Simon Leys suggested that the Conservatives may want to keep Boris Johnson as leader until the difficult May local elections are out of the way as their failures, regardless if Mr Johnson is to blame, could be pinned on him. The BBC presenter also discussed how Mr Johnson’s weakened position could be exploited by MPs who want to get their bills or other campaigns heard by the wider public which requires his support. The Prime Minister is facing resignation calls from his own and opposition benches following the No10 gathering scandal.
Speaking on BBC News, Mr Ley spoke with Chief Political Commentator of the Financial Times, Robert Shirmsley, about the future of Boris Johnson.
Mr Shirmsley believed the Tories did not have to act suddenly on Mr Johnson’s premiership and should wait and see whether their election chances could be damaged by him staying in his position.
He said: “That is what is going to decide his future, nothing else, do they think he will be an electoral asset or an electoral drag.
“And increasingly, they’re coming around to the view that he may well be an electoral drag.”
Mr Ley shared his verdict of the situation but believed it may be a strategic advantage for the Tories to leave Boris Johnson in a “wounded state”.
He explained: “There are those who suggest because of the rebellion before Christmas that his authority, even in his own party, is not what it was…
“Therefore, a weakened political leader might not be in the national interest still less in the party’s interest.
“The other side of it is why have a leadership election now if you’re going to have a difficult set of local elections.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross, along with the backing of nearly all 31 MSPs, has called for the Prime Minister to step down amid the No10 gathering scandal.
The comments due the ire of Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg who called Mr Ross a “lightweight” who never truly backed the Prime Minister.
Tory backbencher and former minister Caroline Nokes appeared on ITV’s Peston and said Mr Johnson was a “liability” who needed to go to save the Conservatives.
Mr Johnson apologised after he attended a Downing Street “bring your own booze” gathering during lockdown on May 20, 2020.
However, despite calls from all corners for him to resign, Mr Johnson said he will not take any action until the inquiry from Sue Grey is complete and published.