Four other Conservative MPs demanded that Boris Johnson resign on Thursday because of the parties breaking the deadlock after Downing Street tried to contain the political consequences of Sue Gray’s report.
Allies of the prime minister reiterated his defense that his participation in a series of rallies for outgoing staff was allowed as a work assignment. His official spokesman argued that instructions to Covid did not specifically preclude leaving drinks.
He also formally apologized for the media fraud by repeatedly denying that any celebration had taken place inside Downing Street during the blockade. He insisted that this was completely unintentional.
Nineteen Conservative lawmakers have publicly called for Johnson to step down so far, far less than the 54 required to spark a no-confidence vote, but the outflow of new voices will irritate Downing Street as rear-end supporters back the description. of Grays of noisy and drunken gatherings within number 10.
Along with those who have made public appeals, two others have submitted and subsequently withdrawn letters of no confidence, and at least three others have asked Johnson to resign but said they would not submit letters.
Former Health Minister Stephen Hammond was among those who said he had submitted a letter of no confidence. Hammond, who has a 628 majority in his Wimbledon seat, described the Gray report’s findings as a curse. I can not and will not protect the vulnerable, he said.
I am surprised by a number of my colleagues, who were really concerned that it is almost impossible for the Prime Minister to say that I want to move forward, as we can not continue without regaining public confidence and I am not sure that this is the case. possible in the current situation.
Two other lawmakers, David Simmonds and John Baron, said they had lost confidence in Johnson. A fourth, Angela Richardson, who stepped down as private parliamentary secretary earlier this year, said she would have resigned if she had been in Johnsons’ position.
The Baron, a former shadow minister, said he did not believe Johnson was unaware of the shameful pattern of misbehavior during the pandemic, as the rest of us adhered to Covid regulations.
Simmonds, MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner, who clings to prime ministers Uxbridge and South Ruislip in west London, said it had become clear that while our government and policies enjoy the public’s trust, the prime minister does not.
Speaking of Grays’ findings, Richardson said: “I’m clear that if it were a report on my leadership, I would resign.
Julian Sturdy, MP for York Outer, had called on Johnson to go on Wednesday. The report had left him unable to give the prime minister the benefit of the doubt, he said.
Deputies said Thursday that they expected the number of letters to increase to continue in the coming days, but stressed that it was not a coordinated effort.
Others have hinted at deep resentment in emails addressed to the first Guardian voters. Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, wrote that he was in no way sympathetic to fancy words or formulas that allow anyone to claim he was at a business event when clearly they were not. Rob Largan, MP for High Peak, said he was taking appropriate measures to protect integrity in public life.
Philip Dunne, Ludlow’s deputy, wrote to a voter that he had great doubts about the prime minister. “I’m sorry to say that any benefit from the suspicion enjoyed by the prime minister has now been eroded,” he wrote. While I have not demanded his resignation, the Prime Minister has not yet proven to me that he is the right person to ensure the restoration of the integrity and proper decorum that all our constituents expect from politicians.
When Johnsons’s spokesman, a civil servant who by convention does not mention his name when quoted, apologized for the media fraud, he declined to say whether he had attended any of the events set out in Grays’s report or whether he had received a notice. fixed for penalty.
The Prime Minister has said and Ive said on a number of occasions that there have been failures both in terms of what happened and in terms of how it was subsequently handled, he said. The Prime Minister has apologized for this and I am happy to apologize for this as well.
He said Johnson was eligible to attend a series of drinks, including one where he photographed, glass in hand, raising a toast, as instructions were silent if such events were allowed.
Steve Barclay, the minister brought in as Downing Street chief of staff as part of Partygate’s change to number 10, argued that the prime minister saw events such as permissible because staff worked closely together for long hours.
The publication of Grays’s report has re-ignited the Metropolitan Police parallel investigation into rallies in and around No. 10, and in particular the question of why Johnson was fined just for another event his birthday party in June 2020, when he had attended other rallies for which staff were penalized.
Mets’s acting commissioner vehemently rejected the notion that Johnson had received favorable treatment, saying the force had investigated the parties without fear or favor.
Testifying for London Assembly police and the crime committee on Thursday, Stephen House said fixed penalty notices were only issued if police had evidence we thought would give us a realistic perspective of a convention in court if the fine was challenged.
Without commenting on any individual, I do not believe there is clear evidence that the prime minister has violated many other times, he said.
I am very convinced of the integrity of the decisions taken in this investigation. I am not particularly worried about what the Prime Minister thinks. I do my job without fear or favor, as Met did.
House said he acknowledged that some photos of No. 10 meetings look bad, but added: We are dealing with the law, not what looks bad. And just because alcohol is present, can I remind people that Covid regulations are about breaking Covid rules. They have nothing to do with whether there are drinks there or not.
He also dismissed the idea that Johnson or other No. 10 senior staff could have avoided sanctions by not completing police questionnaires about their activities. He said that someone doing this would be an incentive for more work, not less, and that the vast, overwhelming majority of the questionnaires were returned.
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