By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 22 January 2022 • 12:42
Police are to meet with the senior Tory MP who accused No 10 of trying to blackmail MPs to head off attempts to remove the Prime Minister Boris Johnson. WilliamWragg, the Conservative MP for Hazel Grove, has said he will be meeting a Scotland Yard detective in the House of Commons early next week, raising the prospect police could open an investigation.
The disclosure came after Downing Street said it would not be mounting its own inquiry into the claims, despite calls to do so by both Conservative and opposition MPs. A spokesperson for No 10 said it would only open an inquiry if it was presented with evidence to back the claims made by Mr Wragg.
Wragg, who chairs the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, said he believed an investigation should be for the “experts” in the police. He has said he will outline “several” examples of bullying and intimidation, which in some cases involve public money.
He told the Telegraph: “I stand by what I have said. No amount of gas-lighting will change that.
“The offer of Number 10 to investigate is kind but I shall leave it to the experts. I am meeting the police early next week.”
Former Tory MP Jerry Hayes threw his support behind Mr Wragg and said the claims should be investigated. Speaking to the BBC he said: “We’ve got William Wragg, who is actually a serious figure, he’s not a snowflake, he’s not someone who can easily be bullied.
“Something has happened and he’s gone all the way to the Metropolitan Police. I just hope that we have an investigation. If he’s gone to the Metropolitan Police there must be something there, otherwise his career falls apart, doesn’t it?”
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “As with any such allegations, should a criminal offence be reported to the Met, it would be considered.”
Mr Wragg’s latest intervention comes as No 10 is braced for the expected delivery next week of the report of Sue Gray, the senior civil servant investigating lockdown parties in Downing St elsewhere in Whitehall.
It is likely to lead to renewed calls from opposition parties for a police investigation if there is any evidence Covid rules were broken, including at a drinks do in May 2020 attended by Mr Johnson.
Mr Wragg, one of seven Tory MPs to have called publicly for the Prime Minister to resign, stunned Westminster with his allegations this week of a campaign of intimidation by No 10 amounting to criminal conduct.
He said Conservative MPs trying to trigger a no confidence vote in Mr Johnson had been told public funding for projects in their constituencies would be cut off and threatened with stories in the press to embarrass them.
Christian Wakeford, the Bury South MP who defected to Labour, later described how the Tory whips had warned him over funding for a new school in his constituency if he rebelled in a vote over free school meals.
Ministers have sought to dismiss the allegations, insisting the whips had no role in the allocation of public funding, with a spokesman for the Prime Minister saying: “We’re not aware of any evidence to support what are clearly serious allegations.
“If there was any evidence to support it, it would of course be looked at.”
The latest disclosures will only fuel the febrile mood at Westminster, with Mr Johnson’s political survival hanging in the balance especially with the senior Tory MP to meet with police to discuss his claims of blackmail and intimidation.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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