‘Absolute nonsense’ Ann Widdecombe gives verdict on whether Boris should go as PM on brink

PMQs: Boris Johnson clashes with Keir Starmer

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The former minister said the “last thing” the country needs is a Tory leadership race. Daily Express columnist Ms Widdecombe added that the focus should instead be on NHS waiting lists and the economy as the UK emerges from the pandemic.

The former Conservative MP told Express.co.uk: “I don’t think it’s all over for him at all.

“I think the last thing we need now is the instability of a leadership election.

“We’ve got an economy to get up and running, we’ve got NHS waiting lists to sort out.

“You do not need to have months of uncertainty caused by not knowing who the prime minister is going to be. It’s absolute nonsense.

“He’s done what he’s done, there is an investigation about it.

“He would have paid the price anyway in lost popularity. Now, let’s just get on with getting the country sorted out.

“I think everybody needs to grow up and stop this silly business of the politics of personalities and the thinking that every crisis that comes along must mean a new leader.

“For goodness sake, stop worrying about Boris and start worrying about the NHS waiting lists, the state of the economy, the tail end of the pandemic.

“These are the things we should be worried about. I can’t understand why people get hung up on personality.”

Ms Widdecombe’s comments come as the Prime Minister is facing calls to resign after he apologised for attending a “bring your own booze” gathering in the garden of No 10 during the first lockdown.

During a bruising Prime Minister’s Questions, he insisted he believed it had been a “work event”.

The Commons was packed in anticipation of Mr Johnson’s first public response to the leaked email about the May 20 2020 event encouarging staff to “bring your own booze”, which No 10 said he was not sent.

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The Prime Minister said he attended the gathering for around 25 minutes to “thank groups of staff” but “with hindsight I should have sent everyone back inside”.

Acknowledging public anger, Mr Johnson added: “I know the rage they feel with me and with the Government I lead when they think in Downing Street itself the rules are not being properly followed by the people who make the rules.”

He said an inquiry was examining the situation but admitted “there were things we simply did not get right and I must take responsibility”.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford and Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey all called on the Prime Minister to stand down.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross told STV that Mr Johnson’s position was “no longer tenable”.

And veteran Tory MP Roger Gale said the Prime Minister was a “dead man walking”.

However, Cabinet ministers have taken to Twitter to back Mr Johnson, with Nadine Dorries, Michael Gove and Sajid Javid supporting the apology.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said Mr Johnson would be in the post “for many years to come”.

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