Rishi Sunak brought an abrupt end to an interview after he was asked if he fully supported Boris Johnson.
(Watch the interview above).
The Chancellor was giving an interview to Sky News over the future of the prime minister, who has been accused by his former chief adviser Dominic Cummings of lying to Parliament over allegations of lockdown-breaching parties in Downing Street.
Downing Street has rejected the claim and stuck by Johnson’s statement to MPs last week, in which he insisted he did not know in advance about the event in May 2020.
Asked whether he backed his boss, Sunak replied: “Of course I do.
The prime minister set out his understanding of this matter in parliament last week and I’d refer you to his words.
Sue Gray is conducting an inquiry into this matter and I fully support the prime minister’s request for patience while that inquiry concludes.
Sunak then refused to comment on whether Johnson should quit following Cummings’ bombshell allegations.
“I’m not going to get into hypotheticals.
The Ministerial Code is clear on these matters.” Pressed on whether he supported the PM unequivocally, Sunak promptly stood up, took off his microphone abruptly and walked off while his adviser stood in front of the journalist.
Sunak is the bookies’ favourite to replace Johnson and has tried to distance himself from the scandal in recent days.
He told Yahoo News UK last week that he had not attended the garden party.
And he was noticeably absent from the House of Commons last Wednesday during the prime minister's apology for the anger sparked by the revelations.
The Ministerial Code states that ministers who lie to Parliament and do not correct the record should resign.
If Johnson is found to have lied, his position would become untenable.