A senior minister today refused to say that Boris Johnson will quit if he is found to have broken conduct rules over his lavish flat makeover - despite the Scottish Tory leader insisting he would have to go.
James Cleverly dodged questions, suggesting that the ministerial code was merely there for the 'guidance of the PM' when he appoints his team.
The comments came despite Douglas Ross, the most senior Tory north of the border, saying bluntly that 'of course' Mr Johnson should resign if he did not abide by the standards.
Several probes are under way into the tangled financing of the costly refurbishment – including an investigation by Mr Johnson's new adviser on ministerial interests, Lord Geidt.
Meanwhile, the PM is also facing allegations that Tory donors were approached to pay for his personal trainer and a nanny for his son Wilf.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
However, as head of the Government the premier is still the final arbiter on any breaches of the ministerial code.
James Cleverly (left) dodged questions, suggesting that the ministerial code was merely there for the 'guidance' of Boris Johnson (right) when he appoints his team
The PM (pictured with Carrie Symonds last year) has been struggling to quell the 'wallpapergate' row over his grace-and-favour residence
In a round of broadcast interviews this morning, Mr Cleverly was repeatedly pressed on whether Mr Johnson should resign if he broke the ministerial code.
'The ministerial code is there for the guidance of the PM in appointing ministers,' he told Sky News.
'I don't know any more detail than the things the PM has already said.'
Pushed on whether a PM who breaks the code should go 'on principle', he said: 'It is pointless speculating about what actions might be taken... it is not as simple as you have set out.'Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Speaking to Times Radio Mr Cleverly said: 'The investigations and reports that will come out into the public domain about this need to come out.
'I'm not going to speculate about what the content of those reports will be or how the Prime Minister responds to any of those reports.
'Speculating about the outcome or what comes next is not right.
'We'll let the reports do their thing and the Prime Minister will make the decisions based