William Wragg Alleges 'Blackmail' Against Tory Mps Plotting Against Boris Johnson
In the latest salacious twist in the Partygate scandal, a Tory MP has now accused Number 10 of "blackmailing" rebels who are plotting to oust Boris Johnson.
William Wragg, the Conservative chair of the Commons public administration and constitutional affairs committee (PAC) who is among those calling for the PM to resign, told the committee this morning that MPs "have faced pressures and intimidation" for turning against Johnson, alleged Johnson loyalists are "encouraging the publication" of embarrassing stories in the press to "blackmail" their opponents and claimed whips had threatened to withdraw funding from the constituencies of MPs opposing the PM.
He urged MPs to contact the Metropolitan Police if they had been threatened or intimidated.
WATCH: Tory committee chair William Wragg MP accuses No 10 of blackmailing backbenchers who have considered calling for vote of confidence in the PM.pic.twitter.com/TLyohZMill
"In recent days a number of members of parliament have faced pressures and intimidation from members of the government because of their declared or assumed desire for a vote of confidence in the party leadership of the prime minister.
"It is of course the duty of the government whip’s office to secure the government’s business in the house of commons.
"However it is not their function to breach the ministerial code in threatening to withdraw investments from members of parliament’s constituencies which are funded from the public purse.
"Additionally, reports to me and others of members of staff at No 10 Downing Street, special advisers, government ministers and others encouraging the publication of stories in the press seeking to embarrass those who they suspect of lacking confidence in the prime minister is simply unacceptable.
"The intimidation of a member of parliament is a serious matter. Moreover, the reports of which I’m aware would seem to constitute blackmail. As such, it would be my general advice to colleagues report these matters to the speaker of the house of commons and the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, and they’re also welcome to contact me at any time."
It comes as the latest blow for Johnson's administration after the consequences of Partygate rumble on. After he admitted he attended an organised drinks event in May 2020 he apologised but said he believed it to be a "work event" then later claimed he had not been told it was in breach of the rules.
Meanwhile, Wragg is among seven Tory MPs who have publicly called for Johnson to do one, and it is rumoured that an unconfirmed number of MPs are filing letters of no confidence in the PM to trigger a vote that could end his premiership.
How's all that for January blues?
Reacting to Wragg's allegations, people were shocked.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:
Lib Dems' @EdwardJDavey: "All @BorisJohnson cares about is saving his own skin. He\u2019s acting more like a mafia boss than a PM\n"These latest allegations of criminal behaviour are yet more proof a civil servant investigation into Partygate is inadequate. The Met must investigate"
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner called for the "shocking accusations" of bullying and blackmail to be investigated.
She tweeted: "These are shocking accusations of bullying, blackmail (and) bad behaviour from people in positions of power.
"We need this to be investigated thoroughly."
Camilla Cavendish, head of policy for David Cameron, called the allegations “unprecedented” – saying the whips had moved into “mafia territory”, if true.
And Alistair Carmichael, Lib Dem MP said in the house of commons that the behaviour showed "tactics of the mafia".
Alistair Carmichael - This is a behaviour of a sort I have never heard... this is more like the tactics of the mafia...\n\nMr Speaker - Whips are not above the criminal law... this is a matter for the police & decisions about prosecution are for the CPS..pic.twitter.com/qOyBrXtA7Y
In a statement issued to Sky News, No 10 said:“We are not aware of any evidence to support what are clearly serious allegations. If there is any evidence to support these claims we would look at it very carefully.”
Indy100 has contacted Downing Street to comment on this story.