A LOCAL POLITICAL DEBATE around “Partygate” has been prompted by Beverley ad Holderness Labour Party who have written to Graham Stuart MP asking “for him to listen to the views of the voters and call for the resignation of both Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak.”
The letter to the Conservative MP comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak were both fined by police after breaking lockdown rules during the pandemic – incidents referred to as “Partygate” by the media. Both the PM and the Chancellor were fined for attending a birthday party at No. 10 Downing Street in breech of the lockdown rules.
The letter from the Beverley and Holderness Constituency Labour Party published yesterday asks Graham Stuart if he does “intend to do the right thing and call for their resignations?”
Graham Stuart has responded online that despite understanding and sharing the anger felt by people across the country “I do not think this is the time to destabilise UK government leadership. We face many threats including the war in Ukraine and rising costs at home. It is infuriating that rules were broken but our top team has apologised fully and must be allowed to get on with the job.”
We have published the online correspondence below:
Dear Mr Stuart,
Like everyone, you will have seen the recent news that both Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak both received Fixed Penalty Notices for breaking the Covid-19 lockdown rules.
These fines have since been paid, but this quite simply does not absolve them of blame.
As a junior minister at the time, you were part of a government that sets the rules that all residents had to live by.
These rules meant we were separated from loved ones, the disabled and other vulnerable people were prevented from going outside or having simple human contact. Many were not able to be with their friends and family during their final hours.
It was a terrible time for so many, but the people of this country obeyed the rules because it was the right thing to do. We all wanted to combat Covid-19, minimise its impact and work towards it becoming a distant memory.
As elected representatives, Members of Parliament are there to represent the people in their constituencies. They should take that responsibility seriously. Ministers should be held to the same (or higher) standard.
All should also comply with the Nolan Principles of Public Life. In case you need a reminder, those principles are (per the government website):
Selflessness – Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.
Complying with the rules that were set by your government is surely in the public interest. Your constituents know this. By attending parties whilst we were in lockdown, both Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak were being entirely selfish – not caring about the public or even anyone else that they work with
Openness – Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
Information about attendance was deliberately withheld from the public and was only revealed once we all saw evidence in the media. On numerous occasions (both in and out of the House of Commons), Boris Johnson stated that no rules were broken. This is despite him setting the rules and being part of rule breaking events. This was dishonest and against the law.
Honesty – Holders of public office should be truthful.
Whilst both Johnson and Sunak have admitted what happened, this wasn’t the case initially and this is unacceptable. As they were not truthful, then this principle states they should not be holding public office.
Mr Stuart, you have been a noticeably vocal supporter of both Boris Johnson and the government. You have been on Sky News saying that criticism of Boris Johnson is due to the bitterness of ‘Remoaners’. You have been quoted in the media saying that criticism of Boris Johnson will lead to victory for Vladimir Putin. Your support is obvious.
However, this behaviour by both Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson should be condemned by all. The public could see each other and were prevented from seeing loved ones die whilst public office holders were attending parties with no regard for anyone else.
You have said the PM has got all the big calls right. We can agree to disagree about that. However, even if the PM had an exemplary record on other matters, the many breaches of the Ministerial Code still require the PM to tender his resignation.
Do you intend to do the right thing and call for their resignations?
The Beverley and Holderness Constituency Labour Party
13th April 2022
Downing Street gatherings update
Many thanks for your email following the announcement by the Metropolitan Police. I understand and share the anger felt by people across the country after many of us made extraordinary personal sacrifices throughout the pandemic to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities.
I do not think this is the time to destabilise UK government leadership. We face many threats including the war in Ukraine and rising costs at home. It is infuriating that rules were broken but our top team has apologised fully and must be allowed to get on with the job.
The Prime Minister released a statement yesterday, you can read it here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-statement-12-april-2022
Thank you again for contacting me about this important issue.
Graham Stuart MP
13 April 2022