Political editor WALTER CRONXITE on the drip-drip feed of discontent from within the party-party-party Party
While Croydon’s Tory MP Chris Philp continues to make himself look a fool in a series of car-crash media appearances in which he tries (and fails) to defend the partying Prime Minister, there’s mounting disillusionment and disgust at Boris Johnson’s conduct among other (political) party colleagues at Westminster.
Conservative MP, “Sir” Gary Streeter, became the latest to pop his letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister into the 1922 Committee’s in-box yesterday, a move which may cause consternation at any Tory cheese and wine gatherings in Shirley this weekend: Sir Gaz is the father of Gareth Streeter, the Conservative councillor for Shirley North.
Sir Gaz’s declaration, made to his Devon constituents last night, will raise again the matter of when will Croydon’s elected representatives do likewise and start to represent the views of the people that they are supposed to represent, at both national and local levels.
Sir Gary Streeter’s letter to Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, has been characterised as part of a “Cream Tea Coup”, coming as it did alongside a similar no confidence letter from another Conservative MP from Devon.
According to ITV News, around 20 letters of no confidence have been submitted so far. A confidence vote in the Prime Minister will be triggered if 54 such letters, 15 per cent of the parliamentary Conservative party, are received.
The publication this week of a report from senior civil servant Sue Gray has confirmed that there were more than a dozen parties held at the Prime Minister’s official residence in Downing Street during various lockdown periods since 2020 – breaking the rules laid down by Boris Johnson and his government to reduce the spread of deadly coronavirus. Some of the parties were staged in Johnson’s own flat, and he was in attendance at many of them.
In November, Johnson lied to the House of Commons when trying to claim he knew nothing about events which he had, in fact, attended.
Sir Gaz’s statement on his constituency website states: “I previously made it clear in response to the many emails I have received about the parties in Downing Street that appeared to break lockdown rules…”, do you like that? “Appeared to break”! Ha! “… that the wise thing to do was to await the report from Sue Gray. This has now been received (albeit in truncated form) and I have made my decision.
“I cannot reconcile the pain and sacrifice of the vast majority of the British public during lockdown with the attitude and activities of those working in Downing Street.
“Accordingly, I have now submitted a letter seeking a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister.
“I have not come to this decision lightly. It is not my intention to say any more about this matter.”
The constituents of Croydon South can have no worries that their MP, junior minister Philp, will be doing the decent thing himself any time soon. His personal political ambition would never allow him to act in such a manner. Sir Gaz has no such ambitions any longer.
An MP since 1992, Streeter, aged 66, has never risen much above the dizzying heights of deputy chair of the ways and means committee, or some such. He may even stand down at the next General Election, whenever that may be.
But this is where yesterday’s decision over Bo-Jo gets a tad awkward for son Gareth.
Gareth “Blubber” Streeter is to be a one-term Croydon councillor. He had become a serial election loser, often tearfully, having lost in his bid to get on to Croydon Council in 2014 and to become MP for Rother Valley in 2015.
But after finally managing to win an election in 2018, in Croydon’s safe Tory ward of Shirley North, the former PR for the Oasis education foundation is standing down from the Town Hall this May, apparently because he is moving away from the area.
In recent times, he has made a point of conspicuous political virtue-signalling, campaigning hither and thither, out on the stump around several Conservative seats and targets, notably in and around his dad’s South West Devon constituency. His Twitter profile describes himself as “Devon boy”, which is nice.
This has all led some to surmise that Streeter thinks that he might have a chance to “inherit” Sir Gaz’s Tory sinecure.
But how the Conservative members of South West Devon at a selection meeting might now respond to the son of one of the Tory MPs who ultimately brought down Boris Johnson is anyone’s guess…
Perhaps they’ll hold a party?
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