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‘Too Little, Too Late’ Says Guildford MP on PM’s Performance After Publication of ‘Partygate’ Report

Published on: 26 May, 2022
Updated on: 27 May, 2022

By Martin Giles

“I am clear that had that been a report about my leadership, I would resign,” is Angela Richardson’s damming and pointed conclusion in her statement on Sue Gray’s report on the “Partygate” allegations.

But she does not reveal if she has written, or will write, a letter of no confidence in Boris Johnson to the chairman of the Tory backbench “1922 committee”. The Conservative Parliamentary party method for triggering a vote of no confidence is for 15 per cent (currently 54) of Conservative MPs to submit letters.

Ms Richardson has said on Facebook that she regards her correspondence with the 1922 chairman is private and should remain so.

Clearly frustrated by the distraction “Partygate” has caused and the length of time it has taken for the record to be set straight she says: “I previously stated that I hoped he would correct the record at the earliest opportunity and I maintain that position; my fear is that only doing so today is too little, too late.”

“There is so much for us to do; easing the cost of living; winning peace in Ukraine; levelling up our communities across the country; tackling issues of violence towards women and girls and meeting the challenges of climate change. That is the work I want to see this government doing.”

She then goes on to admit that there has been a breakdown in trust in the government: “In order to do that important work, MPs need to deserve your trust. Trust has been broken and it saddens me that the culture in Number Ten and the length of time the enquiry has taken has eroded trust in your political representatives. It reflects badly on all of us

“Sue Gray reflects many people’s view when she says: ‘The senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility…’

“I will continue to work every day to keep faith with all my constituents whether you voted for me or not.”

The Guildford MP said consistently that she would wait to read the full report into the rule-breaking parties held at 10 Downing Street and other venues, a stance which has been criticised, but her statement (issued yesterday May 25) makes it clear she is very unhappy with the leadership of her party.

Following her election as Guidford’s MP in November 2019, she quickly got her foot on the bottom rung of the government ladder by becoming a PPS in the Department of Education.

Later she became PPS to Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Communities & Local Government and the MP for the neighbouring Surrey Heath constituency, but in November 2021, after a chaotic 24 hours when having abstained in a vote on the proposed suspension of Owen Paterson she was first sacked as Mr Gove’s PPS and then, when the government caved in on the issue, reinstated just 16 hours later.

But her trust in her own party’s leadership seemed to have been damaged and she ultimately resigned as PPS in January 2022, with her resignation made public after the publication on January 31 of Sue Gray’s preliminary “Partygate” report.

Angela Richardson’s statement in full: 
I have said previously that I would wait until the full publication of the Sue Gray report to form a view on the future of the Prime Minister Boris Johnson as well as comment publicly on this to the people of Guildford.
 
That report was published today and alongside it, the Prime Minister took the opportunity to correct the record in the House of Commons around statements he had made on COVID rule-breaking in December. I previously stated that I hoped he would correct the record at the earliest opportunity and I maintain that position; my fear is that only doing so today is too little, too late.
 
COVID placed people in circumstances that were trying beyond imagination. Public sector and NHS workers, those working in care homes, the emergency services and others; many words have been used to try to do justice to their sacrifice – but I am not sure that any have yet captured it adequately. Courageous and selfless people continued to work in service of others throughout the pandemic – and too many of them paid the ultimate price.
 
In that context, I particularly abhorred the fact noted by Sue Gray that security staff and cleaners were subjected to rudeness and arrogance by government staff. There is nothing that ever excuses poor behaviour towards those going about their work. How we treat those seen to be below us in any hierarchy says more about us than words ever could. It is simply intolerable.
 
I came into politics to make a difference to people but once again I find myself in the position of accounting for the behaviour of the leader of the party and our government. There is so much for us to do; easing the cost of living; winning peace in Ukraine; levelling up our communities across the country; tackling issues of violence towards women and girls and meeting the challenges of climate change. That is the work I want to see this government doing.
 
In order to do that important work, MPs need to deserve your trust. Trust has been broken and it saddens me that the culture in Number Ten and the length of time the enquiry has taken has eroded trust in your political representatives. It reflects badly on all of us
 
Sue Gray reflects many people’s view when she says: ‘The senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility…’ I am clear that had that been a report about my leadership, I would resign.
 
I will continue to work every day to keep faith with all my constituents whether you voted for me or not.

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test 16 Responses to ‘Too Little, Too Late’ Says Guildford MP on PM’s Performance After Publication of ‘Partygate’ Report

  1. Keith Kerr Reply

    May 27, 2022 at 7:54 am

    It’s not just Boris Johnson that disrespects the honourable behaviour required to represent our Government.

    It’s not just Johnson that bends the rules to stay in charge.

    It’s not just Johnson that diverts the truth to remain a Member of Parliament.

    It’s not just Johnson’s actions that were designed to give the Tories more control and power over the UK.

    Johnson was the tool used because everybody was attracted to his very likeable personality. It was him, some of the media, and false promises of a better future that got the Tories elected.

    We need a completely new government. We cannot trust MP’s that support any misrepresentation of the truth.

    • Hilary Minor Reply

      May 27, 2022 at 12:19 pm

      I agree 100 per cent.

  2. Stuart Barnes Reply

    May 27, 2022 at 9:26 am

    Let us be honest. We did not vote for Boris because we thought he was whiter than white. We voted for him because he was not May or Corbyn and because we thought he was the only one able to defeat the traitors in parliament who were trying to overturn the will of the people to escape from the corrupt and intensely hated EU.

    Boris has been a disappointment as he has not got Brexit done and maybe it is time to get a genuine Conservative and Brexiteer to take over.

    If we want someone whiter than white then perhaps we need the great Mogg?

    • Mark Stamp Reply

      May 27, 2022 at 2:16 pm

      The language here is inflammatory and should be considered completely unacceptable in a civilized democracy. There were MPs (including our former MP, Anne Milton) who were making the case for what their constituents wanted and making sure that a good Brexit deal was done, not just a deal that fitted an arbitrary deadline and that we have come to regret later. The referendum was not clear on what Brexit meant, it certainly wasn’t a mandate for the hard Brexit we got.

      If Mr Barnes thinks Jacob Rees-Mogg is the answer then I hope he answers the questions why he moved most of his investments to Ireland to keep them in the EU and why he thinks implementing the checks that were part of the hard Brexit he wanted would be “an act of self-harm”.

      • John Perkins Reply

        May 28, 2022 at 2:04 pm

        Presumably, Mark Stamp finds the phrase “whiter than white” to be inflammatory. If so he needs to consult a dictionary. It’s been used by detergent and toothpaste manufacturers to sell their wares and has absolutely no racial connotation.

        If not, then perhaps he objects to the word “traitor” being used to describe those MPs, mostly removed at the last election, who attempted to prevent the government acting on the result of the referendum. Those who support a foreign government against their own are commonly called traitors.

        If it’s the use of the word “corrupt”, he objects to then I suggest he consider the considerable evidence of corruption in that organization. Power corrupts and the EU undoubtedly has power. Between governments across the world only the level of corruption varies.

        The final possibility is the phrase “intensely hated EU”. I can assure him that there was little hatred in 2016, only distrust and disquiet, yet there’s certainly hatred now and some of it is intense.

        Two last points:
        1. Has Mr Stamp any evidence that JRM “moved most of his investments to Ireland” or is he just misquoting newspaper reports. It might also be interesting to know how he knows that JRM’s motive was “to keep them in the EU”.
        2. If Remain supporters failed to make clear what Brexit meant then maybe that’s because they were busy espousing apocalyptic and inflammatory nonsense.

        • Mark Stamp Reply

          May 28, 2022 at 5:58 pm

          The language I found inflammatory was referring to MPs fulfilling their constitutional role in a representative democracy as “traitors”.
          1) https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-jacob-rees-mogg-scm-ireland-city-move-eu-withdrawal-dublin-a8398041.html
          2)
          Why were Remain supporters responsible for defining what Brexit meant when the Leave campaigners spent the referendum campaign making false statements (such as Turkey’s imminent joining) and stating that we would stay in the customs union. Remain supporters were clear what they were advocating. I assume the fact that Kent council have had to contract a specialist in disaster management to manage the predicted chaos at Dover is evidence of the nonsense that Remain espoused?

          • John Perkins

            May 29, 2022 at 2:26 pm

            I see nothing democratic in MPs trying to overturn the result of a general referendum and nothing representative in those who also ignored their own constituents’ wishes.

            The first sentence in the referenced newspaper article states Jacob Rees-Mogg helped “to establish an investment fund in Ireland ahead of the UK leaving the European Union”. That’s a completely different thing to moving “most of his investments to Ireland”. Mark Stamp is misquoting.

            Remain supporters were arguing for the continuance of the status quo and could have simply advocated its benefits, but chose to emphasize every catastrophic possibility of leaving. In that respect, they did define Brexit – as they saw it.

            Negotiations for Turkey to join the EU began in 2005 and seemed to be going well in 2016. Since then, without the support of the UK, they have stalled.

            It’s rather odd that there are long queues at Dover (and Calais), given that standards in the UK and EU are still almost perfectly aligned. I suspect it has more to do with the six-inch thick file of forms that have to be filled in for every container. Does that happen in other “third” countries and was it always so?

  3. Mark Stamp Reply

    May 27, 2022 at 2:49 pm

    If Angela Richardson is not able to stand up publicly for her beliefs on what she obviously feels is an issue of moral leadership, I can’t trust that she will actually stand up on issues that she may not necessarily wholeheartedly believe in but are in the best interests of Guildford residents.

  4. Aubrey Leahy Reply

    May 28, 2022 at 3:35 pm

    “The senior leadership must bear responsibility” and so must Angela Richardson. Yet in her statement, she manages to avoid it.

    The average person, with even the vaguest comprehension of the English language, would have to wonder if she really speaks the truth and from her heart, and why her letter of no confidence has not already been written, signed, sealed and delivered, if it hasn’t. Why does she refuse to say?

    Sadly, we have to wonder whether it has been sent but sadder still we know that she is merely protecting her seat and trying to have it both ways.

  5. David Roberts Reply

    May 28, 2022 at 6:41 pm

    Leaving aside what is or is not inflammatory language, everyone now agrees that Johnson’s electoral appeal was based on his false promises about Brexit and much else.

    It is central to the appeal of 21st-century populist nationalists the world over (notably Trump, Xi, Modi, Duterte, Bolsonaro, Orban and Putin) to whip up an artificial “culture war” between groups who see themselves as economically left-behind, true sons-of-the-soil and “traitors” who have supposedly betrayed the nation. The latter invariably include outsiders (foreigners, the EU, asylum seekers etc) and insiders (the “liberal establishment”, the “woke” Left, minorities such as immigrants and strong institutions including the civil service, the judiciary and the press). By posing as charismatic saviours, populist leaders boost their personal power by deliberately eroding confidence in constitutional rules, institutions and other politicians.

    Johnson has done this in spades, turning people against each other and encouraging decent, mainstream voters feel they are victims of some imagined conspiracy. This technique was first identified by Karl Marx in 1848 when Louis Napoleon Bonaparte began the process of making himself Emperor of the French by popular plebiscite. It is shocking that, after 175 years, electorates seem to have learnt nothing, and especially dismaying that the Conservatives, the world’s most successful political party, have fallen under the spell of this stale old confidence trick. Johnson is a false prophet who is risking the party’s survival. His lies have been well rumbled and they need to get rid of him fast.

    • Simon Southgate Reply

      June 1, 2022 at 2:46 pm

      I couldn’t disagree with David Roberts more and I am responding to his comment because I want it understood that there are people in this country and in the Conservative party (including prominent MPs) who don’t share his views.

      We currently live in a “blame culture” country, we seem obsessed with complaining, whinging, and now striking. We have become a very selfish, small-minded nation.

      Massive external forces, beyond anyone’s control, have created unprecedented problems throughout the world and leaders in every country are doing their best to deal with them. Contrary to Mr Robert’s belief, the majority of people in this country do not necessarily agree with his view.

      There is a large group of silent supporters who don’t bother arguing with people like Mr Roberts. I fully supported Brexit and I continue to support Boris Johnson. I’d like him to be dealing with real issues, not the “Partygate” drivel which is served up day after day on the TV.

      I understand that 54 letters (ie 15 per cent of the 359 Conservative MPs) would need to be submitted to force a vote of no confidence. Then in the vote a simple majority (ie 180 votes) would be necessary to displace him as leader of the party and, by convention, prime minister.

      But if he wins a “no confidence” vote he should remain in place and this perpetual witch hunt should end so that he can get on and deal with more important matters.

  6. Simon Southgate Reply

    May 30, 2022 at 8:28 am

    I am sick to death of the endless time and money wasted on “Partygate” whilst thousands are being slaughtered in Ukraine. Some of the best politicians in history were deeply flawed in many aspects.

    I don’t condone nor object to what took place. Personally, I don’t give a stuff whether Boris Johnson (Keir or Starmer for that matter) went to one party, two parties or three parties – it’s not important.

    This is just Brexit all over again, a never-ending, costly and pointless witch hunt.

    The cost of living crisis, energy hikes, post-Covid chaos and Ukraine and the possible threat of World War 3 are important matters, not Boris’s parties.

    Let the guy get on with doing his job. Criticism without feasible alternatives is nothing more than hot air. Angela Richardson doesn’t have to explain what she would do as Prime Minister, because there’s no chance of that ever happening.

    • David Roberts Reply

      June 2, 2022 at 7:45 pm

      Mr Southgate appears to be high on the toxic cocktail of nostalgia and paranoia rammed down our throats by Boris Johnson’s style of politics.

      Traditional Tories know that it’s now time for Britain to “move on” – not, as the prime minister wants, by forgetting everything that’s gone wrong, but by replacing him and his populist Little-England nationalism with a political package that will appeal to moderate, mainstream voters.

      Like it or not, most people are not extreme right-wingers.

      • John Perkins Reply

        June 5, 2022 at 12:26 pm

        It’s not easy to reconcile Prime Minister Johnson ramming his politics down our throats with the most serious allegation against him – that he is a populist who wants to be liked by all.

        Whilst it is obviously true that “most people are not extreme right-wingers”, the suggestion that they respond to populist nationalism surely implies that they are, making it somewhat contradictory.

  7. Russell Morris Reply

    June 1, 2022 at 9:35 am

    Of course we could cease debate about “Partygate”. But then accusing Putin of withholding the truth from Russian citizens would be hypocritical.

    Best, if we want to exercise international influence, to do it from the highest possible moral ground.

  8. Aubrey Leahy Reply

    June 2, 2022 at 8:56 am

    A masterful piece of hyperbolic, responsibility-avoiding, political piffle.

    Angela Richardson says that had the Gray report been about she would have resigned. But then she point blank refuses to say if she has written, or will write, let alone sent, a letter of no confidence.

    The letter from Mark Stamp (above) says it all.

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