A host of Renfrewshire politicians have joined cross-party calls for the resignation of Downing Street’s “morally bankrupt” top two.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and under-fire Chancellor Rishi Sunak faced renewed criticism after it emerged they, along with the PM’s wife Carrie, were amongst 50 partygoers handed fines by the Metropolitan Police.
Renfrewshire politicians were amongst those who voiced their outrage when it first emerged that a string of parties were held in Downing Street as strict stay-at-home orders were handed down to the rest of the nation.
As relatives were forced to miss funerals and others missed vital visits to hospitals and care homes as loved ones died alone during the pandemic, the news that a string of law-breaking parties were held behind closed doors and attended by Cabinet Ministers.
Johnstone, the first sitting Prime Minister to break the law, has apologized but refused to quit.
The news has prompted outcry from Renfrewshire politicians, who united to criticize the PM and chancellor.
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MP Gavin Newlands, who represents Paisley and Renfrewshire North at Westminster, took aim at the “morally bankrupt” Tory leadership, saying: “The Prime Minister repeatedly misled Parliament, lied to the country and has spent the last few months smirking his way through repeated questioning on his conduct and that of his staff and ministers, including the Chancellor.
“While the rest of the country were making huge sacrifices to protect public health and stop our health service from being overwhelmed, Johnson and Sunak were spending their afternoons in illegal parties and gatherings.
“That is a cold and calculated insult to every single person who followed the rules, for many missing out on being there for their loved ones when they needed them most.
“By accepting these fixed penalties they have admitted their guilt and accepted they will not contest the fact they have broken the law.”
The SNP politician added: “It is unprecedented for a Prime Minister and Chancellor to remain in office having admitted they broke the very laws they introduced and implemented.
“Whatever U-turns their branch supervisor in Scotland carries out, the simple fact is they must go and go now if they want to keep whatever shred of dignity they have left.
“Time is up for this moral bankruptcy at the head of this Tory UK Government.”
With a report from civil servant Sue Gray into the apparent series of lockdown breaches commissioned by the Government still set to be published, feelings are running high.
Nats MSP Natalie Don joined calls for the resignation of the Downing Street duo.
The SNP member for Renfrewshire North and West at Holyrood, said: “The Prime Minister repeatedly misled Parliament, lied and took the people of Renfrewshire North & West for fools – sometimes laughing about breaching the same laws we were all following to keep our family safe .”
She also called out the Scottish Tories, saying: “Douglas Ross and the Scottish Tories are just as bad as he appears to be unable to grow a backbone and call on Boris Johnson to resign.
“In reality, Johnson and Sunak have overseen one of the biggest lockdown breaches that has led to the Metropolitan Police issuing a staggering number of fines for rule-breaking.”
Her fellow nationalist MSP, Tom Arthur, echoed the remarks, saying: “Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak must now resign.
“The Prime Minister and Chancellor’s positions are untenable. They have insulted people in Renfrewshire South who faithfully followed the rules that they set – even when that meant the heartbreak of not being present for the births, marriages or the deaths of loved ones.
“There simply cannot be one rule for the Tories and another for the rest of us.”
And Colin McCulloch, the Labor councillor and candidate for Bishopton, Bridge of Weir and Langbank says he has written to Renfrewshire’s Convservative group about the scandal, saying: “At a time when the people of Renfrewshire made unimaginable sacrifices, our Prime Minister has been found guilty of breaking the law.It has now been established that he then repeatedly lied about it.
“Constituents in my ward and across Renfrewshire suffered heartache and loss by sticking to the Covid rules – no last goodbyes with loved ones in the RAH, unable to attend funerals and no contact with relatives in care homes for long periods of time. At the same time, the Tories who made the laws that the rest of us followed at great personal cost, were partying in No.10.”
The PM was handed the fine after police ruled a birthday bash thrown for him by his wife broke the rules.
He has apologized over the June Downing Street gathering, which he claims was attended for “10 minutes” in a heavy schedule and insisted he had not believed he was breaking the rules at the time.
Multi-millionaire chancellor Rishi Sunak, who has this week also been under fire over his wife’s tax affairs, has also apologized for his role in the partygate scandal.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.