April 14, 2022 7.30 pm This story is over 25 months old

‘Don’t give Putin the satisfaction’: Lincolnshire MPs back PM despite lockdown partygate

General consensus of Ukraine conflict being more important

By Local Democracy Reporter

Lincolnshire’s MPs seem to share the same belief that Boris Johnson must stay on as Prime Minister because of the ongoing situation in Ukraine, despite being fined by police for his role in a lockdown breaching Downing Street party.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing intense pressure after it was revealed that the Metropolitan Police issued a Fixed Penalty Notice to himself and Chancellor Rishi Sunak, in relation to a party at Downing Street in June 2020, during the height of COVID-19 lockdown.

The PM issued a full apology and stated that he “immediately” paid the fine, while also suggesting that it “did not occur” to him that he was breaching any of the rules that his government set during the pandemic.

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

Calls for resignation are increasing by the day, with Conservative MP for Amber Valley, Nigel Mills, becoming the first member of Boris Johnson’s government to publicly state he should resign.

As well as this, Lord David Wolfson handed in his resignation as a justice minister on Wednesday, saying he can no longer serve in a government that shows disregard for the rule of law.

Despite the public’s general feeling of betrayal from those in power, a number of Lincolnshire’s MPs remain unwavering in their support for the Prime Minister – citing similar reasons of dealing with Vladimir Putin, addressing the cost of living crisis and allowing Johnson to deliver his manifesto for why he should stay in the job.

Sir Edward Leigh. | Photo: The Lincolnite

Gainsborough Member of Parliament Sir Edward Leigh was again vocal in his backing of the Mr Johnson, saying: “The Prime Minister continues to enjoy my full confidence.

“In the middle of the worst crisis in Europe since the Second World War, it would be madness to give Putin the satisfaction of our Prime Minister being removed.”

Martin Vickers, MP for Cleethorpes, echoed these thoughts and also said that many of the British public voted for the Conservatives in 2019 because of Boris Johnson, stating that voters should be allowed to pass judgement “when the time comes”.

Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Mr Vickers told The Lincolnite: “At the moment, information is limited. We know that the Prime Minister and Chancellor have received fines for a specific event. However, the police investigation continues and we have not yet heard from Sue Gray in full.

“As such, it is too early to pass judgment. I will be waiting for the conclusion of the police investigation and the complete version of the Gray Report before commenting further.

“It is very easy to call for the resignation of the PM without fully thinking through what is in the best interests of the country.”

The Cleethorpes MP added that while he understands the frustration, he would like the public to “keep a proper perspective” given the current state of affairs across the world, and went as far as to say he’s unaware of any evidence that the PM “knowingly misled or lied” in the House of Commons.

“Of course I recognise the distress and heartache of those who have lost loved ones or who were separated for many months but a vacuum at the centre of Government is never a good thing, even more so whilst we are dealing with a European war, where Boris Johnson’s efforts have been pivotal, cost of living issues where there is clearly the need for strong government support and the continuing Covid pandemic.

“I have seen no evidence that the Prime Minister knowingly misled or lied to parliament, he was clear in the Commons when he said that he had been assured that no rules were broken.

“Clearly there have been errors of judgement and events took place that most certainly should not have, but we must keep a proper perspective.

“Many of the votes cast at the last election were personal ones for Boris Johnson so it is best that when the times comes it will be for the voters to pass judgement and that is as it should be.”

Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman.

Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman said: “I wholly understand the anger that my constituents feel with regards to the gatherings in Downing Street at the beginning of the pandemic, particularly after the news of Fixed Penalty Notices being served yesterday.

“I welcome the fact the Prime Minister has apologised, paid the fine and is committed to focusing on delivering the manifesto on which he was elected. It’s also important to note that a number of constituents have contacted me who agree with this.”

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

Lincoln’s MP Karl McCartney had already gone on record on Wednesday to support Boris Johnson, issuing a statement in which he aimed his disappointment at “those who actually arranged the event” rather than the PM himself.

He also accused leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer of hypocrisy for calling for Mr Johnson’s resignation, saying he “has no sense of the gravity of this situation… regardless of what he himself got up to in Durham around the same time.”

Once again, there were a number of Greater Lincolnshire MPs who ignored The Lincolnite’s request for comment and an explanation to their constituents. Those were:

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