Coalville MP calls for Boris Johnson to stand down in letter of no confidence - saying the PM has 'no moral compass'

  Posted: 14.01.22 at 06:39 by Coalville Nub News

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Coalville MP Andrew Bridgen has submitted a letter of no-confidence in Prime Minister Boris Johnson and urged him to leave office within the next three months.

Mr Bridgen has become the fifth Tory MP to call for Johnson to quit over a series of gatherings - labelled 'Partygate' - which are said to have broken Covid rules during 2020.

The MP for North West Leicestershire, backed Mr Johnson to be party leader in June 2019.

Three years earlier, Mr Johnson came to Ashby to lend his support to Mr Bridgen's 'Leave' campaign ahead of the 2016 referendum.

Accusing there of being a ‘moral vacuum at the heart of Government’, Mr Bridgen has joined Douglas Ross, Sir Roger Gale, William Wragg and Caroline Nokes in calling for Mr Johnson to resign over his handling of the lockdown party scandal.

It is understood that up to 30 letters of no-confidence have been submitted to Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee of Tory MPs.

The Prime Minister visited Castle Rock School in Coalville in 2020

If more than 15 per cent of the party’s MPs submit letters, there has to be a vote on the leadership.

Mr Bridgen made his views known in the Telegraph and said: "Sadly, the Prime Minister's position has become untenable.

"Leadership is not just about the job title, or even making big decisions — it is equally about having a moral compass, of knowing not just right from left but right from wrong.’

"As more and more revelations have been published, and I fear more are yet to come out, it is clear that not only were rules broken in Downing Street, but that the initial response was to stretch the truth about them being broken too.

"Claims by the Prime Minister that he did not know that he was attending a party seem at best misguided and at worst cynical.

Boris Johnson joined Mr Bridgen's Leave campaign trail in Ashby in 2016

"So today I'm calling on the Prime Minister to stand down — there is time yet to do the right thing."

It is a far cry from two years ago when Mr Bridgen thanked the Prime Minister for his support over Brexit.

He said at the time: “I remember hearing the news that Boris Johnson had decided to back and campaign for Leave and my heart leaped. I remember thinking for the first time that we were in with a chance and could win this.

“On eve of poll, Boris visited me and my team in Ashby de la Zouch and, on a hot mic, I told him that Leave were going to win the referendum, although he didn’t seem that confident.

“On a walk around Market Street with all the camera crews, he brought the town to a standstill, even the bus driver stopped and shouted “Boris for Prime Minster”. He had to wait a while, but the electorate are always right.”

Mr Bridgen's column for the Telegraph is reproduced in full here:

In the summer of 2016, on the eve of the Brexit referendum, I was privileged to welcome Boris Johnson to campaign with me for Leave in the market town of Ashby de la Zouch in my north-west Leicestershire constituency.

Boris has a character that few others possess. He is charismatic and even far away from his London base ordinary folk were queuing up for selfies or vying to catch a word and shake his hand.

Boris played an instrumental role in delivering the Leave vote and it was clear that when we needed to fulfil the democratic demand of the British people he was the man to deliver it.

As Parliament hamstrung itself time and time again trying to scheme against Brexit, Boris was a breath of fresh air, determined to deliver on his big promise, even if that meant bending the rules slightly from time to time.

I’m very proud to have supported Boris for Prime Minister and I’m very grateful that he did deliver on that promise to leave the EU, and that he delivered a world-beating vaccine rollout. Only this week, I have been urging him to ensure that Britain is the first country in the northern hemisphere to leave the pandemic and its restrictions behind.

Boris once wrote an acclaimed biography of Sir Winston Churchill. Some commentators believe that he sees parallels between that great wartime leader and himself. Both were eligible for US citizenship, both were journalists before becoming politicians and, no doubt, both had exhibited an extraordinary gift for language.

But Sir Winston and Boris’ most important parallel has been as leaders in times of great peril. Whether it was the threat of Nazi Germany or the twin challenges of breaking a national stalemate and protecting us through a global pandemic we have been immeasurably stronger with them at the helm than without.

But winning the war is not the same as winning the peace. Those misdemeanours that to an extent can be excused at times when results are the only thing that matters become far more important as we return to normal.

The clue is in the word leader; to lead is to set an example for others to follow. It is to completely understand that you will not ask members of the public to take on privations that you are not willing to abide by yourself. It is, unequivocally, a case of leading by example.

It has hurt this week to hear that the leader of our great Conservative Party has not been prepared to lead in such a way. Claims by the Prime Minister that he did not know that he was attending a party seem at best misguided and at worst cynical.

But it isn’t the hurt caused to me or my fellow Conservative MPs that is important, but rather the hurt caused to all those families who went without, whose loved ones died alone, whose funerals went unattended and whose livelihoods were lost that Mr Johnson has truly failed.

Sadly, the Prime Minister’s position has become untenable.

Leadership is not just about the job title, or even making big decisions; it is equally about having a moral compass. Of knowing not just right from left but right from wrong.

As more and more revelations have been published and I fear more are yet to come out, it is clear that not only were rules broken in Downing Street, but that the initial response was to stretch the truth about them being broken too.

There is an old saying in politics that it is the lie that gets you in the end, but that does not apply here. Whilst the lie is easily bad enough to make a reasonable person question the Prime Minister’s position, the truth is at least as bad. There is currently a moral vacuum at the heart of our government.

So today I’m calling on the Prime Minister to stand down, there is time yet to do the right thing. In years to come, Boris will be remembered as delivering Brexit and guiding us through a pandemic. His legacy shouldn’t become one mired in sleaze but rather one of knowing when the time is right to leave the stage. If Boris truly loves our country, our democracy and our party he should go now with some semblance of grace.

I and many others will always be grateful for what Boris has achieved and his legacy should be cemented by a dignified exit from politics, which would allow him to retain a place in the affection of a grateful nation.

With a heavy heart I have to inform you that I have submitted my letter of no confidence to Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee.

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