect of being questioned by police over parties held in No 10.
After Mr Johnson was dealt a blow following the resignation of key aides from No 10, including his longstanding ally Munira Mirza, Ms Allan said in a letter to a constituent last week that she did not support efforts to remove the prime minister.
However, according to Politico, she added that in her own view “the position now appears terminal.”
Asked about the correspondence, she later told the news website: “The phrase ‘terminal’ was used in one letter to one constituent.
“At the time of writing to that constituent the PM’s position did indeed appear ‘terminal’ but that is not the case today.
“The PM is building a new team and is earning back support. But of course, there may be more to come out including the outcome of a police investigation”.
She also told The Independent Mr Johnson’s position had “improved” since last Friday following the mini-reshuffle and recent appointments to the No 10 team.
Her private remarks, however, will be viewed a sign of the unease within the party over the prime minister’s perilous position, with the Met police expected to contact over 50 individuals in No 10 and Whitehall in the coming days.
As part of Operation Hillman, those contacted will be sent a questionnaire with “formal legal status”, which will request “an account and explanation of the recipient’s participation in an event”.
While some Tory MPs have already submitted letters of no confidence in Mr Johnson, many are reserving judgement on Mr Johnson’s premiership until the Met police concludes its investigation and Downing Street publishes Whitehall mandarin Sue Gray’s internal report into allegations of rule-breaking parties in No 10 in full.
Just yesterday Ms Allan defended the prime minister and criticised the former Tory leader Sir John Major, who delivered a scathing analysis of the current government.
The former prime minister said Mr Johnson and his officials had flouted lockdown laws, “shredded” Britain’s reputation, and urged Conservative MP to “put country before party”.
Ahead of Sir John’s speech, Ms Allan, who works under Mr Mogg – the recently appointed Brexit “opportunities” minister – posted on social media: “Trying to remove an elected PM with a huge personal mandate, mid-term, is anti-democratic”.
“Those who seek to do so are destablising democracy,” she added. “If you respect democracy, Mr Major, Mrs May, Mr Heseltine et al, do it through the ballot box, not by abusing your power and influence”.