Biddulph MP Karen Bradley has said she would resign if she was in prime minister Boris Johnson’s place – but stopped short of calling on the PM to resign himself.
The Moorlands MP said the law-breaking in Downing Street was “unforgivable” as she spoke out about the prime minister and chancellor breaching coronavirus lockdown rules, (writes local democracy reporter Richard Price).
Mr Johnson became the first prime minister in the UK’s history to be penalised for breaking the law after being handed a fine for attending a party two years ago while the rest of the country suffered under hard lockdown. Mr Johnson has previously denied knowing about any parties or attending any.
The Metropolitan Police was called in to investigate what’s become known as the Partygate scandal after several politicians were thought to have attended parties that took place on official grounds between 2020 and 2021.
Police officials found that Mr Johnson, his wife Carrie and chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak breached covid-19 restrictions when they attend an illegal gathering on 19th June 2020 at 10, Downing Street.
Mr Johnson said “it did not occur” to him that he was in breach of the rules he wrote.
Now Mrs Bradley has said that if she was in his position, she would resign.
The MP said: “My constituents know that I have been clear that those that make the rules must not break them, whether intentionally or otherwise.
“The public is right to expect the highest standards of behaviour from their leaders.”
She added: “I am proud of the British values of democracy, individual liberty, mutual respect, tolerance and the rule of law and have been privileged to promote those values around the world as an MP and during my time as a government minister.
“But we will lose the right to promote those values if we do not uphold them ourselves.
“There is still much that we do not know about what happened in Downing Street during the pandemic and I urge the Government to provide all information as soon as possible so that fair judgements can be made.”
She said she felt the law-breaking in Downing Street was “unforgivable” but that context of the war in Ukraine had tempered her views on how best to deal with the situation.
She explained: “While law breaking in Downing Street is unforgivable, I am very aware that Europe is in a precarious position and that we all need to act responsibly so as to not make the situation worse.”
Ms Bradley said: “I will spend the next few days consulting my constituents and will decide on what action to take after listening to them.”
She stopped short of calling for the prime minister to go but said: “I wish to make it clear that if I had been a minister found to have broken the laws that I passed, I would be tendering my resignation now.”