Tory MP claims Boris Johnson is ‘under the spell’ of his advisers

A senior Tory MP today claimed Boris Johnson is ‘under the spell’ of his advisers as he compared the Prime Minister to King Theoden from The Lord of the Rings. 

Jack Maidment

Former Brexit minister Steve Baker said Mr Johnson needs to be ‘woken up’ from his ‘slumber’ as he suggested the PM’s aides like Dominic Cummings are in control of the Government’s coronavirus response. 

The comments came amid a growing Tory rebellion over ministers imposing Covid-19 rules without first putting them to a vote in the House of Commons.  

Senior Tory MP Steve Baker today compared Boris Johnson to a character from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings who is put under a spell and controlled by his advisers

Mr Baker likened Mr Johnson to King Theoden and said ‘at the moment somebody needs to wake’ the Prime Minister ‘from his slumber’

Conservative backbenchers have accused the Government of ‘ruling by decree’ during the crisis. 

This week they will try to secure votes in Parliament on any future measures before they are rolled out. 

Mr Baker is one of the leaders of the Tory revolt and he warned yesterday that ‘liberty dies’ when governments are allowed to ‘exercise draconian powers without parliamentary scrutiny in advance’.

Today he went further as he compared the PM to King Theoden – a character from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings who is put under a spell and controlled by his advisers. 

Mr Baker told Times Radio: ‘People have got a great deal of faith in Boris Johnson. 

‘But, I’ll push the boat out, many of us will have seen Lord of the Rings and there is a scene in Lord of the Rings where Theoden, the king, is under the spell of his advisers. 

‘And he has to be woken up from that spell and when he wakes from that spell joy comes to pass in the kingdom.

‘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.’ 

Downing Street dismissed Mr Baker’s claims. 

Asked if Mr Johnson is ‘under the spell’ of his advisers, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman said: ‘As he has said in the past, he is responsible for all the decisions that he takes as Prime Minister.’ 

Mr Johnson is under mounting pressure to give Parliament greater power to debate and vote on coronavirus restrictions with more than 50 Tory MPs signalling they could revolt on the matter. 

Conservative rebels seized upon an assessment by academics at University College London (UCL) which concluded that ‘Parliament has been consistently sidelined during the pandemic’.

MPs will vote on Wednesday on whether to renew the Coronavirus Act, and dozens of Conservatives have signed up to an amendment tabled by Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the influential Tory backbench 1922 Committee, calling for ministers to consult Parliament before introducing new curbs on people’s freedoms.

The size of the rebellion could see the Government facing defeat if the amendment is selected for a vote and opposition parties join forces with Sir Graham.