Robert Peston discusses the future of Boris Johnson
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Over recent weeks, Boris Johnson has faced criticism for allegedly saying “let the bodies pile high” rather than introducing another coronavirus lockdown. Mr Johnson also faced attacks over funding for the Downing Street refurbishment, estimated to be more than the £30,000 cap for premiers to claim taxpayers’ money.
Yesterday, Mr Peston claimed he had “ear witnesses” confirming Mr Johnson made the shocking statement during the pandemic.
But now, ITV’s political editor has revealed he has been attacked by five identical emails warning him to stop “causing trouble” for the Prime Minister.
Mr Peston tweeted: “I’ve had an identical email asking me to leave poor Boris Johnson alone from five ‘different people’ (well five different email accounts).
“Subject line changes, body of email identical.
“‘What an utter disgrace that you are causing trouble about the Prime Minister’. Etc.
In his ITV blog on Monday, Mr Peston claimed two separate people had corroborated the claims made in the Daily Mail to him.
Mr Peston wrote: “said: “I am told [Johnson] shouted it in his study just after he agreed to the second lockdown ‘in a rage’.
“The doors to the Cabinet room and outer office were allegedly open and supposedly a number of people heard.
“I am bothering to repeat this assertion about what the Prime Minister said because two eyewitnesses – or perhaps I should say ‘ear witnesses’ – have corroborated the Daily Mail’s account to me.
“Also these sources insist they did not brief the Mail, so that suggests there are three sources.”
The Prime Minister has denied making the alleged comments and said: “No, but again, I think the important thing, I think, that people want us to get on and do as a government is to make sure that the lockdowns work, and they have.”
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Downing Street last week named Johnson’s former chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, as the source of leaks against the prime minister.
But Mr Peston said it was not Mr Cummings who contacted him and said he is “certain” the Cabinet knows it was not the former advisor.
Mr Peston continued: “I am certain the cabinet secretary already knows Cummings wasn’t my source – since he has seen the phones of all relevant suspects, and will therefore have read my texts to a very large number of officials and ministers seeking comment and secondary sourcing for the lockdown revelation.
“As I said, I wouldn’t have needed to send those texts if Cummings had been the source.
“Make of that what you will.
“But the ‘chatty rat’ who contacted me was not Cummings.”
This week, Mr Peston claimed the Prime Minister is “toast” if the Conservative Party’s lead narrows following next week’s local elections.
He told Good Morning Britain: “The important point is that the Tory Party will tolerate chaos if the Prime Minister and the Tory Party continue to have a big lead over the Labour Party in the polls.
“The moment that narrows, the moment in the eyes of the Tory Party Boris Johnson turns from looking like an asset into a liability, he is toast.
“The Tory Party is ruthless in that sense.”
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