Boris Johnson has greatly damaged his reputation. His colleagues fear he will now cost them their jobs

“I was made aware of multiple instances of disrespect and ill-treatment from security and cleaning personnel. This was unacceptable,” Gray wrote.

Gray wrote that “the senior leadership at the center” of Johnson’s administration must “be responsible” for a culture in which the parties could take place.

Despite the gory details of people breaking into walls, arguing in the hallways of Downing Street and in many cases proving that those in the building knew what they were doing was wrong, Johnson’s job is not in immediate danger.

With the next general election scheduled for only in 2024 and Johnson currently sitting with a sizable majority in parliament, it is only his own Conservative MPs who can sack the prime minister, something potential rebels don’t really have the numbers or power to do.

This sense of being tied to Johnson, whose personal ratings have plummeted since the scandal began last year, is driving conservatives crazy. They worry that Johnson has done irreversible damage to his own image in the eyes of most voters, who have finally seen “what he really is,” as one senior conservative put it. All that’s left is that his reputation is now tarnishing the rest of the party – something that polls and recent election results say has already begun.

“Since he took office, his larger-than-life personality has dominated the political agenda, which is a good thing if the public sees you as funny and likeable,” said a Conservative MP and former minister. “The problem now is that the country has learned more about what that personality really is, but it’s still so huge that it eclipses everything else.”

A current minister told CNN: “There is no doubt that his image has changed from the happy Brexiteer to a liar who has broken the law.”

Numerous conservatives speaking to CNN agreed that the damage to Johnson’s image is extremely bad for a man who has been in the public eye for so long and with such an established array of strengths and weaknesses.

“We all have that friend that we know is probably doing bad things, but we don’t see them doing those things, so we can pretend it’s not that bad,” said Rob Ford, a professor of politics at the University of Manchester.

“When we see the evidence of how bad they really are, it’s not surprising, but still heartbreaking. This is what is happening to people who have continued to support Johnson. Their worst suspicions are confirmed.”

Speaking to Parliament moments after the report was published, Johnson said he was “humiliated” and “learned my lesson”, adding: “I take full responsibility for everything that happened on my watch. “

But he also echoed previous claims that parties didn’t escalate until after he left, insisting he was “surprised and disappointed” that several drink-related events were taking place — despite taking place in the same building as his own office and apartment.

And he suggested that the cramped quarters of government buildings and the “extremely long hours” of his staff responding to the Covid-19 crisis could explain why several parties and social events took place.

“I attended such meetings briefly to thank them for their service, which I believe is one of the essential responsibilities of leadership,” Johnson said.

As trivial as this may sound, Johnson has long held the image of Britain’s troubled partner. He was previously fired from one job for making a quote, and another for allegedly having an affair. He stretched the truth beyond recognition during the Brexit referendum. He comes across as unobtrusive and unashamed. That’s great, until the public doesn’t forgive you anymore.

“He has always been able to escape the clichés previously applied to conservative leaders of being elitist and out of touch. He somehow avoided the caricature,” said Salma Shah, a former adviser of conservative governments.

“It is inevitable that scrutiny will be tightened now that he holds the highest office in the country,” she said. “However, what will hurt the Partygate report is that it really challenges the Boris brand as the popular jovial character and applies that cliché to him.”

In the medium term, Conservatives worry they have two years left with Johnson in power. “He has become more divisive over time. I hope he reaches out to at least unite the party, but I fear his instinct is to dig in and out if things get to him stop it,” says a senior backbencher.

Others pointed to earlier difficult moments in Johnson’s premiership, when he sent allies to defend him on news channels, then reversed government policy and ridiculed them.

“Those who continue to defend him over Partygate, in increasingly ridiculous circumstances, will, in time, be affected by the taint he has spilled on the Conservative Party,” Ford said.

“If the polls are to be trusted, most voters are now convinced that Johnson’s Downing Street is a place where vomiting and spilling wine, then being rude to the cleaners who have to clean up, is considered acceptable behaviour. tied to it,” Ford added.

Boris Johnson and his father Stanley, pictured in 2019.

Earlier, MPs said they would wait for the Gray report before deciding whether to go against Johnson. Now some say they will wait for an investigation to determine whether or not Johnson lied to parliament.

The minister who spoke to CNN says they believe the real moment of truth will come in two special elections that will take place on June 23. damning assessment of the party under Johnson. At that point, some of us will start thinking about our own seats, I suspect.”

In the long run, people within the party will want an autopsy on how Johnson came to power in the first place, as his flaws were well known throughout Westminster.

Multiple current and former advisers who have worked with Johnson in a variety of roles, inside and outside the government, describe him as a man with a short fuse and rarely truly believing he has done anything wrong.

Nearly everyone who has previously worked for Johnson and has spoken to CNN has at least once described him lashing out at his junior staff because they put him in a position where he was open to criticism from the media or his political opposition.

A former employee attributes this to Johnson’s obsession with being liked. “It’s no big surprise that he was a media figure before,” they say.

“If you’re a columnist, you can get away with saying what you want people to find funny. When you run a country and what you do really touches people, you can’t demand that they love everything you do.” says the former staffer. adds.

Observations that Johnson’s personality is a box of contradictions are not new. He wrote columns that appealed to the Conservative Right while playing the part of Liberal Mayor of London. And for a long time, playing both sides worked.

And indeed, Partygate could spell the end of Johnson’s record-spinning act. He could stay in power for a while longer; he might even fight — and win — reelection.

But few believe he can play the role of serious statesman during a global pandemic while also in charge of a culture where your staff throw illegal parties, throw up in government offices, and then be rude to the people who clean it up — – while remaining universally popular.

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