Minister insists Boris Johnson 'certainly won't be resigning'

Prime minister Boris Johnson at a Downing Street briefing

Prime minister Boris Johnson at a Downing Street briefing - Credit: PA

Boris Johnson “certainly won’t be resigning” amid accusations of sleaze against him and his government, a minister has insisted.

Scottish secretary Alister Jack was peppered with questions about the PM, including over the controversial refurbishment of his Downing Street flat and why he is not due to visit Scotland ahead of next week’s Holyrood elections.

SNP MP Pete Wishart told the Commons: “There’s only one surefire way for the union to be strengthened in the next week and that’s to get the prime minister to Scotland and on the campaign trail.

“The Secretary of State surely knows there’ll be throngs of happy Scots rejoicing in his sleaze-free presence, helping the Electoral Commission with their inquiries, sharing the anecdotes about bodies piled high in the street, what could possibly go wrong for the Scottish Tories?

“So, can the Secretary of State and I start working on the itinerary? Surely Scotland deserves to see its prime minister before he inevitably has to resign.”

Jack replied: “The prime minister’s diary is not my concern and he certainly won’t be resigning.”

He added: “In all my discussions with him, his passion for strengthening the United Kingdom burns very bright indeed.”

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For Labour, shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray asked about allegations that Johnson said he would rather see “bodies piled high in their thousands” than order a third lockdown – remarks the prime minister has denied saying.

Jack told the Commons: “What I’d say on the bodies remark is that in every conversation I’ve had with the prime minister in the last year, his desire at all levels has been to save lives and to protect the NHS.

“I have in many conversations – in Cabinet committees, cabinet and in private – no recollection of him being any other than totally focused on saving lives and protecting the NHS.

“He’s been entirely focused on this pandemic all the way through, he hasn’t been distracted as others have – the nationalists, Nicola Sturgeon admitting that she took her eye off the ball.

“He hasn’t taken his eye off the ball, he’s been focused on the pandemic, he’s tackled vaccines and the programme, and he now wants to lead our economic recovery.”

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