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.
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.
“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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