Boris Johnson, 57, and Carrie Symonds, 33, are alleged to have attended an event with some 40 Downing Street officials and advisers back in May 2020 after an email from the Prime Minister’s Principal Private Secretary Martin Reynolds, 53, revealed over a hundred employees were invited to a ‘bring your own booze’ party. Reports of the gathering, which was described as “socially distanced drinks” while officials made “the most of the lovely weather”, come just weeks after the Prime Minister faced mounting pressure from MPs and the public about other parties held at Number 10, the Department for Education and Conservative Campaign Headquarters.
Senior civil servant Sue Gray will investigate a total of seven alleged lockdown parties.
She is not expected to deliver her report until later next week at the earliest.
However, Cabinet Ministers are now said to have urged Mr Johnson to apologise for the debacle or risk plunging the Government into even greater chaos.
One told the Times: “It’s not terminal yet — there’s still room for humility and a heartfelt apology.
“We’re f****d unless we resolve it.
“Everyone knows this thing happened; nobody is disputing that.
“The row has moved on from whether the party took place to questions around denial and prevarication.
“PMQs will be agonising.
“We f****d up. It doesn’t have to be terminal if he’s prepared to take his medicine.
“But it’s unquestionably done harm.”
Leader of the Scottish Conservatives and the MP for Moray Douglas Ross, 38, went further than Mr Johnson’s Cabinet colleague by calling for the Prime Minister to quit if he attended the party.
Mr Ross, who backed Mr Johnson in the final ballot of the Tory leadership contest in 2019, added: “You cannot put in place these rules, you cannot be the head of the Government that is asking people to follow these rules, and then break those rules yourself.”
“[He] retains the confidence of the people of this country and he did so two years ago with the biggest majority in decades.”
However, polling company YouGov found 56 percent of voters think Mr Johnson should resign.
This includes around one-third of those who backed the Tories in 2019 and 42 percent of Leave-supporters.
But Mr Johnson’s support inside the Tory membership base has also taken a hit.
According to YouGov, the Prime Minister’s approval rating with the Conservative grassroots is almost equal to his predecessor Theresa May, 65, when she controversially unveiled her Chequers plan in July 2018.