Partygate: Why West Midlands Conservative MPs back Boris Johnson

MPs across the West Midlands have been contacted to give their views on whether Boris Johnson should keep his job as Prime Minister

Conservative MP’s across the West Midlands say they support the prime minister’s leadership, after Boris Johnson was fined for attending a birthday party thrown for him during a coronavirus lockdown.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) contacted every Conservative MP in the West Midlands to ask whether they would be intending to send a letter of no confidence into the 1922 committee.

Sign up to our BirminghamWorld Today newsletter

At time of writing, out of the 43 Conservative MP’s who represent the West Midlands, only seven MP’s have made public statements.

What is the 1922 group?

The 1922 group is comprised of backbench MPs, not those in cabinet, who assess, organise and ballot on leadership challenges. Its power can be huge, which Boris Johnson knows, after he took MPs out to dinner to sway their vote.

This power was displayed when the committee brought a motion of no confidence against Theresa May in December 2018. The then prime minister narrowly survived the Commons vote but resigned four months later.

Boris Johnson

What have the MPs said?

Harriett Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire,  and chair of the coronavirus recovery group, said she was ‘shocked’ at the actions of the prime minister but would not be submitting a letter of no confidence.

“Naturally I am shocked and disappointed that the Metropolitan police have found that both the prime minister and the chancellor behaved in such a way in their workplace that they have attracted a criminal sanction.

“So many of us made huge sacrifices during periods of lockdown and I have heard many, many stories of local people who missed out on birthdays, marriages, deaths and funerals because they were following the rules. My thoughts remain with every person who lost a loved one or friends in this terrible chapter of our history.

“As a vice chair of the coronavirus recovery group I hope this will deter any future government from putting in place rules which are so difficult to follow for themselves and for us all.

“While I do not intend to write a letter to Sir Graham Brady MP, as I believe the Government is showing strong and unified leadership over Ukraine, I am proud to live in a democratic country where our politicians face frequent and rigorous judgment from voters at the ballot box.”

A letter calling for the resignation of Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak.

A spokesperson for Aaron Bell MP, for Newcastle-under-Lyme, said his stance had not changed, after he asked Boris Johnson in January if he thought he was ‘a fool’ for following coronavirus rules at his grandmother’s funeral in 2020.

James Morris, MP for Halesowen and Rowley Regis, said: “The PM was right to apologise for what happened and to accept the police’s decision.  He has also accepted all of the recommendations of the previously published Sue Gray report and implemented big changes to the operation and culture of No 10 Downing Street.

“The PM has my support in getting on with the job of dealing with the big challenges we face domestically and on the international stage.”

Nigel Huddleston MP for Mid Worcestershire, said: “Many people made extraordinary sacrifices during the pandemic and are understandably angry about this matter. The prime minister and chancellor have both made sincere apologies – which I accept.

“They have my support because I know that they, and the whole government, are committed to delivering on the priorities of the British people including dealing with the situation in Ukraine, the recovery from the pandemic, and the cost of living.”

MP Michael Fabricant apologised for remark. Picture: Getty

Two MPs have given their statements on Twitter.

Shaun Bailey, MP for West Bromwich West, said the prime minister needs to ‘get on with the job’.

Michael Fabricant, MP for Lichfield, said he ‘genuinely believed’, Boris Johnson’s thoughts that he was not breaking the law.

“This was not a case of ‘do as I say, while I will do what I like’.  On the occasion he had drinks at the end of a tough day, he believed it was within the work bubble so there was no risk of Covid transmission – these were the same people he had been working with closely all day.”

But the MP had caused uproar last night after suggesting he knew of nurses and teachers who went for ‘a quiet drink’ after shifts during the pandemic.

Some MPs gave the LDRS short statements. Jonathan Gullis MP for Stoke-on-Trent North said: “The Prime Minister has my support”, while Mike Wood MP for Dudley South said: ” I do not intend to submit a letter of no confidence.”

Jo Gideon, MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, said: “Like everyone, I followed the rules and made sacrifices. Any rule-breaking during this time of national emergency does not have my support.

“At the moment all efforts are on the unfolding and escalating war in Ukraine. However, I would like to see the prime minister and chancellor express their sincere regret to the public and the party as soon as possible.”

A message from the editor:

Thank you for reading. BirminghamWorld is Birmingham’s latest news website, championing everything that is great about our city - reporting on news, lifestyle and sport. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.