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Guildford’s MP to Vote in Favour of Accepting the Damning Report on Boris Johnson

Published on: 16 Jun, 2023
Updated on: 17 Jun, 2023

Angela Richardson and Boris Johnson

By Martin Giles

On Monday, Angela Richardson, the Conservative MP for Guildford, will be voting in favour of accepting the Parliamentary Privileges Committee’s damning report on former prime minister Boris Johnson, saying she “will not be intimidated by anyone”.

Richardson was one of the first MPs to publicly switch her support to Rishi Sunak because of Johnson’s behaviour over Partygate.

In a statement issued this evening she said: “On Monday, I will be voting to support the Privileges Committee in its findings that Boris Johnson misled the House and was therefore in contempt of Parliament.

“The committee was established by the House – all the elected members of the Commons. Its membership was agreed without the need for a vote and its terms of reference were clear.

“Ministers must not mislead the House. If they do, they must correct the record at the earliest opportunity. I called for Boris Johnson to do so via The Dragon in January 2022. It was many months after this point that he attempted to correct the record.”

Yesterday, Guildford Liberal Democrats said voting against the report would be “an insult to bereaved families who grieved alone while Boris Johnson partied”.

Zoe Franklin

Zöe Franklin, the prospective Lib Dem Parliamentary candidate, said: “This excoriating report is unprecedented. Never before has a former British Prime Minister been found to have lied to Parliament and treated the public with such contempt.

“Angela Richardson owes it to us to do the right thing and to vote to censure Boris Johnson. Anything less would be an insult to bereaved families who grieved alone, and all of us who followed the rules, while Boris Johnson showed us utter contempt and lied and partied.”

But Richardson’s decision will not be universally popular with Guildford Conservatives. Those asked declined to go on the record today but there is still residual support for Boris Johnson in some quarters of the local party’s membership and supporters.

Christian Holliday

Earlier this week, in a letter to The Dragon, sent before the committee’s report was published, former GBC councillor Christian Holliday, now Deputy Chair (Political) of the Guildford Conservative Association, wrote of the action taken against Johnson: “Rather than use force of argument or the ballot box, a way was found to drive him from office, using rules and procedures (a very ‘EU’ approach to achieving political goals) that would have ultimately triggered a by-election in his constituency. All this on the back of no actual evidence of wrongdoing.

“This has been a shameless witch-hunt that has run and run certainly since referendum night 2016 and in reality years before.”

Zoe Franklin claimed: “The Conservative Party is now in a full-blown civil war, while people struggle to afford to pay their mortgage or get a GP appointment. It’s time that Conservative MPs stopped fighting amongst themselves and focused on tackling the problems facing the country, from the NHS crisis to the cost of living.”

Angela Richardson must realise that she risks falling out with some local Conservatives but  explained why she agreed with all the sanctions recommended in the report: “Many may think the penalty of 90 days’ suspension and the loss of a parliamentary pass harsh. My view is that there were multiple opportunities for Boris Johnson to mitigate the penalty right from the outset.

“Indeed, my understanding is that the penalty was increased for further misleading the committee and the contempt shown to the committee and its findings by not adhering to the rules of confidentiality.

“I abhor the suggestion by Nadine Dorries (Conservative MP)  that members who vote for the findings will be threatened with deselections. I will not be intimidated by anyone.

“I was selected and then elected and now reselected to fight the new Guildford seat in order to use my best judgement always, but especially on matters of principle and conscience where my vote cannot and should not be whipped.  I stood firm and refused to be whipped to support the change to the report on Owen Paterson.

“My first concern on hearing Boris Johnson’s response to the report last week was for the safety in particular of Harriet Harman [the senior Labour MP who chaired the Privileges Committe] and I fed into the Chief Whip straight away that protection was needed.

“I have served with Harriet on the Joint Committee for Human Rights. She is an exceptional parliamentarian and woman. Words are powerful in politics and can have devastating consequences when misused.

“Regardless of any of our views of Boris Johnson, he has been an impactful figure on our country’s politics. Monday will signal the closure on his time as an MP and Prime Minister. He will be free from the strictures of parliament – meanwhile, I will have voted to continue to uphold them.”

The Dragon asked other leaders or spokespersons of local parties to give their views.

Cllr James Walsh

Cllr James Walsh, leader of the Labour Group at GBC,  said: “The findings of the committee come as no surprise because many of us have had the measure of Johnson since before he became Prime Minister, but it is important that his lies and dishonesty were properly exposed, analysed and published in this report.

“It is important too that Parliament was the forum through which this happened; we have a strong history of democratic accountability shaped by nearly a thousand years in which the people, through Parliament and the House of Commons, became sovereign. It is too important to allow chancers like Boris Johnson to destroy this tradition through lies, dishonesty and his many character defects and I am pleased that the committee has responded so robustly.”

“This goes way beyond party politics and many of my friends who have Conservative leanings are in complete agreement. You only have to look across the Atlantic to the mess that another political chancer and liar is wreaking to understand that democratic societies must fight back whenever the values that underpin them come under insidious attack like this.”

Cllr Pat Oven

And leader of the Guildford Greenbelt Group, Cllr Pat Oven, added: ” The Guildford Greenbelt Group is a local party that is essentially concerned with local issues. It has no link to any ‘national’ party, even the Green Party.

“However we all have a keen interest in national politics. Were I an MP, even a Conservative one, I would unhesitatingly accept the committee’s report. There was no objection to the constitution of the committee, which had a Conservative majority and it is customary for the Chairman of such committees to be from the opposition.

“Parliament, not the executive, is sovereign, and deliberate and protracted lying to it should rightly be treated seriously. The same principles clearly apply in local government. Enforcing them might be another matter.”

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Responses to Guildford’s MP to Vote in Favour of Accepting the Damning Report on Boris Johnson

  1. John Harrison Reply

    June 17, 2023 at 11:17 am

    It is those MPs seeking to undermine the privileges committee and, by extension Parliament and democracy, that should be deselected, not those calling out the wrong doings of a disgraced, former prime minister. Good to see our MP well off the fence and on the right side of it.

    Interestingly, Boris writes in the Daily Mail that whilst PM he was taking a pill to counteract “40 years of moral failure, 40 years of weakness in the face of temptation”. If only it was that simple.

  2. Anthony Mallard Reply

    June 17, 2023 at 3:56 pm

    It is perhaps regrettable that Johnson’s prefix “Right Honourable” cannot easily be removed. He was never right nor honourable.

  3. Ben Paton Reply

    June 17, 2023 at 4:58 pm

    Perhaps our MP will start to address local issues for a change.

    Her main contribution to date has been to promote a ‘Johnsonian’ scheme to build a A3 tunnel. For what purpose? To enable a disastrous and corrupt Tory Local Plan!

  4. Mike Dent Reply

    June 19, 2023 at 9:44 am

    The record that Angela Richardson proudly promotes in terms of Owen Paterson needs context. She implies that she voted against the government regards this scandal. The truth is she abstained.

    She took a way out of making a true stand and dressed that up as some kind of moral stance. Abstention when it comes to public standards is not bravery, it is cowardice.

    • Angela Richardson Reply

      June 19, 2023 at 12:54 pm

      Mike Dent (Lib Dem activist) may wish to reflect that in abstaining on the Owen Paterson vote I was prepared to be sacked from government (and was) and in abstaining on the fracking/confidence vote I was prepared to lose the Conservative whip.

      Until one is personally faced with those difficult choices in a very public arena, it is not simple and straightforward to judge what is bravery and what is cowardice.

      Angela Richardson is the Conservative MP for Guildford

  5. Dave Fielding Reply

    June 20, 2023 at 7:17 am

    I am not a supporter of our MP but the speech was good and brings credit to her. Sadly, it also wasn’t without risk. The former PM’s behaviour has been appalling and I doubt that this is the end of him.

    That said, well done to her.

    I would now ask her to please turn her attention to the shockingly bad service being provided by Thames Water.

  6. Stuart Barnes Reply

    June 20, 2023 at 7:52 am

    All very sad.

    If only we had a right wing party to vote for. All that is left is tactical voting, ie to vote against the worst party.

    Will we ever get back to the days when we could vote for someone rather than against someone?

  7. Anthony Mallard Reply

    June 20, 2023 at 10:38 am

    I am not sure Ms Richardson’s response to Mr Dent has improved her position.

    In the case of Owen Paterson, one surely knows whether the circumstances that led to the controversy was something that was right or wrong.

    It seemed to me that the man or woman in the street knew and MPs surely had better information upon which to judge the merits or demerits the argument being put forward by his cronies.

    What therefore is the difficulty in voting firmly one way or another.

    On fracking, there are many grey areas and one can perhaps understand Ms Richardson’s dilemma. Sadly, whilst Ms Richardson is to be congratulated on her vote for the adoption of the report of the Privileges Committee of the House, the absence of the Prime Minister from the debate and vote on this most important of issues, shows a personal weakness and a clear lack of leadership.

    The poor excuse of the Downing Street spokesman that he had a previous engagement from which he was unable to absent himself, indicates to me that MPs have still not learned their lessonthe and the culture of the “Westminster bubble” hasn’t changed.

  8. John Perkins Reply

    June 20, 2023 at 11:40 pm

    Angela Richardson says she “will not be intimidated by anyone”, though it’s not easy to see who exactly she felt she could be intimidated by. Neither Johnson nor Dorries has the power to threaten de-selection.

    Criminals who plead guilty might get a lighter sentence, but a not guilty plea does not usually result in an increased sentence on conviction.

  9. Peta Malthouse Reply

    June 22, 2023 at 7:17 am

    Good for Angela Richardson. My own MP Jonathan Lord abstained (we are in Normandy in the Woking constituency). I have no idea why. The report was detailed and the committee thoroughly examined the issues.

    I follow politics closely and am afraid that if the report said any different I would have lost confidence in our democracy completely. We were informed by those who knew him, Max Hastings who was his editor at the Telegraph and Johnson’s headmaster at Eton who summed up his character wonderfully.

    His actions as Prime Minister undermined our Union our democratic norms, our international reputation and our resilience as a nation.

    It was not his constant lying that bought him down but his own MPs who realised he had appointed a bully, despite knowing his reputation, to be Chief Whip. Our former MP Anne Milton testified to the bullying/blackmailing behaviour on Ch 4. I am sad to see there are so many conspiracy theorists in the Tory party. Johnson inevitably bought himself down

  10. David Roberts Reply

    June 22, 2023 at 2:10 pm

    Remember, Angela Richardson is only one of Guildford’s MPs. My MP, the invisible Sir Paul Beresford, did not vote.

    Editor’s note: Michael Gove, Surrey Heath and Jonathan Lord, Woking, also did not vote.

  11. Stuart Barnes Reply

    June 23, 2023 at 9:47 am

    On this matter only, well done to Messrs Gove, Beresford, and Lord.

  12. John Perkins Reply

    June 26, 2023 at 10:59 am

    It is tiresome to find myself defending Boris Johnson as I regard him as a liar and a mountebank. The unsavoury and unreliable side of his character have been known for many years. However, I find the sheer intemperance of his detractors profoundly disturbing.

    There have been increasingly strident calls for him to be stripped of his rights, in the manner of a mobbing, with each trying to outdo those before. All in prosecution of the unforgivable sin of lying.

    Michael Heseltine is reported as accusing Johnson of “lying to the House of Commons knowingly and deliberately” and adding “That is a capital offence.” He is also reported saying that Johnson should not be allowed to stand again as a Tory MP. Quite how he would be able to stand if he were to suffer capital punishment is not clear.

    Is there such a thing as an MP who has never lied? Or are they all, like George Washington, incapable of such behaviour?

    Where does it all end?

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