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James O'Brien's analysis of choices facing Boris Johnson over No10 booze-up
12 January 2022, 12:00
This was James O'Brien's clinical analysis of the choices facing Boris Johnson at Prime Minister's Questions - when the PM must break his silence on mounting party allegations.
It comes as a leaked email appeared to show civil servant Martin Reynolds, Boris Johnson's principal private secretary, inviting more than 100 Downing Street staff to a "bring your own booze" event.
Nobody from the Government stepped up to defend Mr Johnson in the morning media rounds, after he was accused of attending the "bring your own booze" party at No10 in May 2020 - when England was in lockdown.
Tory MPs have slammed the Prime Minister for avoiding the latest partygate allegations, suggesting his position is "completely untenable" and sharing their concern over Mr Johnson’s lack of action.
He has been urged to take responsibility and be honest about the events that unfolded.
Tobias Ellwood told Sky News: "I strongly urge the Prime Minister to act now, to apologise for No 10's poor judgment, to show some contrition and to be committed to appropriately respond to Sue Gray's findings when they come out."
James O'Brien said: "I think we got very close yesterday to distilling the essence of him, and it's a two-pronged fork.
"It's: How can I get out of this? How can I postpone the consequences of my own actions in the hope that actually if I can postpone them for long enough then there will be no consequences for those actions?"
James outlined the PM's options.
"The three choices are: he throws the towel in because the calculation based upon self-interest is [that] he's taken this grift as far as it can go now and it's time to disappear from public life for a couple of years and then come back with his bafoonish 'Have I Got News For You' character very carefully buffed, a couple of second-rate books about the history that he's claimed we shouldn't be changing or challenging anyway.
"Option two is that events are taken beyond his control, and his situation actually becomes untenable because of the actions of others, and then option three is that he somehow contrives to sit tight, in the hope, with no guarantee... to emerge, if not unscathed, then unfinished.
"All of the carnage, all of the capital, will be expended by other people. It's their reputations that'll never recover."