FREEDOM loving Boris Johnson is under the “spell” of his gloomy Lord of the Rings’ ‘Wormtongue’ advisers, one his biggest backers declared tonight.
Brexiteer Steve Baker blasted the Prime Minister’s reliance on top docs and aides, saying he needed to be “woken up” from a “slumber” and hinted others were pulling the strings.
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In what was seen as a direct attack on top No10 chief Dominic Cummings and chief medic Chris Whitty, Mr Baker invoked King Theoden from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings who is put under a spell and controlled by an evil adviser.
The former minister said: “Many of us will have seen Lord of the Rings… Theoden the king is under the spell of his advisers, and he has to be woken up from that spell. When he wakes from that spell joy comes to pass in the kingdom.”
He went on: “And I am afraid at the moment somebody needs to wake Theoden from his slumber. When Theoden awakes, and I mean Boris, everything will come right.”
Concerns were also raised by boss of the Commons defence committee Tobias Elwood, who said: “You have to ask yourself do you have the right team to actually deal with this.”
The blistering put downs came amid a growing rebellion on the Tory benches against Mr Johnson’s plan to extend sweeping emergency powers to tackle coronavirus on Wednesday.
More than 50 Tories have publicly slammed the proposal, although the Speaker of the Commons may dash their hopes of a formal showdown by not calling their planned protest amendment on Wednesday evening.
Tonight Downing Street rejected Mr Baker’s charge, saying Mr Johnson “is responsible for all the decisions he takes as prime minister.”
Tory former minister Sir Desmond Swayne called for Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance to be sacked as government advisers.
He told the Commons: “Less than a year ago, I celebrated what I thought was the election of a sceptical and liberal-conservative administration.
“And now I am left wondering if the Prime Minister hasn’t been abducted by Dr Strangelove and reprogrammed by the Sage over to the dark side. The purpose of politicians is to impose a measure of proportion, a sense of proportion on science, and not to be enthralled to it.
“Now I will make myself very unpopular, but I believe that the appearance of the chiefs (chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance) last week should have been a sacking offence.
“When they presented that graph, with the caveat that it wasn’t a prediction, but nevertheless it was clear that they presented it as a plausible scenario, with its 50,000 cases per day by mid-October based on the doubling of infections by the week.
“Not once, not on one day since March have there been infections on that day that were double that of the day of the week proceeding. Not once. Where did this doubling come from? What was their purpose in presenting such a graph?
“It was the purpose of the Fat Boy in Pickwick Papers, ‘I wants to make yer flesh creep’. It was project fear, it was an attempt to terrify the British people, as if they haven’t been terrified enough.”
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