What angry Harrogate MP said about Boris Johnson, the Sue Gray Report and Partygate - in full

Harrogate and Knaresborough's Tory MP says he is "intensely depressed" by the behaviour of senior people in Britain's political system after the findings of the Sue Gray report on Partygate were made public yesterday.

By Graham Chalmers
Thursday, 26th May 2022, 12:35 pm

But Andrew Jones MP once again refused to say whether he had submitted a letter of no confidence in Boris Johnson after the Prime Minister's behaviour was condemned in the long-awaited report by the top civil servant.

Although he said the behaviour in Downing Street was unacceptable and that leaders of the political classes have let the nation down, Mr Jones also added he would not be commenting weekly on the subject of the breaking lockdown rules inside No 10, which first became headline news last year.

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Harrogate and Knaresborough's Tory MP says he is "intensely depressed" by the behaviour of senior people in our political system.

Speaking today, the Harrogate and Knaresborough MP said: “My office team went home and stayed home the day before the first lockdown.

"We did this to play our part in keeping the virus at bay and supporting our NHS. When my team came back to work between the full lockdowns they did so following the guidelines in a staged and safe way.

"When the second lockdown was announced they went home again and stayed home.

Once the lockdowns were relaxed they came back to work but with extra safeguards recommended of regular cleaning and testing. That was just what workplaces did up and down the country.

“But not in Downing Street on the occasions Sue Gray has investigated."

Mr Jones continued: “I understand the anger people feel. I feel it too.

"Most of all I feel intensely depressed that senior people in our political system have pretended, or somehow genuinely believed, that tables groaning with bottles of wine, as we have now seen pictured, were in some way allowed work practices."

But Mr Jones said he would not be commenting on the saga again unless something substantially changed.

"I have commented at each stage of this saga and I have made clear my opinions at each stage; they are readily available online.

My anger isn’t going to lessen and I am not going to forget this episode in the story of COVID-19.

"But I won’t be commenting again unless something substantially new comes to light.

"Part of my anger and frustration is that although we have learned more with the report’s publication, in many ways it confirms what was already known."

As for his own actions, Mr Jones added: "Many people want to know if I have submitted a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister to the Chair of the 1922 Committee.

"While I can understand the curiosity this is a matter that will remain between myself and the Chair of the 1922 committee.

"Letters can be submitted, withdrawn and re-submitted. It does not seem sensible to have to give a daily commentary on the status of any representation I make.”

Mr Jones was also keen to highlight that no one political party had a monoply on bad behaviour.

Mr Jones said: “Whilst we have been waiting for the Met and Gray Report, we now know that senior Labour figures are being investigated.

"We have had a politician arrested, though on unrelated matters.

"Since I became an MP we have seen seven current or former Labour MPs given custodial sentences, two Conservatives, one Lib Dem and one SNP.

"There are other cases before the standards and privileges committees.

"I fully recognise this is beyond the issue of the Number 10 parties, but they highlight a deep and wide problem.

"I think there is a rotten element within our political system, and the leaders of the political classes have let us down."