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Guildford’s MP Tweets She Did Not Attend Christmas Party When a PPS at Education Department

Published on: 10 Dec, 2021
Updated on: 12 Dec, 2021

Angela Richardson MP

By Martin Giles

Guildford’s MP Angela Richardson has responded to a question, posed by Guildford Lib Dems on Twitter, that she did not attend a Christmas party held at the Department of Education last year. At the time, she was a Parliamentary private secretary (PPS) in the department.

The party is now subject to an investigation along with two others, one said to have taken place at 10 Downing Street.

Ms Richardson’s response to the Tweeted question from the Lib Dems: “The answer to the question is no, I did not.”

But Ms Richardson has failed to respond to The Guildford Dragon’s invitation to comment on a Lib Dem press release critical of the government’s reported conduct during last year’s Christmas period, as revealed in the national press. The Guildford MP is now PPS to Communities Secretary Michael Gove.

In the press release, Zoe Franklin the prospective Lib Dem parliamentary candidate said: “In addition to the 18th December party last year, the revelation in [the Daily] Mirror that then Minister for Education Gavin Williamson threw a party on 10th December last year in the midst of the stringent Covid measures is an insult to all of us who obeyed the rules and avoided seeing friends and loved ones last Christmas.

“Given that Guildford’s MP Angela Richardson was the at the time I requested she clarify whether she attended Williamson’s festive staff event and she has indicated she did not.

“I am pleased to hear this but I’m sure it will bring little comfort to local people who are seeing this ITV video and were separated from family and loved ones last Christmas.

“Ms Richardson should condemn the behaviour of Downing Street staff and Boris Johnson’s ducking of responsibility for his team, and apologise on behalf of her party for treating the public like fools.

“Last Christmas so many people were away from loved ones, and sadly too many lost family and friends to this awful virus. At a time of great sacrifice when the pandemic was at its worst, it is disgraceful to think that people in Downing Street were laughing about holding a Christmas party and that Ministers were holding their own jollies for their staff whilst asking everyone else not to.

“Enough is enough. This government must be held accountable to an inquiry into all their rule-breaking; from Barnard Castle to this latest episode. It cannot be one rule for them and another for the rest of us.”

And the criticism was echoed by a Dragon reader and Shalford resident Mike Dent who said: “I’m a regular contributor to the comments section on The Guildford Dragon.

“It’s important that Ms Richardson engages with constituents, including those that don’t agree with her outlook or views.  However, my experience is that she hides from constituents that are prepared to challenge and draw attention to her voting record.

“I am still awaiting replies to two notes I sent regards dumping sewage and one note I sent regarding government corruption and the Owen Paterson furore.

Mr Dent attached a copy of an “open letter” he had sent to Ms Richardson:

Dear Angela Richardson,

You’ll know I have written to you twice regards your support for water companies dumping raw sewage in rivers (25th Oct 2021 and follow up 22nd Nov 2021) and also about your refusal to vote against government corruption (4th Nov 2021).  I have received no response to any of these emails.  However, I live in hope and, as you represent all of your constituents (and not just those that agree with your views) perhaps you can reply to this email in your own stated target time of 15 working days (which by my calculation should be during the first full week of the New Year).

I am interested in your view on the problem with Conservative Party and Government / No 10 gatherings that happened during Winter 2020.  By my reckoning (after following the news during the last week), it seems that there was probably a leaving do on 27 November that the PM attended, a Dept of Education Party held by your old line manager Gavin Williamson in early December, a Christmas Party on 18th December in 10 Downing Street and this morning it appears that during December there was a party held at Conservative HQ.

You will remember that across this time period, your constituents were either in lockdown or subject to tiered restrictions, and they were expected to follow those rules, with anyone found breaking them subject to prosecution and punitive fines.  In fact, I remember where I live in Shalford, one weekend we started in Tier 2 on the Friday and ended up in Tier 4 on the Sunday. 

That period of time was difficult, dark and frightening.  My wife and I had to forego all Christmas plans thanks to the PM essentially cancelling our Christmas less than a week before the 25th December.  To be precise, [this was] the day after his team had been partying in 10 Downing Street.

Do you believe in the concept of ‘one rule for them and another rule for the rest of us?’.  If the answer is yes, then please be specific why you think that is acceptable.  If the answer is no, then please let me know how you have represented this to those people in the Government you serve and the party you are a member of that have seemingly broken the rules that they set.

Many thanks – as I said I live in hope that you won’t ignore this email as you have the other recent messages that I have sent you.

Mike Dent

Angela Richardson was invited to comment on Mike Dent’s letter.

See also: I Call On Our MP to Get Justice for Those Who Did Obey the Covid Rules

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Responses to Guildford’s MP Tweets She Did Not Attend Christmas Party When a PPS at Education Department

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    December 10, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    It is time we looked to the future. Soon people will be asking whether the arrow that killed King Harold was made in the UK and sold to the Normans. It is getting that stupid.

    There are more important practical questions, for instance when are the additional stormwater tanks going to be installed?

    As to the political parties, they are in the past.

    The future needs looking after, not the past. We don’t need to dissect every government action for the sadistic gratification of the political tabloids.

    • John Schluter Reply

      December 11, 2021 at 8:19 pm

      I see Jim Allen is aligning himself with Justice Secretary Dominic Raab’s incorrect statement that the police do not investigate historic crimes.

      Nobody has mentioned arrows and I have no view on the stormwater tanks, important though the subject may be.

      The nub of the whole sorry tale is that whilst those in high office were, in some instances, partying into the night, others similarly partying were arrested and fined, whereas the majority of us were obeying the guidelines precisely set out by those in high office.

      There was an assertion at the time (easily proven, by the way) by Home Secretary Priti Patel that she would report any friends or neighbours to the police for breaking rules.

      I suppose she neither lives near Downing Street nor considers the ravers her friends.

      • Jim Allen Reply

        December 12, 2021 at 2:48 pm

        I made no reference to “the police investigating historic crimes”. I just drew an analogy to the relative importance of some past crimes because this storm in a thimble and is so pathetically politically motivated.

        I align myself with no political party, save I will try and persuade those that do, be it red, green, black, orange or blue to do the best for our community and the country. The point I was making is that constant revisiting and rehearsing past irrelevant minor matters when we have a real worldwide pandemic to deal with, alongside, on the world stage, potential invasions of the Ukraine and Taiwan while locally it has been acknowledged that our Sewage Treatment Works are already at capacity.

        Do we actually have the capacity and to deal with relatively unimportant past events when we have such major and pressing issues to face.

        And regarding the partying, Boris paid the price of “mixing” as did many others by ending up in hospital. So let’s move on to the more important items on the local and world agendas.

  2. Mike Dent Reply

    December 30, 2021 at 12:39 pm

    On Wednesday (December 29) Angela Richardson replied to my email – her unedited response is below:

    Dear Mike,

    Thank you for contacting me about reports of gatherings held in Downing Street last winter.

    I understand and share the anger felt by people across the country at the video of Number 10 staff seeming to make light of lockdown measures. The Prime Minister himself has said that he was furious when he saw the clip. So many of us have made enormous personal sacrifices throughout the pandemic and it is deeply uncomfortable to think that the people responsible for setting the rules may not have been following those rules.

    Therefore, I welcome the Prime Minister’s recent comments in the House of Commons. In these comments, the Prime Minister apologised for the offence caused and the impression it gives. Further, I am glad that the Prime Minister made clear that even though he had been repeatedly assured that there was no party and that no Covid rules were broken in Downing Street, he has directed the Cabinet Secretary to investigate this matter and other events alleged to have breached Covid regulations, establish all the facts, and report back as soon as possible.

    I have been reassured that if it is found that Covid rules were broken, then there will be disciplinary action for those involved.

    Thank you again for contacting me.

    Best wishes,

    Angela Richardson MP

    I will be responding to this “boiler plate” response, pointing out that Ms Richardson, as our elected representative, has failed to address several points in my letter and answered her own questions rather than mine:

    – I never mentioned the video of Downing Street staff mocking the parties
    – She does not address the specific parties I mentioned at the Education Department and the Conservative HQ
    – She says the Cabinet Secretary is investigating when he specifically recused himself from the investigation after he knew a party happened in his office – this happened a week or two ago

    It’s a very poor response that shows how out of touch Angela Richardson actually is.

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