Boris Johnson may be celebrating the birth of a baby daughter but that doesn’t mean the pressure on him is eased. Instead, the Prime Minister is fighting on three fronts going into the weekend. The first is the alleged Downing Street parties with more claims emerging that there were several events. While cabinet secretary Simon Case is investigating, it’s already looking tricky for key Downing Street staff, with ITV reporting that Downing Street director of communications Jack Doyle gave a speech and handed out awards. While No. 10 figures suggest a speech is a pretty regular occurrence, the real issue with the claims is that Doyle is the person who will have been in charge of the communications over the party claims — and the No. 10 line is no such party occurred.
Next up, Johnson is facing one of his largest Tory rebellions to date next week when MPs vote on the new Covid Plan B measures. Over 50 MPs have spoken out against the restrictions so far and that number is expected to grow. What’s more many members of the payroll are very unhappy about what’s been proposed so even if they don’t resign and vote against it, there could be a high number of abstentions. Johnson should still be able to pass the measures given that Labour has suggested they will back them. However, getting your plans through on opposition votes is an uncomfortable place for any prime minister.
Finally, the issue that is actually causing the most alarm in government relates to the Downing Street flat refurbishment. When this story first emerged earlier this year of who paid for the expensive redecoration of the flat Johnson shares with his wife Carrie, ministers insisted there had been no wrongdoing (and that it was a Westminster bubble story).