The Tories have a ‘duty to their country’ to keep Boris Johnson in 10 Downing Street until the autumn at the earliest, according to former MP Ann Widdecombe.
The British Prime Minister yesterday admitted attending a Downing Street garden party during the UK lockdown in May 2020.
At least 30 people attended the party at a time when UK rules only allowed people to meet one other person, outdoors with social distancing.
Mr Johnson told the House of Commons that he thought the party was a work event and suggested that “with hindsight” he should have shut it down.
Several senior Conservatives have since joined opposition parties in calling for him to resign.
'Duty to their country'
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe said her former party has a “duty to the country” to keep Mr Johnson on as leader.
“This is entirely the wrong time for the country to be plunged into uncertainty and a leadership election can take months,” she said.
“We have an economy that needs to be rebuilt after COVID. We have record waiting times in the NHS because of COVID. There are still some wrinkles in the Brexit situation to be sorted out. It is entirely the wrong time to say to the country, there is now going to be a gap in the leadership effectively for a few months.
“You will have civil servants not wanting to implement long-term policy because they won’t have any idea who the prime minister is going to be.
“So, I think it is a duty to the country that Boris stays.”
She said Mr Johnson has to now use the time between now and the autumn to “show he really has something to offer the country”.
"Stench of decay"
Also on the show, former UK Labour MP Stephen Pound said claiming now is not the right time is “an argument for never doing anything ever”.
“The idea civil servants will have no respect for the prime minister if we are in the state of a potential leadership campaign – that is for the birds, I am sorry,” he said.
“Boris Johnson can’t simply bluff his out. He can’t simply ruffle his hair and say I had no idea what was going on.”
He said there is now a “stench of decay” about the UK Government with a number of high-profile figures seeking to distance themselves from Mr Johnson.
“There is a feeling that Boris Johnson has run out of road and he will go,” he said. “It is not a question of if, it is a question of when.”
He said the Brexit issues facing the UK are fare more serious than Ms Widdecombe was suggesting.
“For Ann to say there are some wrinkles over Northern Ireland, I mean dear God, it is a lot more than a wrinkle,” he said.
“It is a huge, huge problem and it could be said that, because the situation is so dire, we desperately do need someone at the helm the country has confidence in.”
Ms Widdecombe said she expects the Prime Minister to survive the controversy – with the political mood likely to be very different by the time the next election comes around.
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