THE LONG GOODBYE: Political editor WALTER CRONXITE on a display of craven self-interest that managed to surpass all previous efforts by the Tory MP for Croydon South
At long last, at 8.06 this morning, it happened.
Chris Philp joined the rats leaving Boris Johnson’s sinking ship.
More than 50 ministers and parliamentary aides had resigned before the Tory MP for Croydon South got around to breaking his six-day silence on social media.
In the past couple of days, Conservative MPs had been suddenly discovering their “principles” and something they called “integrity” – well, at least some of them did.
It had all started around 6pm on Tuesday, when Sajid Javid and then Rishi Sunak both announced that they were quitting their cabinet jobs. It took Philp another 38 hours to get round to it.
Indeed, Philp left his resignation as a government minister so late, he nearly managed to delay it until after Johnson himself got round to recognising his own position was entirely untenable.
Even then, Blo-Jo’s erstwhile Tech and Digital Economy Minister managed to demonstrate his own poor judgement yet again, by turning his resignation letter into a sad CV of all his perceived achievements while in government.
In something that read like a 10-year-old’s “what we did on our school holidays” essay, Philp spent more than 200 words detailing his work in the DCMS before any mention of public trust or integrity.
But then, what would Philp know of such attributes?
Philp has spent the past two years popping up on television and radio whenever required, or ordered, to defend the latest in a series of sleazy scandals that Johnson allowed to exist under his premiership. Philp’s ministerial mission on behalf of Johnson turned him into a very well-paid liar.
And yet today, in his resignation letter, Philp actually included the words “Given events over the past few weeks and months…”.
With the Tory government in a tail-spin of the latest crisis of its own making – after Philp’s fellow ministers had gone out and told to the nation that the Prime Minister didn’t know that deputy chief whip Chris Pincher was a sex pest, when Johnson had known for some time – Philp had been AWOL from social media for six days.
He broke his silence with a picture of his resignation letter and this message on Twitter: “I’m deeply saddened it has come to this, but the PM should step down given public and Parliamentary confidence has clearly gone, and given the importance of integrity in public life.
“I’m therefore stepping down as Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy now.”
Why the inordinate delay? There’s a possibility that Philp might have been consulting with the members of the Croydon South Conservative Association, although Inside Croydon has seen no evidence that that was the case.
And while it all took him far too long, Philp’s demonstration of self-preservation over the best interests of the nation was by no means the worst example of mutton-headedness among his erstwhile government colleagues.
Suella Braverman, the attorney general – and who was on the same Croydon South candidate shortlist with Philp eight years ago or so – seriously believed that she could tell Johnson to resign while clinging on to her own ministerial red box. And this is the calibre of individual we have running the country…
And if Philp’s silence seemed to last forever, consider the poor constituents of Sutton and Cheam, whose Tory MP, Paul Scully, had said nothing during the unfolding crisis in Downing Street. Such loyalty! Such devotion! Such poor judgement…
With the game up a long time ago, Scully issued a self-justifying message just after 9am today, muttering something about trying to do the right thing for the country and continuing the functions of government. Basically, he confirmed that he had not resigned.
Perhaps Scully and Braverman are in a terrible Tory pact of last man or woman standing?
Boris Johnson is expected to make an announcement on his own future later today.
Read more: Croydon South’s Tory MP called a ‘liar’ 16 times on national TV
Read more: MP Philp: ‘Brown-nosing is first, second and third nature’
Read more: ‘A pattern of unacceptable behaviour, spread over months’
Read more: ‘The Prime Minister admits he lied’ says Tory Lord Barwell
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