Andrew Marr: The Conservative Party is having what looks like a collective nervous breakdown

5 July 2022, 18:48

By Emma Soteriou

The Conservative Party is having what looks and sounds like a collective nervous breakdown, Andrew Marr has said.

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Opening LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr, the presenter addressed issues of the prime minister's judgement appointing Chris Pincher as deputy chief whip despite allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

"What a day. You'll hear a lot about grabbing, groping and the former Tory deputy chief whip Chris Pincher but today's political drama is less about him than the prime minister's judgement and his honesty." Andrew said.

"Question is: Did Boris Johnson know the guy was a sex pest when he appointed him? This morning Boris Johnson's deputy Dominic Raab says, and I precis, no no, certainly not - news to me.

"Almost immediately the former head of the foreign office, Simon MacDonald, where said sex pest had worked, intervenes to say - and I quote - the original Number Ten line is not true. Pincher had been investigated, the complaint was upheld, and the prime minister was told.

"A serving government official dramatically intervenes in a call to LBC to say he's had enough of colleagues being forced to lie for the government and calls on the head of the Civil Service Sir Simon Case to resign.

"What happened to that guy who I can renewal tonight is a serving intelligence officer?

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Andrew continued: "Meanwhile all hell breaks loose in the Commons; Labour forces a government minister, the Paymaster General, to explain whether the prime minister had lied.

"To raucous laughter he admits Johnson had been told but had unfortunately forgotten.

"Complicated? Let me put it this way. First the Prime Minister said he had done his homework, and done it jolly well.

"Then he said he hadn't had any homework in the first place. Now the line is that there was homework but the dog ate it and then sicked it up all over the cabinet room before copiously weeing all over the Lord Chancellor.

"Regrettable. but these things happen in the best regulated of households.

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"I'm joking but Tory MPs are angrier than with Boris Johnson than I have ever heard them before. The most common comment is, 'it's worse than partygate.'

"Many want Cabinet ministers to walk out now. Cabinet ministers themselves are semi-openly discussing who might run once Johnson's gone.

"If he had faced a popularity vote this afternoon, he'd be looking for another job as a newspaper hack.

"But Tory MPs are tonight planning to take over the relevant committee, the 1922, change its rules and be ready for another contest before Parliament breaks for the summer in less than three weeks’ time.

"Some think he might try to force an early end to the session to keep his job. But apart from all that, it’s been a quietish day at the fun factory."