Boris Johnson is planning to sack several staff members in a desperate bid to save his embattled premiership, according to reports.
Mr Johnson faced further embarrassment over gatherings this week after an email from a senior adviser leaked.
Martin Reynolds, who serves as the Prime Minister’s Principal Private Secretary, wrote an email inviting 100 officials in Number 10 to “socially distanced drinks” on May 20, 2020.
According to the Sunday Times, Mr Reynolds and his deputy Stuart Glassborow are likely to be forced out of Downing Street.
No 10 chief of staff Dan Rosenfield could also be sacked but officials refused to comment on the reports.
Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden admitted there were “failings” in No 10, following a series of leaks about alleged lockdown parties, but he denied it was a resigning matter for Boris Johnson.
Mr Dowden said the Government plans to “address the kind of culture that has allowed” the reported flouting of coronavirus laws to happen, in a hint of a shake-up at the top of Mr Johnson’s administration.
Speaking to the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme, Mr Dowden said: “I can assure you the Prime Minister is both very contrite and deeply apologetic for what happened.
“But, more importantly, he is determined to make sure that this can’t be allowed to happen and that we address the underlying culture in Downing Street.
“There were failings: we should have done better, much, much better. We need to up our game, and that needs to be addressed, and I know the Prime Minister is committed to addressing that.”
It comes as Tim Loughton became the sixth Conservative MP to publicly call for the Prime Minister to quit on Saturday.
The East Worthing and Shoreham MP said Mr Johnson’s position had become “untenable”, adding his “resignation is the only way to bring this whole unfortunate episode to an end.”
Apologising for the “great hurt” caused to his constituents, he added: “Frankly the issue for me is not how many sausage rolls or glasses of prosecco the Prime Minister actually consumed.
“The reason for my conclusion in calling for him to stand down is the way that he has handled the mounting revelations in the last few weeks.
“Obfuscation, prevarication and evasion have been the order of the day when clarity, honesty and contrition was what was needed and what the British people deserve.”
Mr Loughton suggested that he plans to submit a letter of no confidence to Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs.
According to the Daily Telegraph, around 20 letters have been submitted so far – far short of the 54 needed to trigger a leadership vote.
Controversy over gatherings and parties at Downing Street reignited this week following a string of damning revelations.
Downing Street was forced to apologise to Buckingham Palace on Friday after it emerged two staff parties were reportedly held on the eve of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.
Witnesses said staff danced to loud music and drank alcohol on April 16, 2021, with one person sent to a local shop with a suitcase to buy wine.
Opinium, a polling company, said Mr Johnson’s approval rating had plummeted to minus 42 per cent – almost a 20 point fall in a week – and that almost two-thirds of people surveyed thought he should stand down,