Correspondent in London
The soap opera by chapters in which politics in the United Kingdom has become in recent weeks due to the revelations of the so-called ‘partygate’, had a new episode full of intrigue this Thursday, with severe accusations against the Boris Johnson’s government for allegedly intimidating rebel MPs from the party’s ranks. William Wragg, chairman of the public administration and constitutional affairs committee, denounced that several conservatives who oppose the prime minister and who want him to leave office after learning that parties were being held in Downing Street while the population was forced to confine itself to prevent the spread of Covid-19, had been the object of “pressure and intimidation”. In addition, according to Wragg, some workers at the official residence of the ‘premier’ as well as members of his cabinet and even some advisers, have tried to sneak sensitive information about these deputies into the media, after Johnson’s attempts to maintain his support they will be unsuccessful.
“Intimidation of a member of Parliament is a serious matter,” said the deputy, one of the most critical voices against the leader of his party, who also spoke that this is “a case of blackmail.” Wragg’s accusations come amid a political firestorm for the prime minister, who seems unwilling to resign but could face a motion to kick him out. Boris Johnson assured that he has no evidence that these accusations have occurred and from Downing Street they assured that “there is no need to investigate them.” But the president of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle, pointed out during his speech after the Wragg revelations that those who work for the Government “are not above the law” and described as “disrespect” the fact of interfering in the ” performance of duty” from fellow ranks or “attempt to intimidate a member through threats”.
To support Wragg’s version, his now former teammate came to the fore Christian Wakeford, who joined the Labor ranks on Wednesday, saying that he himself was threatened that he would lose funds for his constituency if he participated in the rebellion, thus supporting the request of several deputies through letters to the president of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady, to activate a ‘no confidence’ motion against the ‘premier’. It is not known how many letters the committee has received since it is their duty to keep this information confidential, but the local press spoke on Thursday of at least a dozen, of the 54 necessary, citing party sources. However, the newspaper ‘The Telegraph’ revealed this Thursday that ‘high-level sources’ within the right-wing formation assure that between three and seven of the ‘no confidence’ letters were withdrawn. Under the committee’s rules, MPs can withdraw their requests if they change their minds. Apparently, Wakeford’s turncoat not only did not serve to encourage the rebellion, but also caused other ‘Tories’ to think twice if they really want to change their leader, especially when the official in charge of the investigation of the supposedly illegal parties has not yet presented its conclusions.
How could it be otherwise, Labor reacted to this new information. Rachel Reeves, finance officer of the shadow cabinet, said it would be “totally unacceptable” that some parliamentarians had been “blackmailed or intimidated”. “A government must govern in the national interest, not in the narrow interests of its party, and if this is the way Conservatives think they can get through this crisis, then they need to rethink it,” Reeves said. Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative leader and one of the rebel leaders, declared that he had received no threats, while the ‘Brexiter’ Steve Baker, who played a key role in the fall of Theresa May, stated that the accusations against the ‘premier’ are “appalling” and that the public is “furious”. “It is an unfortunate situation we are in. I am horrified that we have reached this position,” he says.