Boris Johnson is facing further pressure as two ministers slammed him over lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street - just hours after Dominic Cummings said he would take the stand having accused the Prime Minister of misleading Parliament.
The PM's former top adviser said last night that he discussed a May 2020 BYOB event with Mr Johnson before it happened but his concerns were 'waved aside'.
The claim contradicts Mr Johnson's statement to the House of Commons last Wednesday. Ahead of PMQs he insisted that he believed that the knees-up organised by his principal private secretary Martin Reynolds - currently being probed by senior civil servant Sue Gray - was a work event that did not breach regulations.
Downing Street has mounted a full-scale rescue plan to bolster the PM after last week's astonishing slew of revelations, code-named Operation Red Meat, and has fiercely denied Mr Cummings' claims.
Elsewhere, two of Mr Johnson's ministers have openly criticised No10 over Partygate, warning the scandals have caused 'serious damage' to public trust in the government.
Science minister George Freeman said he was 'shocked and flabbergasted' by the revelations, and questioned why staff were able to enjoy such gatherings while his constituents 'couldn't see dying loved ones', according to the Times.
Similarly, health minister Maria Caulfield insisted that regardless of whether the rules were 'technically' breached or not by the parties, 'the spirit of the rules' was.
She added that she would 'consider what action is needed' when Ms Gray's report into the events is published.
It comes after Mr Cummings suggested in a post on his Substack blog on Monday, that worse might still be to come for No10.
'Amid discussion over the future of the Cabinet Secretary (Simon Case) and PPS (Reynolds) himself, which had been going on for days, I said to the PM something like: ''Martin's invited the building to a drinks party, this is what I'm talking about, you've got to grip this madhouse'',' he wrote.
'The PM waved it aside. I had told him repeatedly the PPS should be replaced, as had other competent officials who knew the whole structure needed a huge upgrade in personnel and management.'
He added: 'Not only me but other eyewitnesses who discussed this at the time would swear under oath this is what happened.'
Downing Street has denied the claims, as a No 10 spokesman said in response: 'It is untrue that the Prime Minister was warned about the event in advance. As he said earlier this week he believed implicitly that this was a work event.
'He has apologised to the House and is committed to making a further statement once the investigation concludes.'
It came as a new opinion poll tonight gave Labour a 13-point poll lead over the Tories amid the crisis.
Source: Daily Mail UK
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