My inbox has been full of emails calling for the Prime Minister to resign. Even once you take out the usual Momentum and Labour party regulars, the current exploits of what has been happening has been the talk up and down the country. The Calder Valley has been no exception.
Without question the No.10 ‘party’ allegations are horrendous. Even more so if you were one of us who stuck to coronavirus restrictions to the letter and had to wave goodbye to loved ones through a window or, worse still, could not attend a proper funeral for those same loved ones. On every level, this is totally unacceptable and needs addressing.
Many will recall that I was one of the few MPs who stuck their heads above the parapet to call for the resignation of Dominic Cummings when he decided to take his trip to Barnard Castle. I have every respect for people taking a decision (for whatever reason). But then they must accept the consequences. In the case of Dominic Cummings, I believe the case was very clear cut. He had taken a decision; he then took the trip; he then thought by explaining to the nation why it was justified that he then would not have to face any consequences. Instead, he continued to dig a hole without even an apology for his actions. In my view, he needed to go.
On the Prime Minister (PM) and events in Downing Street, there is an awful lot of speculation based on the footage that has been leaked to date. Whilst I understand the anger and frustration about this entirely, it is very unlikely that this represents the whole story.
People also say that because the PM lives there, he would know what happened. Not necessarily. Downing Street is a series of old massive Georgian mansions joined together. It holds at least 60 offices, numerous large state rooms, Cabinet Room, COBRA, dining rooms and a huge room which holds 200+ people, and not to mention the residences of both the PM and Chancellor.
That doesn’t mean however people are not incredibly angry and upset. They are, and with some justification. However, I’m not convinced that we have all the facts yet. That is why I welcome the Sue Gray investigation and I will be waiting for all the facts before I make an informed decision.
I want to highlight that the Terms of Reference for this investigation make clear that any credible allegations of gatherings may be looked at. It has been confirmed that this includes the allegations relating to November and December 2020, as well as 15 and 20 May 2020. The Government has been clear that if wrongdoing is established, then appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.
Many will have seen media reports of the involvement of the Met Police this week. Whilst Sue Gray does not have any power to determine whether the law has been broken or not, she made it clear from the start that she would work with the police and would hand the report to them for review once finalised.
Having said all of the above, one thing is clear. That is the chaotic nature of the establishment which is Downing Street. So, it is my view that whatever happens when the Gray report is published, the establishment over in Downing Street does need to change. If it doesn’t, then sadly the perception that there is an “us and them” divide will stick forever and a day.
In the meantime, we must not forget that we have a PM who has massively delivered in his time in Office, whether it is Brexit, the quest to find a vaccine and the big issues around the pandemic, and the Nationality and Borders Bill to name but a few. Whether you believe in them or not, we should all be proud of what our country has achieved, ably lead by our Prime Minister.
Unless the Gray report produces an outcome that makes the PM’s position untenable, I believe we should back him 100% and refocus on delivering for the Country.