A leading ally of Boris Johnson has said that he can raise the legal fees for the former Prime Minister in “less than half a day” if the government carries out its threat to stop paying them.
Mr Johnson has been threatened with losing support for his legal fees if he continues to undermine the Government’s controversial position over the Covid inquiry.
The former Prime Minister has handed over his Whatsapp messages to the inquiry at a time when Rishi Sunak’s Government is going to court to challenge the demand by the inquiry chair Baroness Hallett for all the messages.
Mr Johnson has said he has “nothing to hide” but the Government claims the inquiry’s demand would set a new precedent.
The decision by Mr Johnson to deal with the inquiry directly and replace Government appointed lawyers with his own led to the threat of payment of legal fees which is currently being picked up by the taxpayer.
Former Tory treasurer Lord Cruddas, who supported the Conservative Post Bring Back Boris petition last summer, has now waded in to offer to help crowdfund Mr Johnson’s legal fees if the threat is carried out.
The peer is working with the Conservative Post again to raise the cash should it prove necessary.
Since confirming the plan on Sunday, Lord Cruddas told Express.co.uk that he has been contacted by thousands of supporters of Mr Johnson.
He said: “We are all geared up and ready to go if the Government carried through with the threat.
“I have had 300,000 views of my Tweet and thousands of support messages.
“I could probably get Boris’s legal fees funded through crowdfunding in half a day because of the high level of support for Boris and the disgust at Rishi Sunak’s actions.”
Lord Cruddas and other supporters of Mr Johnson see the threat over legal fees as another attempt to attack the former Prime Minister.
The issue arose as Cabinet Office Minister Jeremy Quin told MPs that the Government “fully supports the vital work” of the COVID inquiry.
But despite criticism from his own benches as well as the Opposition, Mr Quin defended the intention to have a judicial review over whether all material must be handed over in its unredacted form.
The judicial review is expected to be held on June 30.