Friday brief: Peter Bone's comments are ‘arrogant and insensitive'
The Wellingborough MP has supported the PM throughout the 'partygate' scandal
Good morning, this week’s Friday focus brings you some of the fallout following the publication of Sue Gray’s long awaited ‘partygate’ report. We also have some news in brief, activities for the weekend, and our usual features Westminster watch and Independent business of the week.
On Wednesday we released our knife crime podcast, looking at the impact a decade of austerity has had on the issue. If you haven’t listened yet you can do so here.
And as ever if you want to get in touch with us, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. We hope you have a good weekend!
A union leader representing cleaners and security guards working in government buildings has slammed Wellingborough MP Peter Bone for suggesting that people don’t really care about the findings of Sue Gray’s ‘partygate’ report.
The United Voices of the World (UVW) union is planning a demonstration outside Downing Street today over the way low-paid staff within No 10 are said to have been treated. Gray’s report said:
“I found that some staff had witnessed or been subjected to behaviours at work which they had felt concerned about but at times felt unable to raise properly. I was made aware of multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff.”
On Wednesday the prime minister made a statement on the report in parliament. Sitting on the frontbench alongside him were Daventry MP Chris Heaton-Harris and Northampton North MP Michael Ellis. Peter Bone, who has been one of Johnson’s most vocal supporters throughout the scandal, responded to the statement by saying:
“Since my election to the House, I have been running a campaign called ‘Listening to Wellingborough and Rushden’…What they are telling me today is that their concerns are the terrible war in Ukraine, illegal immigrants crossing the channel, and the economy, and their message to the prime minister is, “Get on with the job”.
Earlier that day the Wellingborough MP told the Bloomberg Westminster podcast:
“They [the public] are long past being worried about these events in Downing Street…sometimes what we’re talking about in the media and what people are talking about in Wellingborough are completely different.”
Speaking to NN Journal last night general secretary of UVW Petros Elia said it was ‘arrogant and insensitive’ to suggest people no longer care about the prime minister’s involvement in the scandal.
“Boris Johnson and his cronies might want to just to forget about all this and get on with things but the people who have suffered don’t have the luxury to do that themselves…he needs to be held to account and he needs to go.
“It’s arrogant and insensitive for him [Peter Bone] to suggest that people don’t care and it can all be forgotten. We’re not going to let them just get on with things which is why we’ve called this demonstration. It will be the first of many if necessary."
The Downing Street protest will also be attended by the Covid-19 Bereaved Families Group who tweeted:
“...The prime minister has now spent months ignoring and lying to us. He has treated us like they treated their cleaning staff and security…like we’re an inconvenience, like we’re dirt. The Tory MPs that have kept him in power are no better…millions will never forgive them for the disrespect they’ve shown.
The Wellingborough Labour Party said Bone has “betrayed our sacrifices by defending Boris Johnson throughout the pandemic. It is now time for him to submit his letter of no confidence and it is time for Boris Johnson to go.”
In an attempt to clarify how many people Peter Bone spoke to as part of his ‘listening’ campaign, NN Journal called his mobile, his constituency office and his parliamentary office but was unable to get a response.
A snap poll from YouGov shortly after Gray’s report was published found that six in 10 people thought Boris Johnson should now resign.
News in brief
A fight between two masked gangs in Northampton town centre last Saturday has led to the arrest of three teenagers. It’s the latest in a string of recent incidents where groups of young men and boys have been seen fighting in the town.
Public health officials have confirmed there are currently no cases of Monkeypox in Northamptonshire or the East Midlands as a whole but have advised that if anyone is experiencing symptoms they should contact their local sexual health clinic by calling 01536 410647 in the north of the county or 01604 609766 in the west. People are being told not to just turn up at the clinics but to contact them first.
MP for South Northamptonshire Andrea Leadsom has warned that the Houses of Parliament could burn down “any day”.
Talking about the need for the building to be renovated she told the BBC:
“It could burn down today, tomorrow, any day and we've got to make that decision and get on with it.”
A report from February suggested it could take up to 76 years to complete the work needed in parliament if MPs don’t move to another location while it is carried out.
Independent business of the week
Christina Dudley Hair Design in Raunds is a firm favourite with locals. A sign of the friendly salon’s popularity is that appointments get snapped up fast so you need to book in advance or look out for a cancellation.
🎤Tickets are still available to see soul and disco legends at the Derngate tonight https://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/whats-on/shalamar/
🌻There’s a garden fair at Chichele College in Higham Ferrers tomorrow between 9am -3pm. Free entry.
🎺If funk and soul is your thing head down to the Picturedrome tonight where the 20 piece Big Band Jazz Colossus is performing. Tickets are available here.