Met police to meet senior Tory who alleged MPs trying to oust PM faced ‘blackmail’ threats

21 January 2022, 22:12 | Updated: 22 January 2022, 06:55

William Wragg will meet a detective from the Met Police to discuss claims MPs were being blackmailed into supporting Boris Johnson
William Wragg will meet a detective from the Met Police to discuss claims MPs were being blackmailed into supporting Boris Johnson. Picture: UK Parliament/Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Scotland Yard is reportedly set to meet a senior Tory MP after allegations of blackmail and threats by Conservative whips were made.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

William Wragg - the Tory MP who first said MPs were being blackmailed into supporting Boris Johnson - will meet with a Metropolitan Police detective early next week to discuss the allegations, The Telegraph reports.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police told LBC the force could not comment on any upcoming meetings, but, of the blackmail claims, said: "As with any such allegations, should a criminal offence be reported to the Met, it would be considered."

Read more: Rebel Tories threaten to release recording in blackmail row as partygate email uncovered

Read more: Tory 'blackmail': Oppose free school meals or deprived pupils lose funds, MPs told

Mr Wragg, who chairs the Commons Public Administration Committee, said on Thursday that Conservative MPs who spoke out against Mr Johnson were being threatened with bad publicity as well as cuts to constituency funding.

He advised colleagues to go to the police if they felt threatened.

Rebel Tory MPs have since implied they have proof, for example in the form of text messages or recorded conversations.

But the Prime Minister has denied the allegations, saying he has not seen any evidence of blackmail.

A No10 spokesperson said: "We are not aware of any evidence to support what are clearly serious allegations.

"If there is any evidence to support these claims we would look at it very carefully."

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson is said to be drawing up a record of MPs' loyalty, using a spreadsheet to log which MPs are wavering in their support or who are openly trying to oust him.

The plan, reported in The Times, also involves the PM reinstating his leadership team amid increasing concern about the probability of a no confidence vote.

The paper reports that his team will attempt to build support for the Prime Minister to try to fend off a no confidence motion.

Watch: Governance 'undermined' by No10 'survival' culture, Shad Chief Treasury Sec tells Shelagh Fogarty

Read more: Tories weigh up slashing time between no-confidence votes as PM sweats over future

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said he had seen nothing to suggest Tory MPs were being blackmailed or threatened, telling LBC on Thursday morning: "I've been an MP for 12 years, I've never heard anything like that.

"Whips try and persuade MPs to support the Government.

"There are ways that they do that but I've never heard any suggestion that people were withholding funds... they don't have it in their power to withhold funds or grant funds to local communities."

He said no one had ever tried to bully him, joking that generally "whips were a lot shorter than I was".

The allegations of blackmail are the latest scandal in a tumultuous period for the Prime Minister.

Senior civil servant Sue Gray is currently compiling a report into the partygate scandal, after a string of lockdown-breaching parties were found to have been held at Downing Street throughout the pandemic.

Read more: Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin blasts No10 'hypocrisy' saying pubs should have been open

Read more: Lindsay Hoyle caught on mic muttering 'what a day' after stormy PMQs

On the list of alleged events are a boozy get-together the night before Prince Philip's funeral and a gathering in the Downing Street garden on May 20 2020, after staff were invited to "make the most of the lovely weather" and bring their own alcohol at a time where the rest of the country was in lockdown.

New allegations about the former gathering have come to light today, with Downing Street staff said to have taken it in turns to ride the Prime Minister's son's swing at a party lasting until 1am - just hours before the Queen sat alone at the funeral of her husband of 70 years.

The results of Sue Gray's inquiry are expected to be released next week.

They could prove pivotal in the Prime Minister's struggle to keep hold of his job.

If Mr Johnson is found to have lied to parliament over how much he knew about the parties - something his former aide Dominic Cummings claimed he did - he would likely be under even more pressure to step down.

Watch: Poorest people 'made to balance the books': Food campaigner explains cost of living crisis

Read more: Cummings: I'll swear under oath that PM lied - as No10 'denies' latest partygate claims

Even deputy PM Dominic Raab conceded that lying to parliament would usually be something a Prime Minister must resign over.

Mr Johnson has repeatedly deflected questions about his involvement in the parties by telling journalists and MPs to wait for the results of the inquiry, so the publication of the report will be a crucial moment in the scandal.