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A Cabinet Minister has sought to downplay public booing for scandal-hit Boris Johnson by claiming “politicians don’t expect to be popular all the time”.

The partying Prime Minister was greeted by a chorus of boos as he arrived for a Jubilee thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday, in scenes that will alarm Downing Street.

He was also booed by some members of the public at a concert in the Queen’s honour at Buckingham Palace on Saturday.

The scenes come ahead of a crunch week for Mr Johnson, with speculation mounting that he could face a no confidence vote within days.

Backbench Tory chief Sir Graham Brady must receive more than 54 letters from MPs – or 15% of the parliamentary party – to trigger a vote.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps insisted journalists were “over interpreting” the frosty reception the PM received when confronted with clips of crowds booing Mr Johnson.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (centre) with Boris Johnson (r) and London Mayor Sadiq Khan ( PA)

He told the BBC’s Sunday Morning: “There were also people cheering him. You are not asking me why they did that.

“Look politicians don’t expect to be popular all the time. Getting on with running the country is a job in which you have to take difficult decisions a lot of the time.

“I wasn’t there but I heard people booing, I heard people cheering. I think it’s best to get on with the job at hand – running the country – rather than being overly distracted by the clips you just played.”

The top Tory tried to downplay the booing by comparing it to former Chancellor George Osborne getting jeered at the Paralympics medal ceremony in 2012.

Mr Shapps added: “It didn’t mean that election wasn’t won in 2015. I think you’re rather over interpreting if you don’t mind me saying.”

He also dismissed growing speculation that Mr Johnson will face a no confidence vote as soon as this week as Partygate anger mounts among Tories.

Asked if the PM would win such a vote, he said: “Yes he will.”

Around 30 Conservative MPs have publicly called for Mr Johnson to quit, with a steady drip of letters going into the 1922 Committee in the wake of Sue Gray’s Partygate report.

A Jubilee reprieve appeared to have been agreed by Tory rebels but reports suggest that the 54-letter threshold has been met.

Officers on the 1922 executive have pencilled in Wednesday for a vote, according to the Sunday Times.

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