Keir Starmer tells Tory MPs to ‘oust’ Boris Johnson amid Downing Street party row

The Labour leader branded Boris Johnson ‘unfit’ for office amid widespread anger about allegations of lockdown-busting parties in Westminster last year

Keir Starmer said Boris Johnson was ‘unfit’ to lead

Keir Starmer has called on Tory MPs to oust Boris Johnson as the under-fire PM faces mounting anger from his own party.

In his strongest comments yet, the Labour leader said Mr Johnson was “unfit” for office and asked Conservatives how long they were prepared to keep on “defending the indefensible”.

The Prime Minister is battling on several fronts after a wave of damaging allegations that seven separate lockdown-busting parties were held in Westminster in the run-up to Christmas last year.

Claims have now emerged that Boris Johnson’s top spin doctor Jack Doyle made a thank you speech and handed out spoof awards to Downing Street staff at a No10 festive bash on December 18.

Sources have told ITV News that Mr Doyle, who was then deputy director of communications, held a joke awards ceremony for staff at the bash, which is now the subject of a Cabinet Office probe.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson is also accused of lying to a probe by his standards advisor Lord Geidt which cleared him of breaking rules over the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat.

Boris Johnson is fighting fires on all fronts



And he faces a potential Tory rebellion over new Covid plan B measures, which include the introduction of vaccine passports for large events.

Labour has vowed to back the measures, meaning they will pass, but dozens of Tory MPs have spoken out publicly against the plans.

It comes as an exclusive poll for the Mirror found Labour has opened up a six-point lead over the Tories.

The survey, conducted by Survation on December 1, after the Mirror’s bombshell story about No 10’s rule-breaking party, sees support for Labour soar to 40% (+1%) while the Conservatives slump to 34%.

Mr Starmer tweeted: “Boris Johnson is unfit to lead our country.”

He also told The Telegraph: “I’m confident we’re going to win the next general election, whether that’s in 2023 or 2024.

“So the question – and this is really the question that I think is central now – for the Cabinet, for ministers and for all Tory MPs, frankly, is are they prepared to endure the next two years of increased degradation of themselves and their party, being put out to defend the indefensible and bringing themselves and their party into further disrepute?

“Because this isn’t going to change – he’s unfit for office, it isn’t going to change. Or are they going to do something about it?”

Asked if he was urging MPs to overthrow the PM, he said: “I think they have to make that decision. This isn’t going change.”

Allegra Stratton resigned as an adviser to Boris Johnson after footage emerged of her joking about a Christmas party last year



A senior Conservative MP said Boris Johnson needed to “come clean” on lots of issues – and warned he needed to “differentiate between his private life and public life”.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Treasurer of the powerful Tory backbench 1922 Committee, warned the PM that he needed to come back “refreshed” after Christmas.

The Cotswolds MP said: “He’s got to come clean on a lot of the issues that you mentioned in your opening news.

“We’re all about to go for a Christmas break. If he comes back in the new year refreshed, able to differentiate between his private life and public life, and clarify all the issues and then start to do the really big issues that this country needs – restoring the NHS, dealing with carbon emissions and Cop26, how we deal with the economy, helping businesses – we can really get onto that agenda away from these other, sort of, personal issues, then I think he’s fine.

“But if we go on having these – what I call personal issues, issues of judgment by the Prime Minister – then I think that’s a very different scenario.”

Cabinet Secretary Simon Case has been tasked with leading a probe into allegations of three parties in Westminster after Mr Johnson finally apologised for a No10 Christmas party on December 18, first revealed by the Mirror.

Mr Johnson told the Commons he was “sickened and furious” at a clip of his staff laughing about the Christmas bash four days after it happened – when lockdown rules banned social gatherings.

Downing Street stonewalled questions for a week and claimed there was no party, but on Wednesday the PM announced a probe and disciplinary action for any rule-breakers.

Alongside the December 18 party, Mr Case will include in his review a confirmed gathering at the Department for Education on December 10 last year, and a reported leaving event for a No 10 aide – allegedly attended by Boris Johnson – on November 27.

Small business minister Paul Scully said it was key to “get to the bottom” of the allegations.

He said the probe had been launched as “we want to see beyond doubt that there were no rules broken, which is what the assurances have been to the Prime Minister, and that’s what I’ve heard.”

“I wasn’t there. I don’t know,” he told BBC Breakfast.

He added: “Look, I feel very comfortable about the Prime Minister’s integrity. Clearly though, I don’t feel comfortable about the fact that it’s been a difficult week for the Government.”

He refused to comment on reports the PM’s top spin doctor Jack Doyle attended the December 18 bash and gave a speech.

Downing Street refused to comment further than to say a fact-finding review was ongoing.

Mr Doyle has been approached for comment.

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