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Steerpike

Is partygate a Remainer plot?

Is partygate a Remainer plot?
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The mood in Westminster this morning is febrile as Tory MPs plot to consider their leader's future. Facing questions over partygate, plunging polls and mutinous ministers, can anything save Boris Johnson? Well, yes, but perhaps salvation comes in an unlikely form. For in another typically brilliant intervention, Lord Adonis — Britain's most ironically titled peer — has reminded Boris-doubters what they stand to lose if they eject him by suggesting 'If Boris goes, Brexit goes' too.

The ardent Remainiac appears to have said the quiet part out loud in articulating the feelings of many Johnsonite critics. Across the Labour party, the wider liberal establishment and indeed in the civil service itself, many are silently hoping that partygate could be the moment they finally get rid of the Vote Leave figurehead – though not all are unwise enough to tweet this out publicly.

Adonis's tweet is now being passed around on Tory Whatsapp groups as proof of why Boris must stay, to prevent such critics being vindicated. Indeed Zac Goldsmith, the one-man No. 10 rebuttal service, has shared it as evidence that many of those who want Johnson gone are merely bitter about Brexit, rather than being genuinely aggrieved about some outdoor drinks. Jumpy Tories fear that sacrificing Boris would merely give succour to those who've been out to get him since day one.

Mr S has already expressed doubts about whether all those who want Johnson to go are, in fact, 'the left' or 'Remain/Covid fanatics.' But if anyone can seize defeat from the jaws of triumph and secure another Tory landslide, it'll be Adonis and those of his ilk.

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk or message @MrSteerpike

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