In a week that has already given us revelations about a lockdown-busting ‘BYOB’ party at No.10 attended by Boris Johnson, and celebrations at Downing Street fuelled by a “suitcase of wine” as the Queen mourned Prince Philip alone, it’s hard to imagine British politics getting any more bizarre.
But on Friday afternoon, it did.
The Independent reported Johnson drawing up a list of officials to offer resignations in a bid to save his prime ministership. What’s more, the PM has reportedly called the plan “Operation Save Big Dog”.
The idea is to limit the damage caused by the much-anticipated Sue Gray report, which is expected to be published next week.
It is believed that Dan Rosenfield, Boris Johnson’s chief of staff, and his private secretary Martin Reynolds, the man behind the infamous ‘BYOB’ party email, are being considered as possible falls guys. The plan will also sniff out potential leadership rivals.
The Independent reports: “The ‘save big dog’ plan includes a communications ‘grid’ in the lead up to the investigation’s conclusion and beyond.
“This comprises lines for supportive ministers to take in press interviews, emphasising a contrite prime minister and listing his achievements amid the difficult choices posed by the pandemic.”
Excl: Johnson draws up plan for other people to quit over partygate so he can keep his job.
Number 10 declined to comment on the plan.
But a spox said they “absolutely do not recognise” its informal name (acc.sources): Operation Save Big Dog.https://t.co/BjNq3w9JCp
— Anna Isaac (@Annaisaac) January 14, 2022
The newspaper reported Downing Street refusing to comment on the existence of a plan to save Johnson – but it quoted a spokesperson saying they “absolutely did not recognise” the phrase “Operation Save Big Dog”.
But the dog appeared to be out of the kennel as political rivals and social media followed the lead.
Labour’s shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth said: “JohnBoris Johnson’s own plan to sack officials and save himself. What a disgrace. Johnson has utterly degraded the great office of Prime Minister with his antics. Time for Tory MPs to put the national interest first and oust him.
“Operation Save Big Dog”
Boris Johnson’s own plan to sack officials and save himself.
What a disgrace. Johnson has utterly degraded the great office of Prime Minister with his antics.
Time for Tory MPs to put the national interest first and oust him.https://t.co/1bHHAhMpke
— Jonathan Ashworth (@JonAshworth) January 14, 2022
Operation Save Big Dog sounds familiar. pic.twitter.com/6qJIoeDQpO
— David Whitley (@mrdavidwhitley) January 14, 2022
When a spokesperson says they “absolutely do not recognise the name” Operation Save Big Dog, do bear in mind the entire team of spokespeople absolutely did not recognise they were at a party even when one of them wheeled in a suitcase of wine. https://t.co/KsdDZKH1iP
— Tom Peck (@tompeck) January 14, 2022
One’s a bumbling cartoon character spreading chaos to everything he touches that some people used to find entertaining before they grew up, the other is Clifford the Big Red Dog#operationsavebigdogpic.twitter.com/g9RYbs5KOS
— Chris Kendall (@ottocrat) January 14, 2022
I mean we knew he was allergic to accountability, so the fact that he’s planning which of his underlings should fall on their sword to save his skin is no surprise, but he himself coining the plan “save big dog” is so fucking indescribably cringe I can’t https://t.co/7ohKXRnOkk
— Zoe Gardner (@ZoeJardiniere) January 14, 2022
Something tells me Boris Johnson’s plan to sack a load of of officials so that he can keep his own job isn’t going to work out quite the way he expects. https://t.co/kTxwLP2iczpic.twitter.com/bwMAMyaVug
— Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) January 14, 2022