A Scottish Conservative MSP has predicted “another tough period” ahead for Downing Street and the Prime Minister after the resignation of four key aides.
On Thursday, Munira Mirza, one of Boris Johnson’s most loyal and longstanding advisers, quit over his use of a “scurrilous” Jimmy Savile smear used against Sir Keir Starmer.
It was followed by the resignation of Jack Doyle, No 10’s director of communications, who was embroiled in allegations of lockdown-breaching parties in Downing Street.
Number 10 then announced that both Dan Rosenfield, the prime minister’s chief of staff, and Martin Reynolds, Johnson’s principal private secretary, would also be leaving their roles.
Meanwhile, chancellor Rishi Sunak distanced himself from the unfounded claim made by Johnson towards Starmer regarding the failure to prosecute Jimmy Savile, telling a Downing Street press conference: “I wouldn’t have said it”.
Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme on Friday, Scottish Conservative MSP Craig Hoy acknowledged that the situation in Number 10 “doesn’t look good”.
“I think it’s going to be another tough period for Downing Street and for the Prime Minister,” he said.
“I recognise that this doesn’t look good. It does though, and I do respect that fact, it does show that things are going to change in Downing Street that people are leaving.
“But I think that is putting perhaps a positive spin on the situation.”
Hoy sought to turn focus towards the cost of living crisis when asked about the remarks of Munira Mirza, who in her resignation accused Johnson of “scurrilous” behaviour.
“I read her words very clearly. She was obviously annoyed about the situation,” Hoy said of Mirza.
“She has been a trusted lieutenant of the Prime Minister, but this is all part of this kind of ongoing distraction.
“You know, yesterday we found out that there is this cost of living crisis emerging.
“It was great to see the Chancellor taking very urgent action in relation to that.”
The Scottish Conservative MSP backed Sunak over his response to the Savile attack line used against the Labour leader.
“I’m not going to say it was scurrilous, I saw actually what the Chancellor Rishi Sunak said when he said that it shouldn’t have been said and that he wouldn’t have said it,” said Hoy.
“It’s down for the Prime Minister to choose his words, he chose his words.
“The Chancellor said he wouldn’t have chosen them and I think I wouldn’t have done so either.”
Hoy also refused to be drawn on who might replace Johnson in Downing Street should he leave office.
He said: “There’s no vacancy for the top job, but if and when there is a vacancy, I suspect myself and colleagues will be quite clear with you at that point in time.
“But I think it’s far too early to start naming the runners and riders in any leadership contest.”
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