Rebel Tories Reportedly Launch ‘Operation Rinka’ to Oust BoJo Amid Partygate Scandal

© REUTERS / UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor / Prime Minister's Questions at the parliament in LondonPrime Minister's Questions at the parliament in London
Prime Minister's Questions at the parliament in London - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.01.2022
A plan dubbed “Operation Save Big Dog” was reportedly conceived by Downing Street to “shift the blame” from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson amid devastating fallout from the “partygate” scandal, avert a possible leadership challenge and mend reputational damage.
As the heat is upped on Boris Johnson amid the ongoing so-called “partygate” row, some Tory MPs have concocted a campaign to oust him, pressuring colleagues to submit letters of no confidence in the UK Prime Minister to the head of the influential backbench 1992 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, reported The Guardian.
54 letters – from 15 per cent of the party’s MPs - are required to trigger a Conservative leadership election. The plan has been codenamed “Operation Rinka”, according to a backbencher cited by the outlet.
The reference here is to the Great Dane, shot dead on Exmoor in 1975 in the sex scandal that extinguished Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe’s career.
The scandal arose from allegations by Norman Josiffe (known also as Norman Scott) that he and Thorpe had a homosexual relationship in the early 1960s, and that Thorpe had conspired to murder him to conceal it.
Thorpe had denied any such relationship. His dog was eventually shot during an alleged murder attempt by a hired gunman in October 1975. Thorpe was forced to resign the Liberal leadership in May 1976.
Despite being initially charged with conspiracy to murder Scott, the politician was acquitted, but his public reputation was damaged irreparably.

‘Not Dancing with the People’

Claiming that Boris Johnson had failed to deliver on the policy pledges made during the last election, a backbencher was cited by the outlet as quoting a phrase favoured by ex-US president Ronald Reagan, “dance with the one that brung ya”.
“He’s not dancing with the people that brung him into Downing Street,” said the MP.
The report claims that multiple groups of Tory MPs are currently being lobbied to submit no confidence letters, among them those brought in after the 2019 election, when the Conservative Party scored one of its biggest victories in recent years.
While many of these MPs are believed to feel they owed their electoral success to Johnson, some are said to be frustrated over the repercussions from the alleged lockdown-busting Downing Street parties row.
Two MPs purportedly claimed that about a dozen colleagues in the same 2019 intake had already submitted no confidence letters.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks outside Downing Street in London, Britain, January 12, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.01.2022
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Furthermore, MPs returning from constituency surgeries have been cited as revealing that their inbox was “off the scale” with complaints about Johnson coming in from Tory associations and constituents. Some local Conservatives ostensibly hoped the embattled party leader would be replaced before local elections slated for 5 May.
Others reported receiving around 1,000 emails from angry constituents. According to a senior government source cited by the publication frustration and anger over Johnson’s actions was displayed by sceptics of COVID-19 lockdown, disgruntled ex-ministers and MPs from former Labour red wall seats. The latter were reportedly infuriated by the PM’s perceived failure to deliver on his levelling-up agenda.
“It only takes a dozen letters from each group to get you close to the 54 you need [to trigger a no confidence vote in the prime minister], so it’s harder to keep them all down at once,” the source was quoted as warning.
Steve Baker, member of the COVID Recovery Group, while stopping short of acknowledging whether he had submitted a no confidence letter, was cited as saying:
“People are very upset and angry.” He added that currently MPs were “mostly waiting for Sue Gray’s report” before deciding Johnson’s fate.
Asked about the likelihood that Boris Johnson would still lead the Conservatives into the next election, Baker conceded that the situation was too “volatile” to say.
“I would still prefer that Boris Johnson were a roaring success. But right now, listening to the public who remember very well all the sacrifices they made, I think people may well be too angry to forgive – but it remains to be seen,” he added.

BoJo ‘Rescue’ Plans

This comes as Downing Street insiders have reportedly devised a plan to sack officials and save Boris Johnson, dubbed “Operation Save Big Dog”, involving a “clearout" of his advisers, reported The Sunday Times.
Martin Reynolds, Johnson’s principal private secretary, who had invited more than 100 Downing Street staff to a "bring your own booze" drinks party on 20 May 2020, during the first lockdown in the country, in a leaked email made public earlier by ITV News, was likely to be the first to exit.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks outside Downing Street in London, Britain, January 12, 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.01.2022
BoJo Reportedly Grilled in ‘Partygate’ Probe Amid ‘Save Big Dog’&'Red Meat’ Premiership Rescue Plans
Furthermore, a swathe of policy announcements were reportedly in the pipeline to shore up support for the Prime Minister, including lifting plan “B” COVID-19 restrictions, sending in the military to tackle the migrant English Channel boat crisis, measures to support families with rising fuel bills ahead of an announcement on the expected rise of the energy price cap.
Senior civil servant Sue Gray is currently leading an investigation into more than 15 allegedly lockdown-breaching parties at Downing Street and other government departments. The report, anticipated to be published no sooner than next week, is not expected to recommend a criminal investigation.
Boris Johnson, who earlier in the Commons apologised for attending one of the events - the "bring your own booze" drinks party on 20 May 2020 – apologised in Parliament, claiming that he had “believed implicitly” that the gathering was a “work event”. He underscored he was committed to making a further statement “once the investigation concludes”.
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