Politics

Will Boris Johnson resign? Odds slashed on Prime Minister resigning by the end of February

David Davis urges Boris Johnson 'Resign, full stop!'

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During recent months calls for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to quit have gradually grown louder as the saga regarding Downing Street parties in breach of Covid rules has dragged on. The latest development saw the release of Sue Gray’s report into these allegations, with Mr Johnson issuing an apology but vowing to learn from Ms Gray’s initial findings. Regardless, the PM is under significant pressure to resign, but will he?

On Monday, Sue Gray – the senior civil servant investigating allegations of Downing Street parties – published her initial report into the matter.

Ms Gray said she has been “extremely limited” in how much she can share due to the Metropolitan Police’s inquiries, and she could not publish a “meaningful” report at this stage.

However, she was able to say that she had explored 16 events – three which were not previously known about – and that of these the force is currently investigating 12.

Included in this group are the May 20 2020 “bring your own booze” event in the Downing Street garden, which the PM has apologised for attending, and Mr Johnson’s birthday party on June 19 2020.

During a Commons session held later in the day the PM said: “I get it and I will fix it.

“I am sorry for the things we simply didn’t get right and also sorry for the way this matter has been handled.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the British people believe Mr Johnson should “do the decent thing and resign” but he is “a man without shame”.

Meanwhile, the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) leader in the House of Commons, Ian Blackford, was ordered to leave the chamber after accusing the PM of lying to MPs about the events.

Will Boris Johnson resign?

Mr Johnson has denied calls to step down as PM and has instead said he would create a specific Office of The Prime Minister.

In addition, he will carry out a review of the civil service code of conduct and bring in measures to improve the way the Government works.

Nonetheless, it remains to be seen whether Mr Johnson will be able to see out the remainder of his term as PM, which still has more than two years left to run.

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The betting agent Ladbrokes has the 57-year-old as 7/2 to resign as PM by the end of February.

While the chances of a vote of no confidence being triggered this month are now placed at 7/4.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak remains his most likely replacement at 13/8.

Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: “All eyes are on Boris Johnson’s next move, and while the PM is insisting we wait for the result of the Met Police’s investigation, the odds suggest it won’t be long before he’s packing his bags and leaving No 10.”

How did we get here?

Last December allegations began to emerge of a number of Government parties – in breach of Covid rules in place at the time – taking place in Downing Street throughout the pandemic.

Then last month Mr Johnson admitted to MPs he had attended one such event on May 20, 2020, during the first nationwide lockdown.

The PM said he “believed implicitly that this was a work event” in the Downing Street garden but added “with hindsight, I should have sent everyone back inside”.

In recent weeks Ms Gray has been tasked with leading the Government investigation into the alleged parties.

Her findings prompted the Met to launch their own inquiry, last week, after she had passed information from her report to the authorities.

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