Who will Boris throw under a bus to save his skin? Johnson could blame ‘Party Marty’ Martin Reynolds, No10 chief of staff Dan Rosenfield and spin doctor Jack Doyle for PartyGate as PM plots overhaul of his inner circle
Boris Johnson is planning a mass clearout of his Number 10 inner circle as he tries to save his premiership following the wave of revelations about lockdown-busting parties in Whitehall.
One senior Tory told the i newspaper that the ‘whole operation is s***’ in Number 10 and Mr Johnson needs to oversee ‘A Week of Machetes’ rather than a ‘Night of the Long Knives’.
Others have labelled Downing Street a ‘shambles’ and have called for the entire top team to be shaken up.
Mr Johnson is reportedly planning a major overhaul in what has been dubbed ‘Operation Save Big Dog’.
Below is a breakdown of the senior figures who could be in the line of fire.
Boris Johnson is planning a mass clearout of his Number 10 inner circle as he tries to save his premiership following the wave of revelations about lockdown-busting parties in Whitehall
Martin Reynolds, Mr Johnson’s Principal Private Secretary, is viewed as potentially the most likely figure to be axed
Martin Reynolds, Mr Johnson’s Principal Private Secretary
One Tory MP close to Number 10 told The Sunday Times that ‘Boris is preparing to lay down the lives of his staff to save his own’ in a ‘Night of the Long Scapegoats’.
Mr Reynolds is viewed as potentially the most likely figure to be axed from Number 10 over the party row.
The civil servant heads up Mr Johnson’s private office and plays a key role in the PM’s day-to-day decision-making.
He sent an email inviting Number 10 staff to a ‘bring your own booze’ party in the Downing Street garden on May 20, 2020.
The emergence of the email reignited the PartyGate row and Mr Reynolds has been tipped to be moved from his Number 10 role after the Cabinet Office probe into Whitehall gatherings reports.
The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group has called for Mr Reynolds to be sacked over the ‘socially distanced drinks’ event, held when England was subject to strict Covid rules.
Downing Street insisted after the email emerged that Mr Johnson has ‘full confidence’ in Mr Reynolds.
Mr Reynolds was also photographed alongside Mr Johnson at a ‘cheese and wine’ gathering in the Number 10 garden on May 15, 2020.
Downing Street has insisted that event was work-related and no rules were broken.
Government sources believe the email will lead to Mr Reynolds’ exit from Number 10.
One source told The Telegraph: ‘He’s not a popular guy with officials. He has let down a lot of people.’
Stuart Glassborow, Mr Reynolds’ Deputy
Mr Glassborow currently serves as Deputy Principal Private Secretary in Mr Johnson’s private office.
The senior civil servant is Mr Reynolds’ deputy and The Sunday Times has reported that he is expected to follow his boss out of the door.
He has been in the role in Number 10 since May 2019 having previously served as the principal private secretary to the chancellor.
Cabinet ministers are urging Mr Johnson to sack his chief of staff, Dan Rosenfield, with Tory MPs having labelled the Number 10 operation a ‘shambles’
Dan Rosenfield, Downing Street Chief of Staff
Mr Rosenfield was appointed Mr Johnson’s chief of staff in November 2020 with the task of restoring order to a divided Downing Street following the departure of Dominic Cummings.
But he is under growing pressure over his running of the Downing Street operation.
Cabinet ministers are pressing Mr Johnson to sack Mr Rosenfield, according to The Times.
Mr Rosenfield is accused of approving the claim there were ‘no parties’ in Number 10.
It is not the first time the former Treasury official has been under pressure, with Mr Cummings having demanded his successor be fired in September 2021 after it emerged he attended the premiere of a new James Bond film while the nation struggled with a fuel crisis.
Mr Rosenfield attended the Royal Albert Hall for the world’s first viewing of No Time To Die.
Mr Cummings tweeted at the time: ‘IF true ”chief of staff” was at Bond, as NHS staff queuing for petrol, he should be fired instantly.’
A Number 10 source defended the decision to attend, saying: ‘James Bond is a great British success story and it’s important to support our cultural sector and recognise its valuable contribution to society and the economy.’
Mr Rosenfield is no stranger to turbulent times in Westminster having worked closely with then Labour chancellor Alistair Darling during the financial crisis of 2008.
He also worked with Lord Darling’s Tory successor, George Osborne, as the latter ushered in the age of austerity two years later.
He started his career as a Treasury policy adviser in 2000 and swiftly rose through the ranks before leaving for a role in the private sector as the managing director at Bank of America.
Jack Doyle initially joined Number 10 as the PM’s deputy director of communications before being elevated to the role of director of communications last year
Jack Doyle, Number 10 Director of Communications
Mr Doyle started working for Mr Johnson in Downing Street in 2020 following a career as a journalist.
He initially joined as the PM’s deputy director of communications before being elevated to the role of director of communications last year.
It was claimed in December 2021 that Mr Doyle had made a speech and handed out awards at a Downing Street Christmas party on December 18, 2020.
He is said to have delivered a ‘thank you’ speech to up to 50 people who allegedly attended the bash.
Reports claimed that Mr Doyle had thanked staff working at Number 10 ‘like he does every week’.
ITV News claimed he also handed out paper certificates to members of the communications team as part of a ‘joke awards ceremony’.
Susan Acland-Hood, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education
The Department for Education has confirmed a social event hosted by then education secretary Gavin Williamson was held on December 10, 2020.
Ms Acland-Hood, the department’s most senior civil servant, has admitted that she attended the gathering in the canteen, where there was drinks and food served.
She told MPs that if any DfE staff, including herself, were found to have broken the rules then they would face disciplinary action.
The gathering is being examined as part of the Cabinet Office’s probe into Whitehall parties.
Ms Acland-Hood has been the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education (DfE) since September 2020.
She was previously the chief executive at HM Courts and Tribunals Service and has also worked in the Treasury and the Home Office.