A London MP has become the first senior Conservative in the capital to say publicly that Boris Johnson should resign as Prime Minister over the so-called “partygate” scandal, following publication yesterday of Sue Gray’s report about Covid rule-breaking at 10 Downing Street.
David Simmonds (pictured), who represents the Ruislip, Northwood & Pinner constituency, which adjoins Johnson’s Uxbridge & South Ruislip seat, and was elected in 2019, told The Times that having reflected on the PM’s response to the report and listened to constituents “it is clear that while the government and our policies enjoy the confidence of the public, the Prime Minister does not” and therefore “it is time for him to step down”.
None of the capital’s other 19 Conservative MPs have yet joined the ranks of around 20 fellow Tory MPs in all who have declared their wish for Johnson to go, though as of lunchtime today none had used Twitter to express support for him, unlike some parliamentary colleagues representing other parts of Britain.
There has, though, been continuing backing for Johnson from London Assembly Conservative group leader Susan Hall, who, through Twitter, has applauded Johnson’s request to “move on” from “partygate”, attacked Sky News reporter Beth Rigby for asking Johnson if he will resign, and praised Dan Wootton, a presenter on the hard right television channel GB News, for berating critics of Johnson as “remoaners” who will never forgive him for Brexit, which 60% of Londoners voted against. Other Tory AMs have not yet addressed the partygate issue on Twitter.
Labour attacks on Johnson have been joined by Sadiq Khan, who told BBC Radio London’s Eddie Nestor that Johnson is “somebody who is not just breaking the rules” but, he claimed, “is now shown to have lied to parliament”. The Mayor added: “This guy lied at the dispatch box. He’s a liar. I don’t want a Prime Minister who’s a liar”.
Khan said the revelations about social gatherings at Downing Street had made him “sad” and were “sad for those of us who love democracy” and “those who followed the rules”, even though in terms of Labour gaining political advantage Johnson was “the best thing since sliced bread. I was knocking on doors before the council elections and people were saying ‘I’m voting Labour because I can’t stand Johnson”.
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