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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Boris Johnson in Rwanda as Tory turmoil revealed

BORIS Johnson was sunning himself under the palm trees next to the pool in his luxury Rwandan hotel when news broke his party was in turmoil the wake of a double by-election humiliation.

The Prime Minister is currently in retreat in Kigali for a summit of Commonwealth leaders but has been unable to escape the bruising news coming from England, where his party lost two seats, left vacant by one paedophile and another MP caught watching porn on the job.

Johnson was fresh from a dip in the hotel pool where he is staying while away when he was called at 6am by Oliver Dowden, who rang to give advance warning he was stepping down as chairman of the Conservative party, the PA news agency reports.

READ MORE: ‘Monumental, humiliating’: Nicola Sturgeon’s verdict on Tory by-election misery

The Prime Minister was likely still drying off from his dip when they spoke because within minutes the resignation letter was online – and contained a barb aimed at Johnson.

The Tory’s 24,000 majority in Tiverton and Honiton had been replaced by a 6,000 majority for the Lib Dems and Labour had won back Wakefield, one of the seats seized by the Tories in their landslide 2019 election victory.

Dowden published his letter to the Prime Minister online setting out that supporters were “distressed and disappointed by recent events” and that he believed “someone must take responsibility” – without explicitly blaming Johnson.

Johnson then joined Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Tory chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris, in what a party source told PA was a “routine daily meeting”.

What was discussed in the call was not disclosed by the source but it is likely Johnson remained defiant, judging by his appearances on TV later that morning, where he bullishly insisted he would “keep going”, conceding only he would “listen” to the voters who delivered such resounding verdicts the day before.

READ MORE: Tory candidate ‘locks herself in room’ of sports centre ahead of by-election loss

Signs of anger in the Tory camp arose as PA’s source desperately cast around for someone else to blame, apportioning some on the “nonsense” of the media’s “endless reportage and Kremlinology of partygate”.

Asked if he feared Dowden was acting as an outrider for a possible leadership challenge from someone like Sunak, the source said: “What do I know, but I’d be astonished if it was the Chancellor.

“The Prime Minister spoke to the Chancellor this morning as he does almost every morning.”

Johnson went on to meet with Prince Charles amid signs of a row between No 10 and the royal.

The Prime Minister had suggested he would tell Charles to be open-minded about the widely criticised and currently stalled policy of sending asylum seekers on a one-way ticket to Rwanda.

But on the morning of their meeting, he declined to set out what he planned to say to Charles, who has reportedly described the scheme as “appalling”.

Despite the dent to his authority in the UK and the need to stem the fallout, Johnson was determined to stay in Rwanda before going ahead with his trip to the G7 summit in Germany.

The source said: “To not be at the G7 would be an abdication of responsibility for any prime minister.”



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