Boris Johnson’s team accused of using blackmail against rebel MPs

Boris Johnson’s team has been accused by a senior Conservative MP of seeking to “blackmail” rebel Tories intent on ousting the prime minister, fuelling a toxic atmosphere in the party.

William Wragg, one of seven Conservative MPs to call for Johnson to quit, claimed Tory whips — the party’s parliamentary business managers — were “threatening to withhold investments from MPs’ constituencies that are funded from the public purse”.

Wragg, chair of the House of Commons public administration select committee, said the “intimidation of a member of parliament is a serious matter” and advised colleagues to take complaints to the police.

Speaking at a meeting of his committee, he claimed “members of staff at Number 10, special advisers, government ministers and others” were involved in a smear operation against rebel Tories.

He said they were “encouraging the publication of stories in the press, seeking to embarrass those they suspect of lacking confidence in the prime minister”. He said this seemed to him “to constitute blackmail”.

Johnson challenged Wragg’s claims, saying he had “seen no evidence to support any of those allegations”.

But Christian Wakeford, the former Tory MP for Bury South who defected to Labour on Wednesday, claimed he was told his constituency would “not get a school” if he did not vote in a particular way.

“How would you feel if when they hold back the regeneration of a town for a vote,” he said, claiming that bullying by Conservative whips had been one of the factors behind his defection.

If true, then the threats from BJ are another indication of his self-serving predilections … :exclamation:

Mr Johnson told reporters on Thursday he had “seen no evidence [and] heard no evidence” of Mr Wragg’s claims, but he would look into them.

Mr Johnson is facing down an attempt from some Tory MPs to oust him as leader over lockdown parties held in Downing Street.

He has called on potential rebels to wait for the outcome of civil servant Sue Gray’s inquiry into parties, expected next week, before passing judgement on him.

I wonder what sort of pressure Sue Gray is experiencing … :question:

No 10 said it had not seen any proof of such behaviour.

A spokesman said they would look “carefully” at any evidence presented to them but they were not seeking it.

Asked whether Boris Johnson would condemn any attempt to blackmail MPs, his deputy official spokesman said: “It’s obviously the role of whips to encourage MPs.”

Obfuscation … :icon_rolleyes:

I never had the Dishonourable Johnson down as an AC/DC fan. But he seems very keen on Dirty Deeds, Done Cheap.