Boris Johnson says he has “seen no evidence” of blackmail in his party after claims by one of his own MPs.

William Wragg – who has called on the PM to resign over parties at No 10 – said suspected plotters have been threatened with bad publicity and cuts to constituency funding.

He has advised colleagues who feel threatened to go to the police.

An ex-Tory MP who defected to Labour, Christian Wakeford, also said he was threatened over funding for a school.

Mr Johnson told reporters: “I have seen no evidence [and] heard no evidence.”

But asked if he would look into the reports, he replied: “Of course.”

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Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner called the claims “shocking” and Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey accused Mr Johnson of “acting more like a mafia boss than a prime minister”.

Scotland’s First Minister, the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon, said: “If Tories are threatening to withhold public investment from constituencies as a way of keeping MPs in line then, yes, that’s blackmail and intimidation – but it is also corruption.

“The moral decay at the heart of Johnson’s government may be even worse than we thought.”

But Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries accused Mr Wragg of “attention-seeking behaviour”, calling his accusations “nonsense”.

And Energy Minister Greg Hands, who used to work as a government whip, said Mr Wakeford was not a “credible source” because his defection meant his job was now to “do down the Conservative Party”.

He added that Mr Wragg’s claims had “not been borne out by anybody else”, adding: “This is not something that happens”.

Media caption,
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries calls the blackmail accusations “nonsense”
Mr Johnson is facing down an attempt from some Tory MPs to oust him as leader over lockdown parties held in Downing Street.

He has called on potential rebels to wait for the outcome of civil servant Sue Gray’s inquiry into parties, expected next week, before passing judgement on him.

But in a sign of worsening relations between Mr Johnson and his backbenchers, Mr Wragg launched a stinging attack on the way the government has handled dissent among Tory MPs.

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