Boris Johnson: I've seen no evidence of plotters being blackmailed

The PM rejects the claims of a Tory MP, who says rebels face intimidation from ministers.

Newsnight

1/21/2022 2:09:00 AM

'When I was a government whip, [we try] to persuade people the merits of the case.' Business minister GregHands denies claims government whips have threatened to blackmail MPs Newsnight

The PM rejects the claims of a Tory MP, who says rebels face intimidation from ministers.

"The moral decay at the heart of Johnson's government may be even worse than we thought."He added that Mr Wragg's claims had "not been borne out by anybody else", adding: "This is not something that happens".Mr Johnson is facing down an attempt from some Tory MPs to oust him as leader over lockdown parties held in Downing Street.

told the BBC's Political Thinking podcast"At the moment, I'm afraid it does look like checkmate - but whether he can save himself, we'll see".MPs should report intimidation tactics to the police, says William WraggWhy UK prime minister is under pressure to quit

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GregHands Mr Hands fails to understand logic and principle of law. He says he was a Whip. He says he didn't threaten an MP. Therefore, runs his logic, no Whip has threatened or bullied an MP. Mr Hands knows it's a vacuous defence of BorisJohnson but arrogantly thinks we will accept this. GregHands MargaretDunne13 GregHands From a BBC programme no less. These words are from Tory Whip ,Tim Fortesque saying how Whips would get a fellow out of trouble,and call in favours later on Then, Fortescue said problems involving members “might be debt, or it might be a scandal involving small boys”.

GregHands Hands is clearly a liar. Plain and simple. lewis_goodall GregHands How does he know - was he there? GregHands Of course they have been threatened to back Johnson. They simply do not want to lose power and money. GregHands 'Conservative backbenchers believe the whip was 'not there by chance' when Mr Williamson took part in the photocall.'

lewis_goodall GregHands Defence of the Wragg allegations wheeled out... Johnson: ‘I have seen nothing…’ Shock! Tory whip of years ago: ‘It could never happen…’ Clearly doesn’t understand the Johnson Government. Fabricant: ‘I was whipped hundreds of times and never felt a thing’. I can believe that...

GregHands She asked you the same question three times. Should blackmail and threats be reported? You couldn't even give a straight answer. In case you are wondering the answer is always yes. Well it used to be. How much more of this criminality are you willing to defend? GregHands And meanwhile which others were partying?

GregHands JUST LIKE THE GUARDS AT GUANTANAMO BAY

Boris Johnson lockdown parties: David Davis telling PM to resign is 'damaging', Sajid Javid admitsFormer Conservative minister David Davis is the most senior Tory to call for Boris Johnson's resignation as he fights for his political life in the wake of 'partygate'. It is bad news for Johnson if we judge a politician's greatness by his or her impact on the country's conscience as well as by what he or she has done or left undone.

GregHands Let me make you an offer you can’t refuse……. GregHands There's *persuading people of the merits of a case* by rational, calm, intellectual argument and then there's *persuading people of the merits of a case* by holding a gun to their head. One of those options is morally bad. GregHands Seems some disagree with your view GregHands

GregHands GregHands GregHands as a constituent what I want to hear when someone asks my MP if people should report bullying or blackmail. The answer is always 'yes they should' - it doesn't matter if you believe them or not! lewis_goodall GregHands Let’s hope there’s no one prepared to come forward with evidence. If they do, he’s gonna look pretty foolish

GregHands If you are looking to help out people this year - then ZERO VAT on fuel will be a great assistance. Do you really want to see British families freeze and run the risk of financial hardship? Haven't people been through enough these last couple of years!!!!!!!!! GregHands That's it Greg, rally around the most corrupt PM in British History. It's all come out now, the Tory dam has been breached and all this vile and sleazy information is gushing out! How can you defend the indefensible?

GregHands ToryIncompetence ToriesOutNow ToriesDevoidOfShame ToryLies WorkEvent PartyGate ThePartyIsOver ToriesPartiedWhilePeopleDied PorkPiePlot GregHands This fool has just proved the point, Tories think bullying is ok, must take them back to their Private school education, it’s In the public domain, that physical abuse was prolific. I wonder if, this is Johnson’s style bite down and don’t squeal, that brutality is ok.

Tory civil war: 58 MPs criticise Boris Johnson over 'partygate' as rebels plot to oust PMTHE CIVIL WAR inside the Conservative Party looks set to continue as new research suggests 58 Tory MPs have criticised Boris Johnson or his operation over 'partygate'.

lewis_goodall GregHands Well he would do wouldn’t he? He is mired in the old guard way of working and he doesn’t understand that the new class of 2019 and those on the outside of parliament expect better from elected representatives GregHands How can you tell when Conservatives with 'Parliamentary powers' are lying? . . Their lips move. TorySleaze ToryCorruption ToryLiars

lewis_goodall GregHands shame on him you can tell he is lying. From Brexit until now always hiding what he is thinking in the interests of his political career. lewis_goodall GregHands lewis_goodall GregHands Totally unconvincing argument from an ex government wip using his amazing powers of persuasion.

lewis_goodall GregHands Car crash interview. GregHands bullshit GregHands Oh no, back to the non answering of hypothetical questions! When will Government Ministers realize that this isn’t the “get out of jail free card” that they think it is! lewis_goodall GregHands GregHands Despite Fabricant saying it was all perfectly normal and part of parliamentary life. No one believes you.

Boris Johnson: Will PM survive Partygate scandal?Boris Johnson led the Tories to election victory in 2019, but the comfort of a majority has been shattered, replaced by one political crisis after another. He has shrugged off many scandals in the past, but can he survive Partygate? wizbates reports. wizbates Britain's trump, probably even worse given his establishment background wizbates Go after him for the regular trips to Chequers. Much easier to prove and Buckinghamshire police might be more willing also to investigate. Bound to be someone local to the house who works there who will talk. wizbates Hopefully not. It would be better to have a PM who is honest who we can respect even if we disagree with him/her. (I did not like Margaret Thatcher but I did respect her as a leader).

GregHands Not very convincing, is he? GregHands He might want to check out what the Times are reporting tonight. GregHands 'It's a message. It means he didn't see the merits of our case.' GregHands The best cases also have sharp corners. GregHands Not to be trusted or listened to. Hands was obsessively opposed to his Govt’s agenda where env matters were concerned, until he was appointed to Ministerial job at Treasury about 2015. Complete silence thereafter.

lewis_goodall GregHands “This one specific instance that I’ve chosen to show you proves nothing else has ever happened…. Anywhere…ever” 😂 lewis_goodall GregHands They haven’t git a good case in keeping Johnson in power lewis_goodall GregHands MPs *really* need to stop lying. It's doing untold damage to our democracy.

The Queen Teaches Boris Johnson A Lesson On How To Follow Covid RulesThe monarch refused to bend lockdown just for Prince Philip's funeral last year.

Nobody warned me drinks event was against rules - Boris Johnson'The prime minister is in a difficult position because of his behaviour... and Conservative MPs are increasingly uncomfortable.' Former cabinet minister DavidGauke says the PM's interview today has made things 'significantly worse' Newsnight DavidGauke I thought it was incredible Lord Marland described No10 as oppressive, given the amount of money spent on the place, how could it be described as oppressive? DavidGauke stupid woman, does she realise, that Blowjo🤡 is supposed to represent the country, not just the Conservative Party and their up followers. Time they where all gone, they have all been laughing at those of us who have lost family members to Covid due to Conservative incompetence. Europeankelly DavidGauke Why aren’t Tory MPs are not up in arms calling out the lies and corruption!! I’m not interested to read that they are feeling “uncomfortable “! What does that mean? The Tories are destroying our country and each Tory MP is guilty unless they call out the crimes against society

‘Pork pie plot’ could trigger vote of no-confidence in Boris Johnson within daysThe prime minister will answer questions in the Commons on Wednesday. Much ado about nothing in my view. So much work to get done and this is another distraction. The game of politics……..

Pie, pizza and curry - history's tasty political plots Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner called the claims "shocking" and Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey accused Mr Johnson of "acting more like a mafia boss than a prime minister". Scotland's First Minister, the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon, said: "If Tories are threatening to withhold public investment from constituencies as a way of keeping MPs in line then, yes, that's blackmail and intimidation - but it is also corruption. "The moral decay at the heart of Johnson's government may be even worse than we thought." But Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries accused Mr Wragg of "attention-seeking behaviour", calling his accusations "nonsense". And Energy Minister Greg Hands, who used to work as a government whip, said Mr Wakeford was not a "credible source" because his defection meant his job was now to "do down the Conservative Party". He added that Mr Wragg's claims had "not been borne out by anybody else", adding: "This is not something that happens". Media caption, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries calls the blackmail accusations "nonsense" 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. But prominent Tory backbencher, Steve Baker, told the BBC's Political Thinking podcast that it "looks like checkmate" for the prime minister. "Honestly, at the moment, I'm looking to the cabinet for leadership," he told host Nick Robinson. "At the moment, I'm afraid it does look like checkmate - but whether he can save himself, we'll see". In another sign of worsening relations between Mr Johnson and his backbenchers, Mr Wragg launched a stinging attack on the way the government has handled dissent among Tory MPs. Media caption, MPs should report intimidation tactics to the police, says William Wragg Speaking at a Commons committee that he chairs, the MP for Hazel Grove accused government whips - MPs in charge of party discipline - of threatening those suspected of plotting with the removal of government investment in their constituencies. He also said he had received reports of government ministers, advisers and staff at No 10 "encouraging the publication of stories in the press seeking to embarrass" those suspected of lacking confidence in the PM. Why UK prime minister is under pressure to quit Mr Wragg claimed the reports "would seem to constitute blackmail" - and as well as contacting police, affected MPs should contact the Commons Speaker. After the appearance, Mr Wakeford - who defected to the Labour Party on Thursday - said he had been threatened into supporting the government when sitting as a Tory MP. "I was threatened that I would not get the school for Radcliffe if I didn't vote one particular way," he told BBC North West Tonight. "This is a town that's not had a high school for the best part of 10 years and how would you feel with holding back the regeneration of a town for a vote?" He said the incident "didn't sit comfortably" and it led to him "starting to question my place where I was and ultimately to where I am now". Black books and dark arts, quiet words and not so quiet words. The art of persuasion is as old as the stones in Parliament's walls. But William Wragg's intervention stands out because it alleges blackmail, potential criminal wrongdoing and breaches of the ministerial code. One or two are whispering privately here that Mr Wragg is overcooking his argument and has long been outspoken about the prime minister. And a few are saying similar stuff publicly. It's a reminder that while the imminent pressure on Boris Johnson has eased for now, the anger and vitriol provoked by these rows is still very real, very live. Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said "serious allegations" had been made, and MPs with concerns should write to him. He said government ministers and those who work for them "are not above the criminal law," after Mr Wragg said MPs concerned about potential blackmail should contact the Metropolitan Police. But the Speaker added: "The investigation of allegedly criminal conduct is a matter for the police and decisions about prosecution are for the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service]". Media caption, Christian Wakeford says he was threatened to vote in a certain way One rebel MP told the BBC that some dissenters had been threatened with funding cuts, whilst an due next year had also been used to put down rebellion. "It's been done to the weakest to make an example," they added. However, Tory MP Anthony Mangnall, said he had never been threatened, despite rebelling against the government on "quite a lot of matters". Ms Dorries also called Mr Wragg's accusations "disappointing", told BBC West Midlands: "That is nonsense because that is not how government works, and we are the party of government. "The whips have no say over what happens in individual constituencies. "And not only is it nonsense, it is just attention seeking behaviour from William Wragg, who has been a constant critic of the prime minister." Downing Street party row