COUNTY MP Sir Bill Wiggin MP says he continues to support Prime Minister Bois Johnson following last week’s publication of Sue Gray’s Partygate report.
The inquiry was scathing of the drinks and party culture at No 10 during lockdown, when such events were banned nationwide.
And it follows lockdown breach fines for 126 Downing Street insiders as a result of a Metropolitan Police investigation, including the Prime Minister, his wife, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.
Several more Conservative backbench MPs have subsequently called on the PM to resign since last week’s publication of the report.
But unlike Forest of Dean MP Mark Harper, who has told the PM he is “no longer worthy” of the position of national leader, Sir Bill is still standing by him.
The North Herefordshire MP, whose constituency includes his home village of Upton Bishop near Ross-on-Wye, says: “Steps have been taken in Government to address some of the criticisms made in Sue Gray’s report.
“But whichever way you read it, ultimately the Prime Minister has taken full responsibility, paid the fine and apologised.
“It’s down to all of us whether we accept that apology, and some will not. I do accept his apology and he continues to have my support.”
His Hereford and South Herefordshire colleague Jesse Norman was also approached for comment last week, but did not respond.
The Gray report detailed a number of social events in and around 10 Downing Street during the time when Covid restrictions were in place.
It concluded: “Many will be dismayed that behaviour of this kind took place on this scale at the heart of Government.
“Many of these events should not have been allowed to happen.”
Carlisle MP John Stevenson was the latest Tory MP to reveal that he has written a letter of no confidence in Boris Johnson yesterday (Tuesday, May 31).
It means 12 Tory MPs have publicly called on him to resign since the Gray report came out.
Former Cabinet minister Dame Andrea Leadsom has also hit out at the PM’s “unacceptable failures of leadership”, although she has not publicly called on him to resign, with 28 MPs on record as calling for him to go at the last count.
The normally-loyal MP said the report revealed “unacceptable failures of leadership that cannot be tolerated and are the responsibility of the prime minister”.
Fifty four MPs have to submit ‘no confidence’ letters to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs, to trigger a leadership challenge.
Cabinet ministers have come out in support of Mr Johnson’s continued leadership, but former Tory leader William Hague told Times Radio yesterday: “I think the Sue Gray report has been one of those slow fuse explosions in politics.
“The fuse is getting closer to the dynamite here, and it’s speeding up.”
Last month after Mr Johnson was fined, Mr Norman said there were “extenuating circumstances” on the occasion in question, the PM’s birthday, and Mr Johnson was “entitled to the benefit of the doubt”.
Monmouth MP and Welsh Office Minister David Davies could also been seen voicing his support for the PM in the Commons last week, as fellow MP Tobias Ellwood publicly called for him to go.
Forest MP Mr Harper, chief whip under David Cameron, was one of the first backbenchers to call for the PM’s resignation, labelling his actions over partygate ‘indefensible’ more than five weeks ago.
His stunning intervention in a packed House of Commons came after the leader was fined for partying.
And he told the House: “I regret to say that we have a Prime Minister who broke the laws that he told the country they had to follow.
“[He] hasn’t been straightforward about it and is now going to ask the decent men and women on these benches to defend what I think is indefensible.
“I’m very sorry to have to say this, but I no longer think he is worthy of the great office that he holds.”
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