Statement released 9am Wednesday 6 July
I voted for Boris Johnson to become leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister. Looking back over the past three years there is much he’s got right. It’s hard to think of a Prime Minister who has had more on his plate to deal with on a daily basis. Sadly, I have come to the conclusion, like a large number of my colleagues, that it’s in the best interests of my constituents, the country and the Conservative Party for the Prime Minister to step down. A continuation of the status quo cannot continue and, regretfully, I believe that the Prime Minister’s tenure in office has run its course.
The Prime Minister broke the Brexit impasse that was so debilitating for the country and our democracy. He defeated Corbyn who posed a huge threat to our country and our values. He was at the heart of a hugely successful vaccine roll out and has provided effective leadership on the global stage throughout the war in Ukraine. Ultimately these are the reasons why up until now I’ve continued to support the Prime Minister.
The period since the autumn and the Owen Paterson affair has been an incredibly rough ride. Partygate has caused great anger for many of my constituents and I myself have been deeply uncomfortable with elements of it and its handling. Despite all of this, though, I looked at other major issues where the Prime Minister was getting it right and, with war in Europe and a huge cost of living challenge posed by global inflationary pressures, I didn’t think now was the time for a leadership election and the associated disruption that would bring.
However, events of the past week have been the straw that has broken the camel’s back. In a sense one of the worst things about the revelations at the Carlton Club last week was how unsurprising they were to many colleagues. I personally find it hard to believe that the Prime Minister wasn’t aware of the extent of concerns about the former Deputy Chief whip. I strongly believe that the situation which occurred last week could have been avoided and I also think that the handling of it subsequently was deeply disappointing.
I do not regret voting for Boris Johnson to become Prime Minister. And I do not regret giving him some space to try and turn things around and regain the trust of both the public and the Parliamentary Conservative Party. Sadly however, this opportunity has not been taken and I foresee things descending to new depths and I do not think that under the Prime Minister’s leadership it will be possible to unite the Conservative Parliamentary Party and give us the best chance possible of winning the next General Election.
On the key issues, I believe that the Conservative Party continue to be on the right side of the argument and the Labour Party the wrong side. The Government has many great achievements to its name and many extremely competent Ministers. However, under the Prime Minister’s leadership it is becoming increasingly difficult for both the Government and us as Parliamentarians to focus on these key issues and achieve our full potential in delivering for the British people.
There is no good in blaming sections of the media for the situation we find ourselves in. They’ve been given the ammunition time and time again.
The great risk as I can see it is that the status quo rumbles on, more division is created in our Party and we end up with a Labour Government propped up by the Lib Dems and the SNP.
Unsurprisingly therefore I have today submitted a letter of non confidence in the Prime Minister.