‘It’s because he took us out of EU!’ Labour baroness says Brexit bashing behind Boris coup
Boris Johnson criticism linked to Brexit claims Kate Hoey
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Baroness Hoey has robustly defended Boris Johnson in the House of Lords in the midst of the Partygate storm threatening to sweep the Prime Minister out of Number 10. The Brexit supporting peer took a firm stand against the lockdown breaching parties in Whitehall and the behaviour of the Prime Minister himself, but also delivered a clear slap down on critics of the Prime Minister who she believed held a grudge over Mr Johnson’s leading role in Brexit.
Ms Hoey told the House of Lords: “The public were clearly very, very angry when they first heard about what had been going on in Whitehall.
“Now we’ve had to Sue Gray report and I commend her diligence, we’ve had the full apology from the Prime Minister, we’ve had the Metropolitan Police Report, and we’ve seen changes in Downing Street.
“I think outside this place and perhaps some elements for the media, many, many elements of the public, probably the majority of the public not really do want to draw a line under all of this so that we can get on with the issues that are really affecting the country.”
She then turned to the Government Minister and asked: “Does she agree with me that there will be some people who will never ever give up criticising the Prime Minister because they don’t like the fact that the Prime Minister took us out of the European Union, and that is still underplaying a huge amount of now, particularly in some elements of the media?”
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Mr Johnson’s hopes of drawing a line under the partygate row suffered a blow on Thursday after a string of Tory MPs called for him to quit in the wake of Sue Gray’s report.
Four Tories have gone public since the publication of the damning report which laid bare the extent of raucous behaviour in No 10 at a time when millions were forced to cut off contact with loved ones during coronavirus lockdowns.
Former minister Stephen Hammond and fellow MPs David Simmonds and John Baron spoke out on Thursday, following Julian Sturdy who demanded Mr Johnson’s exit on Wednesday.
Mr Hammond said he “cannot and will not defend the indefensible” and indicated he had sent a letter of no confidence to the Tory backbench 1922 Committee.
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Ms Gray’s report detailed events at which officials sang karaoke, drank so much they were sick, became involved in altercations and abused security and cleaning staff.
Under Conservative Party rules, there must be a vote on the Prime Minister’s future if 54 MPs write to the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, saying they have lost confidence in their leader.
A total of 20 Tory MPs have so far publicly called for his resignation, with many critics of Mr Johnson holding back due to the war in Ukraine.
Sir Graham keeps the number of letters he has received a closely guarded secret, so it could be higher than the public declarations of discontent.
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Mr Simmonds, the MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner – his constituency is next to Mr Johnson’s – said: “It is clear that while the Government and our policies enjoy the confidence of the public, the Prime Minister does not.
“Accordingly, it is time for him to step down so that new leadership can take forward the important work of the Government in ensuring that our people and country prosper.”
The publication of Ms Gray’s report followed the conclusion of the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Hillman investigation into parties in No 10 and Whitehall.
The force handed out 126 fines for rule breaches in No 10 and Whitehall, with the Prime Minister receiving a single fixed-penalty notice for his birthday party in June 2020.
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