Watch: Dominic Raab says he would step aside as deputy PM if Boris Johnson asked in wake of Sue Gray report
Dominic Raab has claimed he would step down as deputy prime minister to support changes Boris Johnson promised in the wake of the Sue Gray report.
The prime minister pledged to change the way he runs the government and apologised after Gray's damning but limited report found there were “failures of leadership and judgment” in relation to parties held in Downing Street during lockdown.
Furious Tory MPs berated Johnson in the Commons on Monday during a bruising two-hour session, but despite the outward fury, senior Tories have insisted that the PM managed to win back their support in a meeting later that evening.
Johnson is said to have placated his party with the promises of wide-ranging reforms within Downing Street and the Cabinet Office, including by creating an Office of the Prime Minister with a permanent secretary to lead No 10.
Raab has been staunchly supportive of his embattled boss throughout the Partygate scandal, and showed no signs of stopping following the report.
When asked if he would "step aside" in his role as part of those changes, Raab told BBC Breakfast: "Oh look I'll do whatever is necessary to fulfil any of the reforms that the prime minister brings forward, thats absolutely fine".
Gray’s full investigation into claims of lockdown-busting parties in No 10 and Whitehall has been sidelined while the Metropolitan Police look into 12 separate alleged breaches of the rules in 2020 and 2021.
They include events where the prime minister has admitted being present and another in the flat he shares with his wife Carrie Johnson in Downing Street.
Gray’s limited update on the state of her investigation contained little detail, due to the police investigation, but was still scathing about the culture and leadership which led to the events at a time when most of the population was abiding by Covid-19 restrictions.
In response to mounting pressure from Tory MPs, Downing Street confirmed that Johnson would publish an updated report from Gray once the police investigation has concluded.
Watch: Sue Gray report - PM hoped to buy himself some time with Commons grilling, but events are in danger of spiralling out of control
And while many senior Tories are insisting the PM is safe, former Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell said he doesn't think the crisis is "going to go away" and hinted at more unrest beneath the surface.
Mitchell told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “I think this is a crisis that is not going to go away and is doing very great damage to the party.
“It is more corrosive in my judgement than the expenses scandal was and it will break the coalition that is the Conservative Party.”
Mitchell said an “awful lot” is going on “beneath the surface”.
One of the most public faces to speak against Johnson was his predecessor Theresa May, who questioned whether Johnson thought the rules he imposed on the public did not apply to him.
She said: “The COVID regulations imposed significant restrictions on the freedoms of members of the public.
"They had a right to expect their prime minister to have read the rules, to understand the meaning of the rules and indeed those around him to have done so too and to set an example in following those rules.
"What the Gray report does show is that Number 10 Downing Street was not observing the regulations they had imposed on members of the public, so either my right honourable friend had not read the rules or didn’t understand what they meant and others around him, or they didn’t think the rules applied to Number 10.
"Which was it?”
Conservative Aaron Bell spoke about his experience of abiding by strict rules at his grandmother’s lockdown funeral.
He said: “I didn’t hug my siblings, I didn’t hug my parents, I gave the eulogy and then afterwards I didn’t even go to her house for cup of tea. I drove back three hours from Kent to Staffordshire. Does the prime minister think I’m a fool?”
Watch: Tory MP asks "Am I a fool" for following the rules in blistering attack on Boris Johnson