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Guildford MP’s Support for Boris Johnson as PM Still Uncertain

Published on: 22 Apr, 2022
Updated on: 24 Apr, 2022

Angela Richardson speaking in the House of Commons in November 2020.

By Martin Giles

Guildford’s MP Angela Richardson was prepared to support a Labour motion, yesterday (April 21), for a parliamentary investigation into whether the prime minister lied to the Commons about Downing Street parties during lockdowns.

The motion passed without a vote after receiving no objections.

See updated reference to Sir Ed Davey below.

No 10 had opted against tabling its own delay amendment, apparently because of a lack of sufficient support among Conservative rank and file MPs.

Ms Richardson resigned as Michael Gove’s PPS in January, seemingly because of her disquiet over “partygate” and told The Dragon on April 15 that she hoped Boris Johnson would correct the record of what he said in Parliament in December.

In a statement to The Dragon, Ms Richardson said: “I was in Parliament for the debate on Labour’s motion and was prepared to go through the Aye lobby in support of a commons committee to investigate the circumstances of the statement the Prime Minister made to the House.

“I stayed on the Parliamentary estate and was preparing to vote for the motion but the House of Commons did not seek to divide.

“I have been consistent in my view that no one, not even the Prime Minister, is above Parliamentary scrutiny or observance of the customs of the House. I abstained on the Owen Paterson vote and have always stated my clear belief that MPs should be held to the highest standards.

“On that subject, it was disappointing to see the Liberal Democrat leader Sir Edward Davey told off by The Speaker for naming voters from other constituencies, including Guildford, without notifying the MPs for those constituencies.

“This was a clear abuse of parliamentary custom, which he then tried to justify. If we are to uphold the highest standards of parliamentary behaviour, opposition leaders should not be above scrutiny either or be seen to flout the rules while scrutinising others for doing the same.”

The Hansard record shows that Sir Ed Davey did not name individual voters but constituencies, including Lewes, Wimbledon and Winchester. About Guildford he said: “Lifelong Conservative voters in Guildford are saying they cannot vote for the Conservatives any more. Conservative Members complain about elections; the problem is that if they will not hold this Prime Minister to account, the electorate will have to hold this Prime Minister to account.”

Zoe Franklin

On Wednesday, before yesterday’s events in Parliament, Zoe Franklin, the prospective Lib Dem candidate for Guildford, said: “Now is the time for Guildford’s Conservative MP Angela Richardson to do the right thing and stand up to Boris Johnson in Parliament.

“Enough is enough. How can Conservative MPs stand behind a liar and law-breaker? It is shameless.

“Time and time again Ms Richardson has backed Boris Johnson through this entire saga despite local outrage. People here made heartbreaking sacrifices during lockdowns, from missing funerals to being apart from their loved ones for months on end, yet, at the same time, Downing Street staff were partying.

“I’ve heard from countless lifelong Conservative voters here who won’t vote Conservative again because of Boris Johnson. If our MP doesn’t act then she is propping up a liar and is therefore guilty by association.”

A spokesperson for Guildford Labour said: “As Keir Starmer said, the people of this country have already made up their minds; they all know the Prime Minister is a liar, is untrustworthy, is incompetent and thinks the law only applies to others.

“The Downing Street parties are only the latest in a never-ending list of Johnson’s inability to tell the truth.  Mr Johnson is not the Conservative Party, and we are happy that traditional Conservatives are distancing themselves from their current leader.

“Every time a Tory MP justifies a lie, evasion or dishonest statement by saying e.g. he was ‘ambushed by cake’ they are dragging themselves deeper and deeper into the mud with him.”

Howard Smith

Howard Smith vice-chair of Guildford Labour added: “We are glad this is going to be investigated by the Standards Committee.  We hope that Downing Street will cooperate fully and release all the relevant communications and photos of the parties.  It seems like the end is coming for Johnson as PM and this can only be good for the governance of our country and enable high standards to be reestablished.”

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Responses to Guildford MP’s Support for Boris Johnson as PM Still Uncertain

  1. Aubrey Leahy Reply

    April 22, 2022 at 5:56 pm

    High time the Sir Winston Churchill wannabe was sent packing for not only his disregard for the laws he put into place but his frumious attempts to bamboozle us on a daily basis into believing he is fit for the serious job of running the country.

    Trips to Ukraine and now India would (both at enormous public expense), if actually beneficial, in bringing peace closer or in persuading India to follow most of the rest of the world in condemning Russia, would be admirable, but the very first person he met in India was a huge donor to the cause of furthering his political ambitions.

  2. Sean Jenkinson Reply

    April 23, 2022 at 6:52 am

    Aubrey Leahy says Boris Johnson’s trips were, “…both at enormous public expense…”. I am sure if anyone other than Boris had done this he would be singing their praise. Whatever he thinks of the man and his government, they have got us through one of the worst times since World War 2, something no other UK prime minister has had to deal with, kept millions in jobs with the furlough and grants to companies. It’s easy to sit on the other side where decisions you make do not affect the whole population and criticise, just as Labour and Keir Starmer has done all through this pandemic.

    I am not a fan of any party and would not vote for any of them in all honesty, but at the same time, I would not have wanted to be in Boris Johnson’s position during the pandemic.

  3. Aubrey Leahy Reply

    April 23, 2022 at 1:22 pm

    Well said Sean Jenkinson. I agree we have been through difficult times but it’s very hard to quantify which has been the worst, or the best.

    Perhaps he would be so kind as to inform us which other PM has lied in and to parliament more often or been fined whilst in office?

    It’s a pity Sean was not in the shoes of Boris as am sure he would have done if not a better job, at least a more honest and less self-serving one.

  4. RWL Davies Reply

    April 24, 2022 at 7:53 am

    It’s easy for certain types to work up intense righteous indignation and emotions, feigned or real, over “Partygate” as is all too obvious from orations in a wide range of venues from the parish pump to Westminster.

    In an overall context, it’s not even a storm in a teacup.

    The majority of citizens are bored with “Partygate”. They have other concerns and want politicians to get a grip on dealing with issues that matter; of which the UK has an abundance.

  5. Aubrey Leahy Reply

    April 25, 2022 at 4:23 pm

    I give not a fig about “Partygate” but reserve my intense, genuine and justified indignation for having a prime minister who does not tell the truth.

    I am not sure if Mr Davies is old enough to remember a chap called John Profumo? His political downfall came about not because of his extracurricular frolics with a woman who was engaging in similar activities with a Soviet spymaster during the same months, but because he stood before parliament and lied about it.

    It stands to reason Boris should have done the decent thing and resigned.

    • John Perkins Reply

      April 26, 2022 at 9:15 pm

      I wonder if Aubrey Leahy is old enough to remember that Profumo devoted the rest of his life to charity as penance?

      Perhaps he’s too young to remember a Prime Minister who took the country to war against Iraq on the basis of falsified information.

      Maybe his indignation is misplaced?

  6. Aubrey Leahy Reply

    April 27, 2022 at 11:01 pm

    Would that I were, but since I was recently in a photograph displayed in the Guildford Dragon at a VEDay street party in Ardmore Avenue I am not too young to remember what became known as the Keeler affair.

    Perhaps you misunderstood my connecting John Profumo and Boris. I have nothing but admiration for the many charitable works he, alongside his wife did, not only after his resignation but also before.

    The point I was trying to illustrate, and obviously failed miserably so to do, was that John Profumo did the honourable thing and resigned after lying to the house. He quit parliament, and public life in general after just one lie whereas Boris has not yet done so after 50 or more.

  7. John Perkins Reply

    April 30, 2022 at 7:34 am

    People might be interested to see a list of the “50 or more” lies, I certainly would.

    But is it worse to “misinterpret” the law about gatherings (as policemen and both Starmer and Rayner have done too) or to deliberately lie in order to take the country to war as Blair undoubtedly did?

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