WEST Dorset MP Chris Loder said he is “deeply embarrassed” by revelations of Downing Street parties being held during the coronavirus pandemic, and says he wants to restore “decency, honour and trust” in the government.
National headlines have been dominated by revelations of several parties being held at Number 10, contravening COVID-19 restrictions, with an increasing number of MPs, including several Conservatives, calling for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign.
Mr Johnson apologised in the House of Commons last week, admitting he had attended one event at Downing Street which he considered to be a “work event”.
An investigation into the alleged parties is now being led by senior civil servant Sue Gray.
Mr Loder has not gone as far as to call for the PM’s resignation, instead saying he wants to see him succeed, but in a column published in The Telegraph he accepted that Boris’ apology “was not enough”.
The West Dorset MP has issued the following statement: “With revelations concerning Downing Street parties over the last two years at its height, I’d like you to know that I and most of my colleagues feel deeply embarrassed and humiliated by such revelations.
“And whilst we might not be plastered all over the television saying such things, the government knows how I and many of you feel about this, having been to see the Prime Minister personally, just before Christmas to tell him directly.
“There are two things that stand out. Firstly, that whilst we were at home respecting the rules, it is becoming clearer and clearer that this was not the case in Number 10. What irks so much about this is that I know the pain and trauma so many of us went through because they could not be with their family members during this horrible time.
“I myself had to stay in London for Christmas 2020 because of these restrictions and know only too well that sadness. And that was even worse for those who died on their own or were not able to attend a funeral.
“Secondly, the law doesn’t stop at the garden wall of Number 10 and if some of these advisors didn’t think these rules were needed, we should not have had them imposed, but the reality is that they were required and should have been adhered to.
“I know you put your trust in me as your MP and, by default, the Prime Minister as well. I know that, regardless of political view, the most important thing is to be able to trust the person who holds the highest elected office in the land.
“I am fully understanding of that and I want to re-assure you that I shall continue to ensure that decency and honour are integral at the heart of our government.
“With no fewer than seven events in the spotlight at the moment, I’m not convinced that the evolving narrative from the Prime Minister, most recently in the House of Commons yesterday is acceptable.
“The investigation taking place will bring the facts to light and I will expect to see it in the House of Commons shortly.”
In his column in The Telegraph, Mr Loder said he received more than 100 emails from constituents regarding ‘partygate’ in just one evening.
He wrote: “The backbenches have broadly three groups at the moment. Those who are joyous of these developments because they’ve hated Boris for a long time. Those who are absolute die-hard supporters, whatever development is uncovered. And those of us, including me, who was Boris to be successful, who believe in him, but are saddened and embarrassed by these continual revelations – and are coming to the realisation that this situation is now badly affecting the Conservative Party’s prospects of achieving our full potential – on top of what has been a stonking record of success so far with delivering Brexit, levelling up and the vaccination programme.
“Making rash decisions and assumptions without having the full facts to have, even thought there’s a media storm, is not my style.
“I am clear that the apology made by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons last week was not enough. I have told my government whip on Friday that an investigation with no timeline is not on and we want the ‘Grey Report’ for scrutiny in the House of Commons urgently.
“But my mission, and that of my colleagues, is now to make sure decency and honour and trust are restored at the heart of our government. That is why, once this report is available, we will consider the full facts and actions needed.”