Boris Johnson is reportedly trying to move the attention away from him – and Partygate – by introducing new, dramatic proposals like cutting the license fee for the BBC.
The prime minister is still in hot water after admitting that he attended a party in No.10 while the rest of the country was in lockdown.
Further allegations of parties happening behind Downing Street’s doors have led even more people to call for his resignation.
In a bid to save himself, according to the weekend reports, Johnson is now focusing on “Operation Red Meat” where the government will rush through controversial proposals to distract the backbench Tories who could hand in letters of no confidence about the prime minister.
These proposals include freezing the BBC license fee – which costs 43p per day – and using the Royal Navy to deter asylum seekers arriving at the British coast in dinghies.
Representing the government on Monday, education secretary Nadhim Zahawi also repeatedly tried to draw attention to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s alleged breach of the Covid rules in May 2021.
None of this went down particularly well on Twitter.
There was fury about the government’s overall approach...
Watching the government try to save itself the only way it knows how: by lashing out with illiberal, divisive nationalist crap.
— Ian Dunt (@IanDunt) January 17, 2022
What I’m not seeing - which is extraordinary given the polling - is any humility whatsoever. https://t.co/PDlU7bJNqt
— Tim Walker (@ThatTimWalker) January 17, 2022
One of the many absurd things about this No 10 operation is the way they're so proud of their cunning plans that they tell everyone what they are in advance. Operation Red Meat ffs.
— Sam Freedman (@Samfr) January 17, 2022
People also arrived in droves to support the BBC...
First you come for @channel4 because you don’t like its reporting of events. Now you come for the BBC because you don’t like its reporting of events. Have you ever considered whether it’s the events themselves that are the problem? https://t.co/T3P91H1Lzt
— Armando Iannucci (@Aiannucci) January 16, 2022
The BBC is revered, respected and envied around the world. It should be the most treasured of National treasures. Something true patriots of our country should be proud of. It should never be a voice for those in government whoever is in power. https://t.co/4aR5cmDLI1
— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) January 16, 2022
I can only assume that all those Conservatives saying that if people want BBC services they can pay to subscribe to them apply the same philosophy to the Royal Family
— Etan Smallman (@EtanSmallman) January 17, 2022
I see the desperate government is flailing wildly between asylum seekers and the BBC in its attempts to cynically distract from its own scandals
Grim to the bitter end
— Liam Thorp (@LiamThorpECHO) January 17, 2022
The BBC license fee costs everyone exactly the same, however rich or poor they are. It’s entirely non-progressive, just like the poll tax. So why do right wing people hate it so much? It should be right up their street.
— Tom Peck (@tompeck) January 17, 2022
Slashing the funding of a beloved national treasure just because you don't like the headlines on the 6 o'clock news is no way for a responsible government in a democracy to behave.
— Ed Davey MP 🔶 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 (@EdwardJDavey) January 16, 2022
A reminder that it was the Tories who stopped offering free TV licences for over-75s as part of their austerity cuts. https://t.co/8VSclzIEog
— David Schneider (@davidschneider) January 16, 2022
the irony of Nadine Dorries defunding the one British thing which is actually world beating is an irony which Nadine Dorries definitely won’t understand
— dave ❄️ 🥕 🧻 (@davemacladd) January 16, 2022
If, as the Government is implying re the BBC, we should only pay for something we like and agree with, I wonder if I can ask for all the money back I’ve had to spend in taxes on Brexit.
— David Baddiel (@Baddiel) January 17, 2022
The proposals about using the Royal Navy to sort of the asylum seekers on the English border prompted further outrage...
Something especially disturbing about "calling in the military"/renewing efforts to offshore asylum seekers for processing when it's such a transparent attempt to cling onto power.
— Daniel Pryor 😄 (@DanielPryorr) January 17, 2022
I think sending military personnel into the Channel to turn around asylum seekers is:
A) An overreaction
Can someone give me a good reason why it isn't an overreaction and why it is necessary?
— Christopher Sharp 💙 (@ChristopherPBS) January 17, 2022
...while others hit out at the attempts to put Starmer in the spotlight.
This is really desperate stuff and isn't convincing anyone. Even the people going along with it are pretending. https://t.co/rOtM8dx96M
— Owen Jones 🌹 (@OwenJones84) January 16, 2022
Looking at tomorrow's Daily Mail and see they are desperately still trying to make the Keir-Starmer-has-one-beer-with-dinner story a thing. pic.twitter.com/1FYrfpq0Ob
— Rebecca Jules (@RebeccaJJules) January 16, 2022
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.