Earlier this month Nicholas Arnold, Margaret Atkinson, Mark Banks, Ben Burcombe-Filer, James Charity, Adrian Cooper, Lisa Crosher, James Foulds, Jeanette Fox, Danny Francis, Jerry Hall, Susan Hall, Patti Hayes, Joy Haythorne, Mike Hughes, Shelagh Lee, Daniel Newcombe, Simon Payne, Gary Phillips, Joan Raistrick, Paul Redding, Albie Slawson, Roger Vivian, Alan Weatherall, and Chris Yates stood as Conservative candidates in the Eastleigh local elections.
As far as I know, only one of them has called for the Prime Minister to go for the Downing Street pandemic parties, and clearly none of them were concerned enough about Johnson’s behaviour to stand as independent candidates.
Eastleigh’s MP, Paul Holmes, a vocal supporter of the Prime Minister, even hosted a campaign visit to Southampton Airport, where Johnson lied about the tax free area only being possible due to leaving the EU.
If none of them had the integrity to challenge their leader’s behaviour when it so clearly breaches the standards expected in public life, how could anyone trust them on local issues? The election results suggest voters didn’t trust them.
Paul in particular has seemed more interested in putting his career, and party leader first, despite the damage being done to his party and the country.
“I understand your concerns about recent distractions from the good work the Government has been trying to do. I am disappointed that certain mistakes have damaged people’s confidence in our ability to deliver on the really important issues which affect all our daily lives.”
He could have done something about the distractions long ago, but chose not to.
“As you will know, the Prime Minister, his wife, and the Chancellor have been fined by the police for breaching lockdown rules by attending a gathering to celebrate his birthday. Like you, I was deeply concerned to read this news, and I will follow further developments closely.”
Rules which the Prime Minister was responsible for. Rules which Johnson repeated urged everyone to follow.
“You may be aware that the House of Commons recently agreed to refer the Prime Minister to the Committee of Privileges to investigate whether he had knowingly misled Parliament. This motion passed without a vote, which means an investigation will now be carried out.”
“As I have said previously, I believe it is vital that people around the country continue to have faith that those in power in our democratic system are held to account, and that they meet the high standards expected of those who hold public office. I would therefore have voted for this investigation if it had come to a vote.”
Wait until Paul finds out that the Prime Minister is changing the rules to thwart parliamentary standards again, just like he did with Owen Paterson!
“However, I remain of the view that all the processes that are underway must be allowed to run their course. The Sue Gray report has not been published and the Metropolitan Police investigation has not concluded.”
Well the Sue Gray report has now been published, and the Metropolitan Police investigation has concluded, so the wait for Paul’s response is finally over!
On the plus side, I am pleasantly surprised that Paul hasn’t followed the example of some Conservative MPs and told us all to move on. He has also resigned from his government position, which should allow him to start holding the government, and the Prime Minister to account…
…except he hasn’t yet. Oddly there isn’t actually any criticism of the Prime Minister in Paul’s statement, and no indication that he thinks Johnson should resign.
“It is distressing to me that this work on your behalf has been tarnished by the toxic culture that seemed to have permeated Number 10.”
It’s as if Number 10 was just ambushed by the toxic culture.