Boris Johnson is “no longer fit” to be in Downing Street, a Greater Manchester Tory smoked as MPs debated whether to refer the Prime Minister to a misconduct investigation over his Partygate fine.
In a blistering Commons speech, Hazel Grove MP William Wragg said he could not reconcile himself to “the PM’s continued leadership of our country and the Conservative Party.”
It came as MPs debated whether a Commons committee should look into allegations that Mr Johnson misled the House with his repeated denials about Downing Street parties during the coronavirus lockdown.
Readmore: Bin strikes set to go ahead in Manchester as workers vote for industrial action
Mr Johnson’s aides are braced for him to receive multiple purposes, having already been handed one fixed-penalty notice for the gathering on his 56th birthday. He is thought to have been at six of the 12 events under investigation by Scotland Yard.
The motion being voted on suggests that comments “including but not limited to” four separate remarks in the Commons “appear to amount to misleading the House”. Tory MPs had initially been ordered to back a Government amendment which would defer any decision on referring the matter to the committee until after the conclusion of the Met Police inquiry.
But in a late U-turn shortly before the debate began, Commons Leader Mark Spencer said there would be a free vote for Tory MPs.
Mr Wragg made that he would be voting to refer Mr Johnson to the privileges committee, he said: “I cannot reconcile myself to the Prime Minister’s continued leadership of our country and the Conservative Party. I submitted my letter of no confidence to the chairman of the 1922 committee in December of last year.”
Mr Wragg told MPs that a turning point for him was the decision to bring forward Covid Plan B measures to “distract” from the furore over Partygate. He said: “I therefore thought to myself if a Government was prepared to bring such measures forward earlier, in order to distract from its own embarrassment, that the Prime Minister was no longer fit to govern.”
What do you make of your comments? Have your say in our section below.
Mr Wragg also noted how MPs were struggling and have been working in a “toxic atmosphere” due to having to defend the Prime Minister.
He said: “I care deeply about my colleagues. I know that a number are struggling at the moment. We have been working in a toxic atmosphere. The parliamentary party bears the scars of misjudgments of leadership.
“There can be few colleagues on this side of the House I would contend who are truly enjoying being Members of Parliament at the moment. It is utterly depressing to be asked to defend the indefensible. Each time part of us withers.”
Mr Wragg added that he had questioned his place in the Conservative Party “in recent months”, but said he was “not going anywhere” and encouraged voters to stick with the Tories in the local elections.
Click here for the latest headlines from the Manchester Evening News