Boris Johnson loyalists in final push for support ahead of party probe publication

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions
While some Tory MPs want Boris Johnson to go, many others are still loyal to him. Credit: PA

As Parliament waits for the Sue Gray report, there is a big push from Boris Johnson loyalists in the Conservative Party to try to shore up his support. I’ve been told that a WhatsApp group has been set up with more than 100 MPs on it, who are being sent out instructions to help persuade other colleagues to give their prime minister their support. Around 30 met tonight in Parliament to discuss what can be done. The names of possible supporters have come from the emergence of a shadow whipping operation in which key allies of the PM – including Nigel Adams, Chris Heaton Harris, Conor Burns and Christopher Pincher. I understand Michael Gove is also hitting the phones in support of Johnson.

Deputy Political Editor Anushka Asthana reports on the reaction to the news the Met Police is investigating Downing Street parties and the wait for Sue Gray's report

In discussions, it appears that many of these MPs still believe there is a chance to get Johnson through this, but they believe that winning back the support of the country – and the parliamentary party afterwards could be an uphill struggle. One MP argued it would need a “fundamental change of personnel in Downing Street” afterwards, with the whole operation more focused on supporting Johnson and implementing his agenda. Less supportive MPs – who think this situation is now “grim” for the party have used more scathing language, claiming it was less a need for “a night of the long knives and more a week of the machete”. Others think this is a totally unfair shift of focus, arguing that the tone is set by Johnson himself.