February 1, 2022 10.38 am This story is over 28 months old

Media “flogging a dead horse” by pushing government on Sue Gray report, says Lincoln MP

“The media have been hounding him [Boris Johnson] since way before Christmas”

By Local Democracy Reporter

MP for Lincoln Karl McCartney has said that he still backs Boris Johnson as Prime Minister despite Sue Gray’s report into government lockdown parties finding “failures of leadership”.

The Lincoln Member of Parliament spoke to BBC Radio Lincolnshire on Tuesday morning to discuss the fallout after Sue Gray’s report was published on Monday afternoon.

The inquiry into lockdown socialising inside government points to “failures of leadership and judgement” as well as excessive drinking at work, noting 16 events that took place between May 2020 and April 2021.

Twelve of the 16 events that fell within her report’s remit will now be passed on to the Metropolitan Police for their own investigations, and it has been reported that over 300 photographs from these events have been sent to the force.

There are increasing calls for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign after the initial findings of the report, followed by his addressing of the House of Commons on Monday which turned explosive, as many backbenchers called for the PM to walk.

However, Lincoln’s MP Karl McCartney is unwavering in his support for Mr Johnson, saying he “certainly” still backs the Prime Minister and the Conservative government as a whole to “get on with the job”.

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney. | Photo: Daniel Jaines

Discussing Sue Gray’s report, Mr McCartney said: “Unfortunately that report has been usurped by the Metropolitan Police, who are now stepping into the fray. We now have to wait even more time before we get to the bottom of those events that did or didn’t take place and who or who didn’t attend them.”

Karl McCartney added that “not even 5%” of the constituents he has been out to speak to have raised the potential lockdown breaches within parliament as an issue, and he blames the media for “flogging a dead horse”.

“I go out canvassing with our team of candidates for local elections and it’s not brought up on doorsteps, the people out there want us, the Conservative government, to get on with the job, and that’s what Boris Johnson is doing.

“It’s great that the media have found something to talk about, they’re flogging a dead horse now and have been for some months.

“Not even 5% are raising it as an issue, because they’ve got lots of other things to worry about, such as fuel prices and the cost of living; they want to see levelling up done.

“You in the media have been hounding him since way before Christmas. I’m surprised the media hasn’t come up with a list of MPs and ministers who were at these events, because it must be a pretty extensive list.”

The Prime Minister had to apologise for attending a garden party at 10 Downing Street at the height of lockdown. | Photo via Guardian

Mr McCartney also said that “leadership” comes from many elements of government, and not just the Prime Minister, claiming that the report didn’t refer directly to Boris Johnson.

He said: “Did Sue Gray say the leadership was the Prime Minister? Ultimately he is at the top of the tree, but there are people in Number 10, Whitehall and the Cabinet Office who you would class as leaders who maybe should have shown some leadership.

“The Prime Minister is standing up and has apologised for what happened under his premiership, but if you’re not even there when something occurs how are you supposed to know about it?”

It is the second time in recent weeks that Mr McCartney has gone on record to voice his support to the Prime Minister, having previously backed Boris Johnson after the initial leak of the “bring your own booze” party invite email.

The Lincolnite has contacted all Lincolnshire MPs for a comment on the findings of the report, asking them whether the Prime Minister still has their backing.