BORIS Johnson will "never escape the damage to his reputation” caused by the partygate scandal, the First Minister of Wales has said.

Mark Drakeford feels that the Prime Minister has damaged his reputation beyond repair over the continued scandal of parties held at the heart of government during heightened restrictions to stop the spread of Covid-19.

He says that it is "very hard" to see Johnson continuing in his current role as the Conservative party is engaged in infighting over his leadership with one MP defecting to Labour earlier this week and a senior MP describing "blackmail" efforts by Tory whips.

Johnson has called on potential Tory rebels to wait for the outcome of civil servant Sue Gray’s inquiry into the parties, expected next week, before passing judgment.

Speaking to Sky News, the Welsh First Minister said: “Conservative MPs have been fighting each other like ferrets in a sack this week, and it’s very hard to see how the Prime Minister survives.

“Even if he were to survive, he will just limp on because he’s never going to escape the damage that this week has done to his reputation.”

Drakeford said that as Johnson battles to save his career, his government is paralysed by indecision.

“From my point of view, the thing that worries me the most is the fact that the UK Government is frozen by the impact of what has happened to them,” the Welsh FM said.

“They’re just not able to make the sorts of decisions you’d expect the Government to make, because everything is seen through this lens, the attempt to try and shore up the Prime Minister to protect him from the attacks that his own side are making on him.

“That means it’s a Government that’s turned in on itself and isn’t capable of doing the job that it was elected to do.”

Drakeford said the UK Government has hastened the end of Covid restrictions in England to escape negative headlines around the Downing Street parties.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon 'shocked' by No 10 'blackmail' claims and calls for probe

“I’d have to say, anybody watching what has gone on in Westminster will know that those announcements are not driven by the science,” Drakeford said.

“They’re not part of a carefully thought-out plan, they’re just an effort by UK ministers to find a different headline from the one that has dominated the news.

“Here in Wales, we are in a better position than that – our Government is able to go on making sensible, cautious planning decisions rooted in the science and in keeping people in Wales safe.

“I think the contrast between our two positions has been pretty stark this week.”

Like Scotland, Wales is implementing a phased lifting of restrictions with a move to alert level zero on Friday, January 28.

Alert level zero means crowds will be able to return to outdoor sporting events and limits will be removed from taking part in outdoor activities.

The rule of six and social distancing will also be removed from outdoor hospitality, and nightclubs will re-open.

READ MORE: Face masks no longer mandatory in England, says Boris Johnson

As in Scotland, the vaccine certification scheme in Wales will remain for large events along with self-isolation rules and the rules on wearing face coverings in public indoor spaces.

England is set to scrap all of the Plan B measures that the UK Government introduced in response to the Omicron wave including the wearing of face coverings in most places and the use of Covid certification.

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has said that the Prime Minister is "doing an excellent job" as she said that Johnson has her "100% support".

Truss has been pipped as a potential Tory leadership candidate but also said that there is "no leadership election" while on a trip in Sydney Australia.