The Liberal Democrats are targeting Mr Raab and other senior Conservatives over their continued support for the Prime Minister after he admitted to attending a party in the Downing Street garden. Mr Johnson told the Commons he believed the event – described as a “bring your own booze” gathering in an invitation sent to 100 people by his private secretary – was a work event. The deputy Prime Minister’s marginal Esher and Walton seat is the first target for the Lib Dems’ new ad campaign which highlights the incumbent’s support for Mr Johnson.
Mr Raab’s Surrey constituency is a major ‘Blue Wall’ goal for the Lib Dems, with the party having cut his majority from 23,298 in 2017 to 2,743 in 2019.
Sir Ed Davey’s party are hoping to capitalise on anger among Tory voters in seats held by ministers and backbenchers who speak out in support of the Prime Minister.
The leaflet quotes Mr Raab during an interview he gave last Wednesday following the Prime Minister’s apology to the British people in the House of Commons.
Mr Raab said: “I’m fully supportive of this Prime Minister and I’m sure he will continue for many years to come.”
On Monday, former chief aide to the Prime Minister Dominic Cummings declared he was willing to swear on oath that Mr Johnson was warned a drinks event at No10 in May should not go ahead.
The claim contradicts the premier’s statement to the House of Commons last Wednesday, when he insisted he believed “implicitly” that the gathering was a work event.
In an interview with BBC Breakfast this morning, Mr Raab branded the latest allegations from Mr Cummings as “nonsense” and said he was “confident” the PM had been “straightforward” with the Commons.
Lib Dems deputy leader Daisy Cooper said: “Whilst people were unable to say goodbye to their loved ones, Boris Johnson and his staff held party after party after party, and when they got found out, they lied and lied and lied. People will never forgive a Conservative MP for defending that.
“It’s just embarrassing to see Dominic Raab defending Boris Johnson’s party antics.
“The Liberal Democrats will not allow Conservative MPs to hide behind the Sue Gray report next week.
“Whatever her findings, it is Boris Johnson who will decide his own fate and that makes the whole thing stink.
“The public will see right through this political stitch-up.
“Boris Johnson broke the law, he lied to parliament and the public and now he must resign.
“If a Blue Wall Conservative MP chooses to use the Sue Gray report outcome as a reason to back Boris Johnson, we will make sure their constituents know about it.”
The Lib Dems warn they are closing in on the Tory heartlands after by-election wins in Chesham and Amersham and, most recently, North Shropshire.
Sarah Olney MP, Lib Dem Business Spokesperson, told Express.co.uk: “The Liberal Democrats are in a close second place in dozens of Conservative Blue Wall seats across the country.
“The Blue Wall is crumbling before Boris Johnson’s eyes.
“For far too long the Conservative Party has taken people for granted and failed to deliver for communities.”
Seats such as Winchester and Cheltenham would require less than 1,000 votes to turn yellow in the next election.
In London, there are only 600 votes between the Lib Dems and power in Wimbledon and Carshalton and Wallington.
A five percent swing from the electorate in Cheadle or South Cambridgeshire could also send more Lib Dems sailing into Parliament.
Meanwhile, it would only take a two percent shift to oust Mr Raab from his constituency.