Andrew Mitchell, the Conservative MP for Sutton Coldfield, announced in Parliament that he was withdrawing his support for Boris Johnson in Parliament yesterday (Monday, January 31).
He spoke out as Sue Gray’s report into alleged parties and Covid rule breaking at Downing Street was published.
He was a guest on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning where he elaborated further on his decision to decline to support the Prime Minister.
During his interview he accused Mr Johnson of running the government like a ‘medieval court.
Here is what Mr Mitchell said:
‘This is like battery acid’
“One of the most interesting things that the Prime Minister said yesterday is that we must look at ourselves in the mirror and the truth is, of course, is that it is he that should look at himself in the mirror.
“Boris has done a fantastic job for the country on getting us through what was effectively a national nervous breakdown over breakfast.
“He achieved what he set out to do. He got us through that and we should all be immensely grateful to him.
“But the problem is, that this crisis that we are now in with the parties and the erosion of public trust in the Prime Minister and in the Conservative Party is not going to go away.
“These sort of things never happened, and would never happen under Mrs Thatcher.
“Could you imagine it happening under Mrs May?
“It’s slightly unattractive to slough off responsibility onto the officials.
“It’s not going to go away.
“We have Ukraine, we have Afghanistan - major crises on our doorsteps and this is like battery acid. It is eroding the fabric of the Conservative Party.
‘This is a crisis that is not going to go away’
“I thought it right that I told him what I thought, rather than saying it behind his back. I do think he needs to think very carefully now whether or not remaining is the right thing for our country.
“Whether it’s the right thing for the Conservative Party.
“And actually whether it’s going to bring him success and happiness.
“Because I think this is a crisis that is not going to go away and it’s doing very great damage to the party and it’s more corrosive in my judgement than the expenses scandal.
“And it will break the coalition that is the Conservative party.
“On the one hand rebels that Boris so brilliantly added to our mix in the last election and also that coalition that David Cameron added in 2015 - giving the Conservative Party it’s first majority for 23 years.
“That coalition could well be broken by this.
‘There is never a good time to change the leader’
“There’s never a good time to change the leader. And if it is to be done, then it’s best done quickly in my view.
“Remember, Mrs Thatcher departed and John Major took over while our troops were about to go into action in the Gulf. In the Second World War, Neville Chamberlain gave way to Churchill.
“The issue to my colleagues, I submit is for all of us to work out what is best for the country and the best interest of the Conservative Party.
“I think there’s an awful lot going on beneath the surface.
‘Boris is running a modern government like a medieval court’
”The problem is this. Boris is running a modern government like a medieval court. You need to rule and govern through the structures, through Whitehall through the Cabinet, through the National Security Council.
“That’s not the way with Boris. And many of us thought that he would govern in the way that he did when he was Mayor of London, through the chairman of the board running a very good team.
“That is not what has happened here. I heard this stuff about a Prime Minister’s department which seems to be like throwing a bit of red meat out.
“It’s entirely the wrong thing to do because that would centralise things at Downing Street. “Whereas what he needs to do is to govern through these structures that I’ve described and make sure he’s got competent people out in the department delivering on the agenda of the British people.”
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