Nadine Dorries: 'If he kicked a dog, I'd stop supporting Boris Johnson'

File photo dated 15/10/2021 of Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries who has suggested the Government would legislate to stop comedy people find offensive being shown on Netflix. Ms Dorries, who was appearing on BBC Breakfast to speak about the Online Safety Bill, said the new legislation would not cover comments made by comedian Jimmy Carr about the Holocaust in Netflix special His Dark Material. Issue date: Saturday February 5, 2022.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has been one of Boris Johnson's fiercest supporters. (PA)

The culture secretary has said if Boris Johnson "kicked a dog" she would withdraw her support for him when being questioned about Partygate.

Nadine Dorries has been one of Johnson's fiercest supporters during the Partygate crisis that has consumed his government.

When asked by CNN if there was any circumstance she would withdraw her support for Johnson she said: "Well of course... if he went up and kicked a dog I'd probably withdraw my support for him."

She was defending the latest image to come out of the Partygate scandal that showed the prime minister hosting a zoom quiz with two of his staff and a bottle of champagne.

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She said she couldn't think of any office worker who had not been in a similar situation during lockdown.

In defence of the prime minister, she said: "Has he failed in any way on delivering for the country? No, he hasn't."

She called on all of her colleagues to get behind Johnson.

Dorries has repeatedly come to the prime minister's defence in the media during the Partygate crisis when many of her colleagues have criticised his behaviour.

She has claimed that most of the PM's opponents were hardcore Remainers seeking to overturn Brexit, despite two ardent Brexit supporters David Davis and Andrew Bridgen being at the forefront of Johnson's critics.

The Partygate scandal has consumed the government in recent days, with Sir John Major saying on Thursday it could damage the government's international standard.

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New Scotland Yard, the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service, in London. Police are reviewing its assessment that the Christmas quiz in No 10 on December 15 2020 did not meet the threshold for criminal investigation after an image surfaced of Boris Johnson near a bottle of wine. Picture date: Wednesday February 9, 2022.
The police are investigating the parties. (PA)

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Last week, Dorries was criticised for saying Johnson tells the truth “to the best of his knowledge” based on advice given to him by aides.

She told the BBC: “He will have been given by advisers and researchers the fact that there were more people in work than there were at the beginning of the pandemic, not on the payroll.”

She said: “So did he tell the truth when he quoted that? Yes, he told the truth as it was given to him.”

She added: “The Prime Minister does tell the truth.”

“I can personally tell you that the Prime Minister, when he stands at the despatch box and makes quotes like the one you just quoted, is because the researchers and his advisers will have given him that quote, and that’s… and he was truthful, to the best of his knowledge, when he made that quote,” she said.

Scotland Yard is still investigating the parties and said it will be dispatching the questionnaires by the end of the week as officers consider whether to widen the investigation to cover a Christmas quiz in No 10 in December 2020 - the image Dorries was defending on Thursday.

Police are reconsidering their decision not to include that event after a photograph emerged of Mr Johnson and colleagues near an open bottle of sparkling wine.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick suggested some of those being contacted by officers will end up with fines.

Johnson is expected to be among the more than 50 individuals in No 10 and Whitehall who will receive legal questionnaires from officers working on Operation Hillman - the name of the police's investigation into Partygate.

Adam Wagner, a lawyer who has been examining COVID-19 regulations, described the dispatching of questionnaires as “very significant” because it means the police think they are approaching a point where they can start issuing fines.