MPs remain silent on whether they have confidence in PM

North East Hertfordshire MP Sir Oliver Heald and Anthony Browne MP for South Cambridgeshire. 

North East Hertfordshire MP Sir Oliver Heald and Anthony Browne MP for South Cambridgeshire. - Credit: Nikki Powell/Office of Anthony Browne

Do our Conservative MPs have confidence in the Prime Minister? Well if they do, they certainly aren't crowing about it. 

Back in December when the Christmas party scandal broke, in what we now know to be the tip of a boozy Downing Street iceberg, the Crow contacted our MPs for their reaction and asked whether they thought it was a failure of Boris Johnson's leadership and, if so, should he resign?

The mock press conference joking about covering up a Christmas party  was the start of a surge of revelations about partying at Number 10 throughout the pandemic, when national restrictions prohibited the general public from doing the same. 

Our MPs - Sir Oliver Heald for North East Hertfordshire, and Anthony Browne for South Cambridgeshire - didn't answer the question posed regarding the PM's resignation. 

This week, with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick confirming an investigation into Downing St and Whitehall parties over potential breaches of COVID regulations, the Crow asked the following to Sir Oliver and Mr Browne: 

"Is it right the police are investigating? Should they have done so sooner? 

Could the police investigating HM Government lead you to publicly denounce the conduct of Boris Johnson and Downing St staff? We have received many letters and comments from constituents who would welcome that action.

The PM has said the BYOB event he was at was 'technically in the rules'  - do you see it that way? What about his birthday event? 

The general public couldn't have a gathering to sing happy birthday with up to 30 people and a cake in June 2020, could they? And the PM even wrote to a child to say she definitely shouldn't have a party. No 10 have said a birthday gathering took place. Whether you call it a party or a gathering, or even a 'work event' - it wasn't within the rules at the time, right?

A number of your constituents have said on social media and in emails to us that Mr Johnson shouldn't remain as PM. And waiting on the outcome of the Sue Gray investigation - which as far as we know, won't pass judgement - is futile, as many of the facts have been confirmed or evidence has come to light. 

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So I am asking again, Do you have confidence in the PM to lead the conservatives into the next election and the country out of the pandemic? Should the PM step down? Or should he remain in post and the public should just accept that scandal, rule-breaking and investigations will continue on throughout his premiership?

On the other hand, you might have confidence and want to explicitly show your support for the PM?" 

Sir Oliver Heald did not respond.

His previous comment on the PM's response to the BYOB event said: "I was in the Chamber of the House of Commons when the Prime Minister apologised for the event in Downing Street where staff were allowed to drink in the garden and where he thanked them for their hard work.

"He accepted responsibility that it should have been dealt with differently and I am glad he apologised.

"The pandemic has been cruel to so many people and I am listening to views from constituents, local Conservative Party officers and members and am also waiting to see the full details in the Gray inquiry report."

Representatives of Anthony Browne did get back to us and said he had nothing to add to his previous statement.

His previous words were: "I’m glad to see the Prime Minister explain and apologise for events within Number 10, and to take personal responsibility for them. It goes without saying that those who make rules need to abide by them.

“While the Prime Minister’s repeated apologies go some way towards easing my exasperation at these events, which I know is shared by many constituents, we are also in the middle of a formal investigation into a number of events at Number 10.

"It is frustrating, but we must await the outcome of that process. I expect the Prime Minister to show leadership in this matter and to continue to cooperate with all enquires.”

It would appear that both MPs are staying tight-lipped until the report by senior civil servant Sue Gray is released. 

But today that had a further set back, with the Met police backtracking on their stance earlier in the week - that the report could be released in full - saying certain elements couldn't be made public as it could prejudice the investigation.

Their statement this morning said: "For the events the Met is investigating, we asked for minimal reference to be made in the Cabinet Office report.

"The Met did not ask for any limitations on other events in the report, or for the report to be delayed, but we have had ongoing contact with the Cabinet Office, including on the content of the report, to avoid any prejudice to our investigation."

And that brings us right up to the present. Of course, there are ongoing matters both internationally and in this country that need our politicians' attention, and rightly so. But, fundamentally, politicians need to be accountable.

The Prime Minister is there to govern in the country's interests and our MPs are there to represent us and raise our interests and concerns in Parliament. And with all these questions over moral integrity, truth, and scandal, we must know where those who represent us stand.