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Labour calls for investigation into shocking allegations of Tory bullying and blackmail

Senior Tory accuses PM and senior ministers of intimidating MPs and threatening them with the withholding of constituency funding

LABOUR’S deputy leader Angela Rayner called for an investigation into shocking allegations of Tory bullying and blackmail as the government machine scrambled to save Boris Johnson’s job.

The dramatic allegations laid bare the civil war being waged within the Tory Party over the ongoing “partygate” scandal, and the continued speculation over the future of the Prime Minister.

Senior Tory William Wragg accused the PM and senior ministers of breaking the ministerial code by intimidating MPs and threatening them with the withholding of constituency funding.

Mr Wragg, chairman of the House public administration and constitutional affairs committee, told other members as his committee prepared to meet that he had received reports of “conduct amounting to blackmail.”

He said that those involved in this behaviour, including “members of staff at 10 Downing Street, special advisers, government ministers and others,” were encouraging the press to publish embarrassing stories about Tories who failed to demonstrate sufficient confidence in the Prime Minister.

Mr Wragg told MPs that intimidation was “a serious matter and amounted to blackmail,” and that anyone threatened should contact the police.

The MP is one of a handful of his colleagues to have publicly admitted to submitting a letter of no confidence in Mr Johnson to the back-bench 1922 committee.

Bury South MP Christian Wakeford, who defected from the Tories to Labour on Wednesday, claimed he was also intimidated.

Mr Wakeford said that funding for a school in his constituency was threatened with withdrawal because of his refusal to remain loyal to Mr Johnson.

He said he was reminded that his town had not had a high school for nearly a decade, and was asked: “How would you feel, holding back the regeneration of a town for a vote?”

In response to the claims, Ms Rayner said: “These are grave and shocking allegations of bullying, blackmail and misuse of public money — they must be investigated thoroughly.”

She said she was disgusted that “areas of our country will be starved of funding because their MPs don’t fall into line to prop up this failing Prime Minister.”

“The country deserves better than this out of touch, out of control, out of ideas government,” Ms Rayner added.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said that to obstruct MPs in their work could be in contempt of Parliament, adding that MPs and their staff are “not above the criminal law.”

Mr Johnson insisted during a visit to Taunton that he “had seen no evidence” to support the intimidation claims made by Mr Wragg.

The Metropolitan Police said it would consider any complaints made to officers.

The PM and his supporters are said to have launched major campaigns to save his job after allegations that he misled Parliament over his knowledge of the “partygate” allegations.

“Operation Save Big Dog” is alleged to involve the sacking of numerous No 10 staffers, in a bid to deflect blame from Mr Johnson.

The other campaign, dubbed “Operation Red Meat,” is the planned announcement of numerous authoritarian right-wing policies designed to win back the support of Tory backbenchers.

Mr Johnson today continued to urge critics to wait for the outcome of the report into the lockdown-breaking allegations from senior civil servant Sue Gray.

Ms Gray is reportedly set to issue her findings next week.


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