‘A pattern of unacceptable behaviour, spread over months’

Time to go: Boris Johnson has resorted to changing the rules to save his skin

Junior government ministers Paul Scully and Chris Philp remain silent over the Prime Minister’s Partygate scandal, while  other Tory MPs call for Boris Johnson to resign

Two south London Conservative MPs have joined a growing number from their party to call for the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson for his part in the Partygate scandal.

Sir Bob Neill the veteran MP for Bromley and Chislehurst, is among the latest to submit a no-confidence letter with the Tory Party hierarchy, as he issued a statement last night which said that he does not find Johnson’s “assertions to be credible”, after the Prime Minister, already fined by the police for breaking covid law, was exposed as having been involved in several lockdown-breaking gatherings.

Sir Bob called the events in Downing Street “a pattern of wholly unacceptable behaviour, spread over a number of months”.

Sir Bob’s statement came just hours after Johnson changed the parliamentary code of conduct so that lying to parliament, as he has done multiple times, would no longer require his immediate resignation.

Silent: Croydon South MP Chris Philp

Croydon South’s Tory MP, junior minister Chris Philp, and Sutton’s Paul Scully (another to hold junior ministerial office) and Elliot Colburn have so far failed to exhibit any backbone, or find their tongues to speak out over the shocking revelations in the Sue Gray report of puke-stained parties inside No10 Downing Street, where cleaners and security staff were routinely abused by Johnson’s staff.

Johnson could face a further string of no-confidence letters after the Sue Gray report. In order for a vote of no confidence to be triggered, the chair of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, must receive letters from at least 54 Conservative MPs – 15per cent of the parliamentary party.

Among those to have already lodged their letters is Sir Gary Streeter, the MP for South West Devon and the father of Gareth Streeter, until earlier this month a Conservative councillor for a ward in Philp’s Croydon South constituency.

Sir Gazza wrote, “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.”

And Stephen Hammond, the MP for Wimbledon, has said, “I am struck by a number of my colleagues who were really concerned that it’s almost impossible for the PM to say I want to move on, as we cannot move on without regaining public trust and I am not sure that’s possible in the current situation.

Responsibility: Sir Bob Neill, MP for Bromley

“All I can do as a backbencher is speak out and submit a letter… I have said for several months I already have done all I can as a backbencher.”

Sir Bob Neill’s statement may resonate with many. The former leader of the Conservative group at the London Assembly is also a barrister by profession.

In his statement, the Bromley MP wrote, “Since the start of this episode, I have been very clear that I would wait for the conclusion of any police investigation and the publication of Sue Gray’s full report before making a judgement.

“My years as a lawyer have taught me not to come to conclusions without the fullest possible evidence.

“I have been equally clear that we cannot have one rule for those working in government and a different one for everyone else. Those of us who set the rules have a particular responsibility to stick to them ourselves.

“Sue Gray’s report has highlighted a pattern of wholly unacceptable behaviour, spread over a number of months, by some working in 10 Downing Street, including breaking rules that caused real pain and hardship for many, and which the Government, and we as parliamentarians, were telling others to live by.

“I have listened carefully to the explanations the Prime Minister has given, in Parliament and elsewhere, and, regrettably, do not find his assertions to be credible. That is why, with a heavy heart, I submitted a letter of no confidence to Sir Graham Brady on Wednesday afternoon.

“Trust is the most important commodity in politics, but these events have undermined trust in not just the office of the Prime Minister, but in the political process itself.

“To rebuild that trust and move on, a change in leadership is required.”

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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6 Responses to ‘A pattern of unacceptable behaviour, spread over months’

  1. Peter Underwood says:

    The shocking silence of local Conservative politicians brings further shame on them and their party

    I don’t know how anyone with any sense of decency can continue to support them

  2. Paul says:

    Chris Philip is a careerist sitting in a relatively safe seat.He therefore won’t speak out on the basis of what’s right and what’s wrong he’ll keep silent if it’s in his best interest to do so .Therefore whilst Boris Johnson is still Prime Minister he’s not going to do anything that might compromise his political ambition.

    • Chris Flynn says:

      As a carrerist, does he want to associate himself with Boris and go down with that ship? Seems like a short term strategy.

      • Paul says:

        No,once it becomes clear Boris Johnson is toast Chris Philp will withdraw his support.However as long as it remains likely that Johnson ain’t going anywhere Philp will remain silent about his political master’s unacceptable behaviour.

  3. If Boris resigned or was removed by the Tories as their leader, would that make things better? You only have to look at who might replace him – Priti Patel, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Suella Braverman to name a few – to bring to mind the expressions “better the devil you know” and “out of the frying pan, into the fire”.

    Anyone hoping that this ongoing farce might benefit Labour should realise they’re not much better or different. For example, Yvette Cooper, Shadow Home Secretary, recently said words to the effect that she backs the fossil fuel industry and wants climate change protestors to be denied the right to protest and instead be arrested.

    Under the Conservatives, Britain has taken a lurch to the far-right. When you see what Keir Starmer says and does in what passes for Opposition, and the cavalier attitude shown by Croydon Labour to transparency in power and democracy in selecting council election candidates, that slow but steady march to autocracy isn’t going to stop anytime soon.

    LabourTory: two cheeks on the same arse.

  4. Susan Pearson says:

    Are the Brexit Boris apologists who are saying better the devil you know for real or just plain stupid?

    In Croydon we all knew it was get Newman out and we don’t really care who replaces him – Newman was that Bad. Fortunately it’s turned out quite well in our borough. If we had a mayoral election in Croydon on Monday I doubt Perry would be elected, such is poison emanating from no.10.

    Johnson’s reckless foolishness knows no bounds nor does his instinct for self-survival. He chose to get rid of all of all the half decent people in his cabinet and has surrounded himself with a toy-town cabinet of third-raters. These people are so grateful simply for being granted high office that none would ever question the man who made them powerful for a period. But even one of them would be better than Johnson, short term.

    Johnson is is the most deceitful pm in the last 150 years. Philp needs to get off the fence or see his support fall away.

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