January 16, 2022 12.15 pm

Northern Lincolnshire MPs still back Boris Johnson after apology

“Nobody is perfect” used as an excuse

By Local Democracy Reporter

North East Lincolnshire’s MPs have stood by the Prime Minister after he apologised for breaking rules by attending a lockdown party.

Grimsby MP Lia Nici dismissed calls for him to resign, saying ‘nobody is perfect’, and Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers said it was the wrong time to call a leadership contest.

Boris Johnson admitted this week he went to a ‘bring your own booze’ party in the first Covid lockdown.

He has apologised for the decision, saying he believed it was work related but regretted it in hindsight.

Although opposition MPs have called for him to resign, Lia Nici, Martin Vickers and other Tories have stood by him for now.

However, the Cleethorpes MP said the party was ‘irresponsible and reckless’.

“He was certainly right to apologise, and the party in question shouldn’t have taken place,” Mr Vickers said.

“I share the anger and frustration of my constituents at these events and it does appear that lockdown rules were broken. That is irresponsible, reckless and unacceptable and disciplinary action, and possibly prosecutions should follow.

“It begs the question of how it got to the stage of the events taking place. Senior figures should have realised that this was wrong and the event should never have got off the ground.”

Grimsby MP Lia Nici (Conservative)

Grimsby MP Lia Nici also welcomed his apology for breaking the rules.

“I think it’s a positive thing that he has apologised for being outside in that garden on that day in 2020,” she said.

“He clearly wanted to thank staff who have been working hard under under Covid rules. Was it advisable to thank them that way though?

“It certainly would have been safer than inside, but the email from the civil servant telling employees to ‘Bring Your Own Booze’ is concerning.

“People are quite rightly upset about it. Everyone should have been following rules that the public were abiding by.”

A probe into the parties is now being carried out by civil servant Sue Gray.

Neither MP joined the Labour party in calling for Mr Johnson to quit – but said the report should come out quickly.

Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers (Conservative) | Photo: Steve Smailes for Lincolnshire Reporter

Mr Vickers said: “My colleagues and I need to consider what’s in the best interest of the country. A leadership contest would paralyse the country while we’re managing the pandemic and a volatile international situation.

“The last thing we want is a complete vacuum of power at the centre of government for six weeks.

“We should wait for Sue Gray’s report into the parties that is being prepared.”

Mrs Nici said: “Nobody is perfect. The Prime Minister is a good man who wants to do the right thing for the UK and Grimsby.

“We need to focus on where we’re going – not having the national media fixated on today.

“However, as a manager and a leader myself, I can say we need to see the report sooner rather than later. If people have intentionally been breaking the rules then there should be disciplinary action.”

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If the report finds that Johnson broke rules, it could convince Conservative backbenchers to trigger a leadership contest overthrow him.

Mr Johnson said he hadn’t realised he was at a party and “bitterly regrets” that way that it was handled.

Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer said that Mr Johnson’s denials were “so ridiculous it’s actually offensive” to the public at a heated Prime Minister’s Questions.