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Partygate sees Sir Roger Gale continue attacks on Boris Johnson and could Christmas scandal be most bizarre end to a PM's career?


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AMID the political maelstrom engulfing the government there is an intriguing subplot to the drama, with a Kent MP the leading character.

Veteran Thanet North MP Sir Roger Gale has never been keen on Boris Johnson.

It's been a very hard week for Boris Johnson Picture: Phil Noble/PA
It's been a very hard week for Boris Johnson Picture: Phil Noble/PA

Why the antipathy? It’s not entirely clear but Sir Roger has a history of taking Boris to task and has often been prepared to put his head above the parapet to do so.

During the campaign to become Conservative Party leader Sir Roger took Mr Johnson to task over his apparent ignorance regarding the Brexit contingency plans for Kent, declaring on his website that it was inconceivable that a candidate in the race to become the next Prime Minister should be so poorly briefed and ill-informed.

“A 'broad brush' approach to politics is one thing. Laziness and carelessness in a Prime Minister is something completely different,” he wrote.

He picked up this line of attack, intervening during a speech being made by Mr Johnson in the Commons on the Brexit deal in 2018.

Interrupting him, Sir Roger accused him of preferring “the grievance to the solution” before delivering a devastating zinger, asking: “What’s his big idea?”

Sir Roger Gale is not a fan of the PM Picture: Tony Flashman
Sir Roger Gale is not a fan of the PM Picture: Tony Flashman

Fast forward to December 2020 and Sir Roger is back on the case, saying that if the PM failed to get a Brexit deal, he would have to resign.

He tweeted: "If Mr Johnson fails to reach an acceptable trade agreement with the EU the Prime Minister will also have failed the people of the United Kingdom. As an honourable man, he would have to make way for somebody more able to pick up the pieces, to re-unite the whole country and to show the leadership that Great Britain and Northern Ireland deserves.”

His intervention this week touched on familiar ground, with a warning that if any of the multiple inquiries into “gatherings” produced evidence that the PM did know about them, then “the game is up.”

Sir Roger said: "If it is the fact that [Boris Johnson] has misled Parliament deliberately that is a hanging offence."

It would, he said, lead to the Prime Minister being given an ultimatum from party chiefs to stand aside.

Whatever you think about Sir Roger’s trenchant views, at least his constituents know where he stands. Which is more than you can say for some of his parliamentary colleagues in Kent.

Head to our politics page for expert analysis and all the latest news from your politicians and councils.

WHEN is a party not a party but a gathering? That is bizarrely the question multiple investigations into events at Downing Street will have to answer.

Exactly how these judgements will be made is anyone's guess. Were bowls of Twiglets available? Were pineapple chunks and cheese on cocktail sticks provided? Did guests drink a heady mix of alcoholic punch? Were there party games, like passing balloons without them falling to the floor? Was there a game of charades?

Either way, if things go against Mr Johnson and the removal lorry is called to Downing Street, it will mark a highly unusual departure for the Prime Minister.

TURBULENT, tumultuous, turmoil. It’s one of those weeks when political commentators and correspondents have reached for the political thesaurus to convey the fevered atmosphere at Westminster. Toxic just about sums it up.

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