Peston: Robert Jenrick backs ‘linchpin’ Boris as now ‘absolutely not’ time to change PM

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The former Housing Secretary stated that the Prime Minister had been speaking to President Zelensky “almost every day” and described him as a “linchpin of the West’s response” to the Russian invasion. The comments come as Mr Johnson faces increased scrutiny after the first Partygate fines were issued by the Met this week.

Mr Jenrick said: “I think the question you’re asking me is an even more important one, which is do I and fellow Conservative MPs think that now is the right moment to contemplate changing Prime Minister?

“And I think the answer to that has to be absolutely not, given everything that we’re seeing in the world.

“You’ve got a Prime Minister who is at the centre of Western efforts to counter Russian aggression in Ukraine, is speaking almost every day to President Zelensky, [and] has been a linchpin of the West’s response.

“Would it be sensible, would it be in our national interests to think about changing Prime Minister now? No.

“And I think that’s the view of most, if not all Conservative MPs right now.”

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis MP backed Mr Johnson over the Partygate row when pressed on the issue by Peston.

He said: “I think the Prime Minister has at all times outlined to Parliament, and outlined what he understood and believed to be the truth.

“That is exactly what he should be doing as a minister, let alone as Prime Minister, and I think he has done that.”

Mr Lewis firmly outlined that Mr Johnson remains the best choice to lead this country in light of his response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine crisis.

He continued: “I think he is the right person to be leading this country, getting the big decisions right through Covid and through obviously at the moment the situation we’ve got with Ukraine.

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“And I think he will be the Prime Minister who takes us through successfully in the next General Election.”

Mr Johnson has faced calls to resign over the Partygate scandal, however Downing Street have denied that the issuing of fines proves the PM misled Parliament when he said “all guidance was followed completely”.

According to the Independent, Mr Johnson has not yet been informed whether he will be fined or interviewed by the police as part of their investigation.

His official spokesperson said the PM would not comment on the police inquiries until the investigation is complete, which may not be for several more months.

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