February 1, 2022 5.06 pm This story is over 28 months old

Lincolnshire MPs voice their backing of Boris Johnson after Sue Gray report

“The more you try and control people’s lives the more hypocrisy you will create”

By Local Democracy Reporter

Lincolnshire’s MPs appear to be unwavering in their support of the Prime Minister, despite the damning findings of Sue Gray’s report into lockdown gatherings within parliament.

Downing Street has been under the spotlight for the wrong reasons in recent months, after numerous reports of parties and gatherings within the government while the country was observing national lockdown restrictions.

It prompted an inquiry into the events, conducted by civil servant Sue Gray, who pointed to “failures of leadership and judgement” in her report, published on Monday afternoon.

A total of 16 events between May 2020 and April 2021 were noted in the report, along with concerns of excessive drinking at the workplace.

Twelve of these events will now be passed on to the Metropolitan Police for their own investigations, and with police involvement it is just adding more pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign.

Following an explosive discussion in the House of Commons on Monday, Conservative MP for Waveney Peter Aldous handed in a letter of no confidence to the Prime Minister after “a great deal of soul-searching”.

Lincoln’s Member of Parliament, Karl McCartney. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Earlier on Tuesday, Lincoln MP Karl McCartney gave an interview to BBC Radio Lincolnshire, in which he accused the media of “flogging a dead horse” by reporting on the government breaking their own lockdown rules, which is currently under investigation by the Metropolitan Police.

Mr McCartney also again voiced his support for the Prime Minister, saying he “certainly” backs Mr Johnson and the Tory government to “get on with the job”.

Boston and Skegness MP, Matt Warman. | Picture: Daniel Jaines.

Matt Warman, MP for Boston and Skegness, has said he welcomes the changes that will be implemented following Sue Gray’s report, but also still backs the Prime Minister “get on with delivering on the people’s priorities”.

He told The Lincolnite: “People have lost loved ones and made significant sacrifices for others over the course of the pandemic – the report published by Sue Gray yesterday has set out that serious errors of judgement were made by Downing Street while others were doing the right thing.

“I was pleased to see that the Prime Minister has accepted the report’s recommendations which will provide clearer lines of command and improve workplace discipline.

“Nonetheless, I know real public anger remains – I welcome the Prime Minister’s heartfelt, sincere apology and look forward to the government doing what it was elected to do and getting on with delivering on the people’s priorities.”

Gainsborough MP Sir Edward Leigh.

As for Edward Leigh, Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, he acknowledged there “should not have been any social gatherings” but has also accepted the PM’s apology.

He said: “Given the grave problems facing us nationally and internationally, I don’t think there is anything to be gained by replacing the Prime Minister at the present time, nor do I think it is a proportionate response to events that took place in the Prime Minister’s house with his own colleagues.

“I do, however, share the deep sense of disappointment in the failure of leadership which has taken place.

“My view has always been that we should have taken a more measured approach to controlling the virus, focussing on supporting the vulnerable rather than heavy-handed lockdowns and regulations.

“As I said in the debate on Plan B in December, the more and more you try and control people’s lives the more hypocrisy you will create.”

However, Mr Warman, Mr Leigh and Mr McCartney are the only MPs of the eleven in Greater Lincolnshire to respond to The Lincolnite‘s request for comment.

The eight that did not reply are:

  • Victoria Atkins – Louth & Horncastle
  • Gareth Davies – Grantham & Stamford
  • John Hayes – South Holland & The Deepings
  • Caroline Johnson – Sleaford & North Hykeham
  • Holly Mumby-Croft – Scunthorpe
  • Lia Nici – Great Grimsby
  • Andrew Percy – Brigg & Goole
  • Martin Vickers – Cleethorpes

However, in a statement to the Local Democracy Reporters, Scunthorpe MP Holly Mumby-Croft said: “The report highlighted a number of issues in the organisation of Downing Street, and the Prime Minister committed to making necessary changes. This was the right thing to do, and we need changes sooner rather than later.

“The Metropolitan Police are now conducting an investigation. I know that this will be frustrating to hear, but it is important, especially given the gravity of the situation, that we let the police get on with the job.

“I come from a close family myself and like others I did not see loved ones during the lockdowns. Many made huge personal sacrifices to keep themselves and others safe during the last two years, so I absolutely understand how people feel.

“We must now wait for the police to finish their investigation without interference. But we cannot and should not allow this to absorb all the oxygen in the room. There are many important issues affecting our area that we urgently need to address, and I hope you will agree that it is important that I continue to raise them in Parliament.

“Yesterday I asked the PM to reassure our area that he will not let this regrettable situation be a distraction from the government’s task to deliver on energy costs.

“The high industrial energy prices are both a short- and- long-term issues that are hamstringing our steelworks, and I want to ensure that this campaign continues to be heard.

“This is not to say that I do not understand the absolute hurt and anger felt by so many people when we hear about these events and I want to thank residents who have got in touch to share their experiences with me. We must now wait to hear back from the police inquiry.

“In the meantime, I am clear that we need to carry on working. This is why I used yesterday as an opportunity to remind the Prime Minister to get back to delivering what our steelworks – and Scunthorpe – need.”