POOLE MP Sir Robert Syms admitted Prime Minister Boris Johnson is “using up his nine lives” following the publication of Sue Gray’s report into lockdown-busting parties.

Sir Robert, a veteran Conservative politician, said Mr Johnson was “in some difficulty at the moment” but added: “There is nothing I can see that puts him at immediate risk.”

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Johnson said he took “full responsibility” after Ms Gray’s official report revealed shocking details of raucous parties in No 10 during the coronavirus lockdown.

The Prime Minister faced fresh demands to resign after the report said the public would be “dismayed” by the behaviour uncovered.

Sir Robert told the Daily Echo that: “You can’t turn history back. Things happened in Downing Street that shouldn’t have happened.

“The Prime Minister hasn’t handled it very well and it is because he hasn’t handled it very well that his job could well be on the line.

“If prior to Christmas he had held up his hands and said ‘well, actually I should have stamped on this and things went on that probably shouldn’t have gone on given the rules but I take full responsibility’, I think he would be fine.”

The Poole MP said most of what he read in the report did not constitute “parties”.

“I don’t think he mislead the House (of Commons) but I think his thoughts about what was happening and other people’s thoughts were somewhat different,” Sir Robert said.

“The fact is the Government shouldn’t get itself in a position where the rules are so complicated that nobody knows. I had colleagues say me ‘Robert, can I do this’ and I would say ‘no, you can’t’ and it is because the rules kept on changing.

“How on earth members of the public knew what they could and couldn’t do, or the police, and I think to some extent the lesson learned is the Government overdid some of the rules and they could have loosened some of them.

“If you make rules, you have to stick to them and that is why the Prime Minister is in some difficulty at the moment.

“There is nothing I can see that puts him at immediate risk but he is using up his nine lives.”

Fellow Dorset MP Tobias Ellwood, who has submitted a letter of no confidence in Mr Johnson, asked his Tory colleagues how long they would continue to defend the Prime Minister’s behaviour.

Asked if he would submit a no confidence letter, Sir Robert told the Daily Echo: “Not at this stage but would I vote for him if there was a vote of no confidence? I think he would have do a lot of convincing for me to.

“He is on probation I think with the Conservative Party.

“What people worry about is that if survives this and we go on some other disaster will happen. That may be the point at which some people say we are not going to put up with him any more but we will have to see.

“I think the sentiment of most Tory MPs is nothing very much new has come out but if this keeps rumbling on MPs will start to get very irritated that is becoming a distraction from policies and then it starts getting dangerous for the Prime Minister.”