Boris to break silence and hold press conference amid barrage of Tory sleaze claims

Tory sleaze row: Alistair Campbell clashes with Camilla Tominey

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The Prime Minister travelled up to Glasgow for the final few days of the COP26 climate summit conference. But Mr Johnson will hold a press conference at 4.30pm on Wednesday and is expected to be questioned on Tory sleaze allegations and MPs’ second jobs.

Mr Johnson will face tough questions about ex-attorney general Sir Geoffrey Cox voting from the British Virgin Islands.

He will also face being pressed on the fact he refused to personally apologise for his handling of the Owen Paterson case.

Mr Johnson has been accused of fleeing his party woes after he returned to Glasgow for the climate change summit.

A senior Tory MP told The Sun: “It must be bad when the PM sees Scotland as safer than Downing Street.”

On Monday, Mr Johnson was branded a chicken for swerving a Commons debate on Tory sleaze allegations.

The Prime Minister came under fire after he tried to rip up the parliamentary standards system to block the suspension of his friend Mr Paterson over a lobbying scandal.

It is believed Tory vice-chairman Andrew Bowie resigned from his position because he is no longer prepared to defend the Government.

Mr Johnson reportedly cancelled plans for a Cabinet away day at his retreat in Chequers and will instead hold a crucial Downing Steet meeting.

Surveys and polls published in the wake of the sleaze row show support for the Conservatives and Mr Johnson have slumped to their lowest positions for months.

The Prime Minister’s approval ratings hit a record low this week according to a recent poll with almost half of voters in the UK believing he and his party were “corrupt” in the handling of the paid lobbying scandal.

The Conservative Party faced catcalls of “shame” from within the House of Commons and allegations of sleaze, bias and corruption from outside after Mr Johnson ordered his MPs to vote against the standards watchdog’s recommendation for Mr Paterson’s 30-day suspension.

He also ordered MPs to vote in favour of establishing a news standards committee which would rewrite the process which found he and other MPs have repeatedly broken lobbying rules.

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In a recent Opinium poll conducted in the wake of Mr Paterson’s resignation last Thursday, the Tories had a narrow lead over Labour.

The Conservatives had a rating of 37 percent, which was down three percentage points from the previous survey and was one percentage point ahead of Labour, according to the poll conducted on November 5 and 6.

Mr Johnson’s personal ratings also slumped by four points to -20 with half of the respondents saying they disapproved of the job he was doing.

The Labour leader’s approval rating improved by one percentage point to -9 according to the poll.

The Government is currently facing a tidal wave of fury not only from opposition MPs but also from Tory backbenchers.

On Monday, Conservative backbencher and former chief whip Mark Harper voiced the outrage of these MPs, particularly those from red wall constituencies which Mr Johnson won over to the Conservative Party in the 2019 election.

He said: “Politics is a team effort. If the team captain gets their side — from backbenchers to senior ministers — into difficulty when they get something wrong, they should apologize to the House.

“That’s leadership. We need to see more of it.”

Dominic Raab hit out at claims of Tory sleaze from the Labour Party as he slammed the funding regularly received from the union.

Mr Raab signalled the Conservatives will take no lesson from Labour, telling BBC Breakfast: “I don’t think the politicization by the Labour Party, given how much money they take from the unions, is a particularly attractive look for Keir Starmer.

“We ought to come together to make sure there is public confidence in our institutions, including how we do our jobs as MPs and that we’ve got a robust system for complaints or impropriety.

“But also a fair system, that’s what we should be working towards.”

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