'Panzer Division' Needed to Drag BoJo Out of Office Amid 'Partygate' Scandal, Ally Says

© AP Photo / Alastair GrantOne of the police officers guarding Downing Street leaves 10 Downing Street the official home of the British Prime Minister in London, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022.
One of the police officers guarding Downing Street leaves 10 Downing Street the official home of the British Prime Minister in London, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.02.2022
UK senior civil servant Sue Gray's recently released report found "failures of leadership and judgment" and evidence of "excessive consumption of alcohol" during parties at Number 10 in 2020 and 2021. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, however, vows that he will carry on despite the report's findings.
Boris Johnson has told allies about his resolve to stay on as British prime minister in the face of the "partygate" scandal as he may have to deal with a no-confidence vote in the near future, The Times reports.

The newspaper quoted an unnamed senior adviser as saying that Johnson "is making very clear that they'll have to send a Panzer division to get him out of there [Downing Street]".

FILE -In this Friday, Dec. 13, 2019 file photo, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds wave from the steps of number 10 Downing Street in London. - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.02.2022
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Unnamed Whitehall insiders were also cited by The Times as claiming that Johnson is now in "the danger zone" and that the threshold for calling a no-confidence vote could soon be reached amid reports that 35 MPs have already sent their letters to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers. At least 54 letters are needed to trigger such a vote.

The claims come as Johnson's spokesperson said in a statement that the UK prime minister "has continued the overhaul of his senior team as he improves the No 10 operation and delivers the change necessary to get on with the job".

According to the spokesperson, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Steve Barclay has been appointed the PM's new chief of staff, while Guto Harri, who had earlier worked for the BBC, will become the new director of communications.
The nominations followed four senior Johnson aides announcing their resignations earlier this week after the release of senior civil servant Sue Gray's report into at least 16 alleged social gatherings held at Downing Street between 2020 and 2021 in the midst of coronavirus lockdowns. Twelve of them are part of an ongoing probe by the Metropolitan Police.
The aforementioned aides include Boris Johnson's Director of Policy Munira Mirza, who was the first to step down but did so due to the PM's biting remarks about Labour leader Keir Starmer. On Monday, Johnson accused Starmer of failing to take more action against late sex offender Jimmy Savile when the Labour leader served as the director of public prosecutions from 2008 to 2013. The prime minister evenutally admitted that Starmer had "nothing to do" with the Savile case, but did not apologise for the comments.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson waves as he leaves from 10 Downing Street in central London on February 2, 2022 to take part in the weekly session of Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) at the House of Commons. - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.02.2022
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As for Gray's report, the document found evidence of "excessive consumption of alcohol" at Number 10, asserting that some gatherings amounted to "serious failings", which are "difficult to justify".

Johnson reacted by telling MPs that he was "sorry for the things we [the government] simply didn't get right" and that he was going to "get on with the job" following the release of the report's findings.

"While the Metropolitan Police must yet complete their investigation, and that means there are no details of specific events in Sue Gray's report, I of course accept Sue Gray's general findings in full, and above all her recommendation that we must learn from these events and act now", the PM added, pledging staff changes in government.
A new survey carried out by YouGov has, meanwhile, indicated that at least 63 percent of respondents believe the prime minister should resign, while only 25 percent say he should remain at the helm of the government despite the "partygate" row.
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