LONDON: A senior Conservative lawmaker accused the British government on Thursday of intimidating and attempting to “blackmail” those lawmakers they suspect of wanting to force Prime Minister Boris Johnson out of power.
Johnson, who won a large majority in 2019, is facing growing calls to step down over a series of scandals, including admitting he had attended a party at his Downing Street office at a time when Britain was under a strict COVID-19 lockdown.
Some younger Conservative lawmakers have spearheaded attempts to unseat their leader and opposition leaders have demanded he resign. The heat was turned up further in parliament on Wednesday when one of the party’s longest-serving representatives told the prime minister in parliament “In the name of God, go.”
Johnson, 57, has vowed to fight on, saying he would lead the Conservative Party into the next election. But in yet another blow to his shaky standing, William Wragg, chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, accused the government of blackmail.
“In recent days, a number of members of parliament have faced pressures and intimidation from members of the government because of their declared or assumed desire for a vote of confidence in the party leadership of the prime minister,” Wragg said in a statement before a meeting of the committee.
“Moreover, the reports of which I’m aware, would seem to constitute blackmail. As such, it would be my general advice to colleagues to report these matters to the speaker of the House of Commons and the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.”
In response, Johnson told broadcasters he had “seen no evidence, heard no evidence to support any of those allegations”, echoing an earlier statement from his office which said if there was evidence, the allegations would be looked at.