Tory blackmail row: Met Police to meet with MP over furious Downing Street claim

Kwarteng laughs off Downing Street 'blackmail' claims

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

The MP, who chairs the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, said he will meet a detective from Scotland Yard early next week in the House of Commons. Mr Wragg had hinted at the possibility of a police investigation in comments made on Thursday, when he urged those who felt threatened to contact the police.

The MP for Hazel Grove in Greater Manchester accused members of the Government of “encouraging the publication of stories in the press seeking to embarrass those that they suspect of lacking confidence in their Prime Minister”.

He said: “In recent days a number of Members of Parliament have faced pressures and intimidation from members of the Government because of their declared or assumed desire for a vote of confidence in the party leadership of the Prime Minister.”

He continued: “It is, of course, the duty of the Government whips’ office to secure the Government’s business in the House of Commons.

“However, it is not their function to breach the ministerial code in threatening to withdraw investment from Members of Parliaments’ constituencies which are funded from the public purse.

“Additionally, reports to me and others of members of staff at No 10 Downing Street, special advisers, Government ministers and others encouraging the publication of stories in the press seeking to embarrass those who they suspect of lacking confidence in the Prime Minister, are similarly unacceptable.”

He continued: “The intimidation of a Member of Parliament is a serious matter.

“Moreover, the reports of which I’m aware would seem to constitute blackmail.”

He suggested this could be a police matter, adding: “It would be my general advice to colleagues to report these matters to the Speaker of the House of Commons and the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

“And they are also welcome to contact me at any time.”

He told the Daily Telegraph he would outline “several” examples of such behaviour, adding that in some examples the public purse was involved.

He added: “I stand by what I have said. No amount of gaslighting will change that.”

A No 10 spokesman said: “We are not aware of any evidence to support what are clearly serious allegations.

DON’T MISS: 
Brexit LIVE: Forge our destiny! Frost lays out groundbreaking vision [LIVE] 
Energy POLL: Will YOU ditch gas boiler after PM’s £19m investment? [VOTE] 
Britain to build EV battery gigafactory after Tesla’s Brexit snub [ANALYSIS]

“If there is any evidence to support these claims we would look at it very carefully.”

Mr Wragg, who has called for Boris Johnson’s resignation, said he wanted “experts” to investigate the claims, rather than No 10.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: “As with any such allegations, should a criminal offence be reported to the Met, it would be considered.”

This comes as No 10 attempts to consolidate support for the Prime Minister, ahead of civil servant Sue Gray’s report on alleged lockdown parties at Downing Street involving Boris Johnson and his staff.

Downing Street is said to be nervous over Ms Gray’s findings, which will be published point next week.

Contributing to the uncertainty of its publication is a continuous stream of new allegations that must be figured into the scope of the report.

Sources speaking to Sam Coates, Sky News’ deputy political editor, revealed a deep sense of unease ahead of the outcome of the report.

They told Mr Coates that a number of Downing Street officials are worried that damaging evidence may be unearthed in the inquiry, and doubt that it will “clear” the Prime Minister when made public.

Source: Read Full Article