“We don’t need this report to know he broke the law and he lied through his teeth about it”

Wednesday May 25th 2022


This View has been written by Midlothian MP, Owen Thompson

As I write, the Sue Gray report is due to be published and no doubt it’ll be another squirmy few hours for a Prime Minister not fit for office. He has been hiding behind this report for months, ducking questions and hoping anger would dissipate before he has to answer for his actions.

We don’t need this report to know he broke the law and he lied through his teeth about it. The partying culture he presided over at number ten would be bizarre for a workplace at any time, but it’s beyond belief when it’s at the heart of government during a public health emergency. This is not a trivial issue. He has damaged faith in politics and trust in leadership, with consequences for democracy and for the reputation of the UK internationally.

If he abided by the rules, he would resign, but we know what this old Etonian thinks of rules. The Prime Minister’s position has been untenable for a long time, yet he is a man without shame and has thrown staff to the wolves while he clings on. Enough is enough. In this broken system it is up to his own side to force him to go, so I urge all Conservative MPs to finally recognise the importance of standards in public office and put this before their own political ambitions. The Prime Minister’s behaviour may be a joke to privileged Tories, but it has deadly serious consequences. It’s a plague on all our houses.

There are serious issues to deal with and we need a serious leader to deal with them. I would rather spend less time discussing Boris Johnson’s conduct and more time working on solutions to the cost of living crisis. So far the response to the ‘perfect storm’ their policies have created has been pitiful, with more and more people running out of money, at serious risk of debt and destitution. We urgently need measures like an uplift in universal credit, and a windfall tax to redistribute massive profits from energy companies into income support and benefits.

Instead we have been stuck with this drawn-out pantomime because of the Prime Minister’s refusal to resign. Westminster is not working – there should be a way for parliament to enforce the code of conduct when ‘honourable gentlemen’ are not so honourable, so we can get rid of people who break the rules efficiently, and move on.

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