Croydon’s only Conservative MP is rapidly developing a reputation for cravenly saying anything that might get him a promotion. By our political editor, WALTER CRONXITE
Croydon South’s Tory MP Chris Philp is looking increasingly marginalised, and more ridiculous than ever, after being wheeled out on national television to defend the indefensible over the Prime Minister’s partying through the pandemic at No10 Downing Street.
Philp was used as boozed-up Boris Johnson’s human shield on BBC Newsnight last night, as it emerged that two more parties had been staged at Downing Street, again in breach of the government’s own covid precautions, in this case on the eve of the funeral of Prince Philip.
It’s not as if Philp has not been accused before of over-enthusiastic brown-nosing in the cause of his own craven career advancement – and by no less an organ than the Murdoch-owned Times – though on this occasion, the Culture department junior minister’s judgement appears to be deeply flawed, as other members of his party seek to distance themselves from the apparently doomed Johnson.
“It’s a case of all the shits leaving the sinking rat,” was how one Westminster insider put it today.
The number of Tory MPs calling for the Prime Minister’s resignation has been growing by the day, while several local Conservative associations around the country have passed motions of no confidence in their blundering party leader.
Yet while Philp appeared on television to try to rubbish grassroots party activists – perhaps on the urgings of his boss at DCMS, Nadine Dorries – his erstwhile Croydon Conservatives parliamentary colleague, Gavin Barwell, meanwhile did a turn for the alternative point of view on Channel 4 News.
The former Croydon Central MP restricted himself to a one-word tweet when the news broke of the latest two parties: “Shameful”.
And now, even one of Johnson’s most senior colleagues from the time he was Mayor of London has spoken out publicly to condemn the Prime Minister’s conduct.
Andrew Boff is the Chairman of the London Assembly.
Last night, Boff called for Boris Johnson’s resignation.
Boff told BBC Radio London that the Downing Street lockdown partying issue threatened to damage the Conservatives’ prospects of winning borough seats in May’s local elections. And that would include in Croydon, where the party held strong hopes of winning back control of the Town Hall for the first time since 2014.
In his radio interview, Boff said things in Johnson’s government looked “chaotic” and that he thought the way the Prime Minister was running things looked “a mess”.
“People don’t vote for chaos and at the moment it looks like it is chaotic,” Boff said.
Asked if the PM should go, Boff said: “Yes, I think that’s a strong option.”
Boff’s uncompromising and unapologetic hardline will make for some awkward conversations in the Conservative group’s office at the Assembly: his party colleague, Shaun Bailey, has been forced to resign the chair of two of the London body’s committees after he was found to have himself attended a party during lockdown organised by aides working on his 2021 mayoral campaign.
Boff said that the Prime Minister “should be reflecting on what the impact the recent events have on the Conservative Party in general, and it’s not going to be positive”.
- If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Inside Croydon is a member of the Independent Community News Network
- Inside Croydon works together with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, as well as BBC London News and ITV London
- Inside Croydon: 3.3million page views in 2021. Seen by 1.6million unique visitors in that 12-month period