WHILE Boris Johnson visited Taunton yesterday, County Gazette readers took to Twitter to express their views on the prime minister’s future.

During his visit to the Rutherford Diagnostic Centre in Blackbrook Business Park, he told the County Gazette he ‘absolutely loves’ his job, despite coming under pressure in recent weeks after reports emerged of gatherings held in Downing Street and Whitehall while England was under lockdown restrictions in 2020.

Asked if he is enjoying his role amid the controversy of ‘partygate’, the prime minister said: "It's the biggest privilege in the world.

"I absolutely love the job."

He added: “We're specifically, ruthlessly, concentrating on things people want us to do.

"We got elected two years ago or so to deliver change and level up across the country."

A total of 252 people voted in a County Gazette Twitter poll, which asked: “Do you think Boris Johnson should resign?”.

80.2 per cent of respondents believe Mr Johnson should leave Downing Street, while 19.8 per cent said he should remain in Number 10.

The prime minister has faced calls for his resignation since admitting that he attended a “bring your own booze” gathering held in the garden of Number 10 on May 20, 2020.

He apologised to MPs in the House of Commons at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on Wednesday, January 12 and said he “believed implicitly that this was a work event”.

Senior civil servant Sue Gray is currently investigating a number of alleged events that took place in Downing Street and Whitehall while coronavirus restrictions were in place.

David Davis MP, who represents Haltemprice and Howden, is one of several Conservative MPs to have called for Mr Johnson’s resignation.

At Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on Wednesday, Mr Davis told Mr Johnson: “You have sat there too long for all the good you have done.

"In the name of God, go.”

Other members of the Conservative Party have defended the prime minister, including culture secretary Nadine Dorries, armed forces minister James Heappey, and Andrew RT Davies, who leads the Welsh Conservative group.

Somerset County Gazette: VISIT: Boris Johnson was in Taunton yesterday (Image: Andrew Matthews, PA Wire)VISIT: Boris Johnson was in Taunton yesterday (Image: Andrew Matthews, PA Wire)

On Wednesday morning, Mr Heappey, who represents Wells, said: “The prime minister has my trust, he has my confidence, he stood at the despatch box the other day and he gave an account of himself that I can understand and that I accept.

“If Sue Gray comes out and says something different, then we’re in a different place and I’m happy to come back and reflect on my feelings then.”

Recap: Boris Johnson in Taunton

In his interview with the County Gazette, the prime minister praised Taunton Deane MP Rebecca Pow, describing her as "an absolutely fantastic MP and a formidable campaigner for Taunton and Somerset, as well as a great minister".

He also discussed healthcare, telling our reporter the pandemic has “left a huge number of people who didn't get the treatment needed”.

“We’re focussed on healthcare,” he added.

Speaking to broadcasters, the prime minister also addressed claims made by William Wragg that Tory MPs were being threatened with having funding withdrawn from their constituencies if they called for Mr Johnson’s resignation.

Somerset County Gazette: HEALTHCARE: The prime minister visited the Rutherford Diagnostic Centre (Image: Andrew Matthews, PA Wire)HEALTHCARE: The prime minister visited the Rutherford Diagnostic Centre (Image: Andrew Matthews, PA Wire)

William Wragg, a Conservative MP and chairman of the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, claimed he was aware of reports that “would seem to constitute blackmail”.

While in Somerset, Mr Johnson said he had seen and heard “no evidence” to support Mr Wragg’s claims but said he would look into them.

The prime minister also reiterated the UK’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty.

He said: “If Russia were to make any kind of incursion into Ukraine on any scale whatever I think that would be a disaster for not just for Russia, it would be a disaster for the world.

“The UK stands squarely behind the sovereignty and integrity of Ukraine.”

Read more: PM Boris Johnson visits Rutherford Diagnostic Centre in Taunton

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