Boris Johnson should take responsibility for his actions, says Calder Valley's Tory MP

A Conservative MP would still prefer Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign but if that is not going to happen believes the Government has to get on with its job regardless.

By John Greenwood - Local Democracy Reporter
Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 4:56 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 5:01 pm

Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker did not reveal whether he had voted for or against Mr Johnson in Conservative MPs’ vote of confidence on Monday.

But he set out his position in a half hour debate on Sky Television’s The Common Ground, hosted by presenter Trevor Phillips, last night.

Mr Whittaker reiterated his position laid out in a statement in April, following the Prime Minister’s being fined for a breach of lockdown legislation, which ultimately triggered this week’s confidence vote when 54 Conservative MPs submitted letters of no confidence in Mr Johnson to the party’s 1922 Committee.

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Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker

Mr Whittaker said that, as with comments he had made about the Prime Minister’s former adviser Dominic Cummings last year, his view was you cannot set the rules and break them without consequences and believed he should resign.

But in April, Mr Whittaker said he would not be among MPs submitting a letter of no confidence in Mr Johnson.

Without a resignation, ultimately the British people, not a small number of MPs, should decide whether or not they thought Mr Johnson was worthy to lead the country, he said.

In the televised debate, Mr Whittaker said: “What I want the Prime Minister to do is take responsibility for his actions.

“My constituents expect me to do so and I expect him as leader of the country to do exactly that and it comes down to standards in public life.

“That’s a position I take.

“But, you know, like with all battles we fight whether it’s in life or in itself, there comes a point at which you have to accept that actually you are not going to win that battle.”

For that reason, said Mr Whittaker, who corrected Mr Phillips’ assertion that the Calder Valley MP had voted for no confidence by saying he had not revealed how he had voted, the business of governing had to carry on.

It would have been “futile” to submit a letter because this would only trigger the confidence vote which the Prime Minister would win, he said, which is what had happened.

“The mere fact that it’s taken nearly six months for 54 letters to go in to the 1922 committee would tell you that, actually, you are not on the winning side of winning that battle.

“So, in my view, we draw a line under it.

“I’ve made my views on it politically very well known, and we get on and do what we’re employed to do, and that is get on and manage the country,” he said.

Mr Whittaker was appearing on the programme with former Ministers David Gauke and Ann Widdecombe.