The Prime Minister may have done enough and promised enough to have averted a challenge to his leadership from his MPs but that doesn’t mean he’s out of the woods. The majority of Welsh Conservatives aren’t yet commenting publicly but those who have, such as Vale of Clwyd’s James Davies, have made it clear that the situation surrounding allegations of parties was “unacceptable” and that things need to change if Boris Johnson is to continue in post. The mood amongst MPs has calmed, I’m told, since yesterday’s publication of Sue Gray’s interim report, but the danger point has not passed. Most Welsh Tories say they are waiting for the findings of the Metropolitan Police investigation before deciding what to do.
Some are reassured by the promises of a shake up at Number 10 and the return of election guru Lynton Crosby. But the PM is “on his final warning” as one put it to me. The party’s Senedd leader Andrew RT Davies wouldn’t add to what he has previously said and was waiting for the full report from Sue Gray and the police investigation to conclude. Of those who have spoken in public, the Wales Office minister David TC Davies told us that the prime minister continues to have his confidence.
"I'm very pleased that we've had a full apology for what happened in 10 Downing Street and the errors that took place there.
"It's clearly wrong that people were socialising and drinking alcohol during lockdown... I fully understand the anger about this and believe it's been put right.
"As far as I'm concerned, the prime minister has to take responsibility for what went on in No. 10 - one of the problems here is that people look at 10 Downing Street on the telly and they see a house. The reality is it's part of the complex interlinked series of over a hundred rooms, including the press conference rooms and the like."
The MP for Ynys Môn, Virginia Crosbie told ITV Wales: "The majority of my constituents have been absolutely clear to me over the last few days that they want action from the UK Government on the issues that really matter to them. “That’s investment, jobs, the levelling up agenda and being part of the green revolution, including new nuclear Wylfa Newydd. “The excitement about these big-ticket items has risen since the Prime Minister visited Anglesey last week and said he remains a fervent supporter of new nuclear power here on the island. I thank him for coming and giving real leadership on this crucial issue for thousands of local people. “On Monday, the PM accepted the findings of the independent Sue Gray report and has assured parliament and myself personally that he will act swiftly and decisively on her recommendations. I welcome this.” Vale of Clwyd MP, Dr James Davies, said: "When I first learned of these alleged incidents, it was with disbelief and then anger, given all that we as a country have been through over the last two years. Like many, I have lost a relative with Covid and, throughout the pandemic, living with restrictions has been extremely trying for all. “It is my view that those who set rules must always endeavour to adhere to those rules themselves. It is also important to me that the decisions I reach are based on balanced evidence.
"Now that the Sue Gray update has been released, I feel there is sufficient information to reach some conclusions. It is clear that there have been individuals in Government departments who did not understand that they must live by the rules that were in place, and indeed that they were often responsible for setting. This is unacceptable. “I do appreciate that No. 10 is a cramped office complex during which, at the height of the pandemic, it was necessary for very many staff to attend for work purposes, often for long hours. It is also a home to the private residents of No 10 and 11 Downing Street.
"While some of the “gatherings” since publicised appear, in this context, to have reasonably complied with the rules, Sue Gray’s comments, and the involvement of the police, mean that there is strong evidence to suggest that this was not always the case. “It is regrettable that publication of the full details of this behaviour will now have to await a police investigation. It is also regrettable that, in the process, the many thousands in Government and in Parliament who have worked dutifully during the pandemic may feel that their unwavering commitment is being questioned. “I have received a range of views from constituents on how these matters affect their view of the Prime Minister, ranging from deep unhappiness through to strong support.
"I believe integrity is vital in the political process and therefore I welcome the fact that the PM has promised the full Gray report will be published, once the police investigation is complete. I also welcome the PM’s repeated apologies on behalf of all involved. “It is clear in the meantime that the PM intends a radical overhaul of the operation of No 10, which I believe is long overdue.
"I am mindful of the point raised by many that Boris Johnson was elected with a landslide just two years ago and that this democratic decision of the people cannot be overturned by individuals, including former advisers, who appear to have vested interests.
"Equally, however, I will continue to listen to all constituents and work with my Parliamentary colleagues to ensure that, at the conclusion of this very sorry episode, there is faith in the political process in this country going forward and that all those who have knowingly threatened this are held accountable.”