| 26 September 2022, Monday |

UK lawmaker says he will meet police over government ‘blackmail’ accusations

A British Conservative MP said he will speak with police to explore his claims that Boris Johnson’s ministry tried to “blackmail” legislators suspected of attempting to depose the prime minister.

On Thursday, William Wragg, chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee and a member of Johnson’s ruling party, revealed that several Conservatives had been threatened and blackmailed by government representatives because of their intention to depose Johnson.

“I still stand by what I stated. No amount of gaslighting is going to change that “He told the publication The Daily Telegraph. “Number 10’s offer to investigate is generous, but I’ll leave it to the professionals. I’ll be meeting with the cops early next week.”

In reaction to Wragg’s charges, Johnson told reporters on Thursday that he had seen and heard no evidence to back up Wragg’s assertions. His administration has stated that any such material will be scrutinized “extremely carefully.”

The Metropolitan Police in London stated on Saturday that it could not comment on any specific scheduled meetings.

“As with all similar claims, if a criminal act is reported to the Met, it will be investigated,” stated a spokeswoman.

Johnson, who in 2019 won his party’s biggest majority in more than 30 years, is fighting to shore up his authority after a series of revelations about parties in his Downing Street residence during COVID-19 lockdowns.

The “partygate” scandals, which followed criticism of the government’s handling of a corruption row and other mis-steps, have dominated British politics for over a month, and drained public support from both Johnson personally and his party.

Johnson, who has repeatedly apologised for the parties and said he was unaware of many of them, has admitted he attended what he said he thought was a work event on May 20 last year, when social mixing was largely banned. Invitations had asked staff to “bring their own booze” to the event.

Senior civil servant Sue Gray is expected to deliver a report into the parties next week, with many Conservative lawmakers saying they would await her findings before deciding whether they would take action to topple Johnson.

  • Reuters