Bedford’s Conservatives ignore questions about PM’s lockdown party investigation

A 'Boris Johnson resign' poster placed on the railings outside Whitehall
A 'Boris Johnson resign' poster placed on the railings outside Whitehall

Conservatives serving Bedfordians have repeatedly ignored requests for comment on the Prime Minister and partygate.

Last week, we contacted Nadine Dorries MP, Richard Fuller MP and Bedford Borough Cllr Graeme Coombes who is the leader of Bedford Borough Conservatives.

We asked them if they felt that the Prime Minister and Chancellor Rishi Sunak should resign after they were handed fixed penalty notices for breaking lockdown rules.

We emailed them again yesterday for comment after it was announced MPs had voted to allow a parliamentary investigation into whether Boris Johnson misled Parliament over what has been dubbed ‘partygate’.

Both enquiries have received no response.

Nadine Dorries, who is also the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, has publicly said she supports Mr Johnson but has not used local media to talk directly to those who voted for her.

The MP from Mid-Bedfordshire, which covers Bedford Borough wards, Wootton, Elstow & Stewartby and Kempston Rural (including Turvey and Stagsden), has also previously said she’d only stop supporting Boris Johnson if he “kicked a dog”.

North Bedfordshire MP, Richard Fuller, has seemingly remained tight-lipped over partygate, although did question the PM after the publication of Sue Grey’s report into parties at Number 10.

Read: Bedford MPs question Boris Johnson over Sue Gray ‘partygate’ report

Mr Fuller represents Bedfordians in the Bromham, Carlton, Clapham, Eastcotts, Great Barford, Harrold, Oakley, Riseley, Roxton, and Sharnbrook wards.

Cllr Graeme Coombes, is the leader of Bedford Borough Conservatives and represents Bedfordians in Wilshamstead.

A recent YouGov poll suggests that an overwhelming majority of Britons think Boris Johnson has lied in his response to ‘partygate’

Consistent silence

While Cllr Graeme Coombes does usually reply to enquiries from our journalists, Richard Fuller MP is more sporadic in his responses, often preferring to offer no comment or saying he will speak with constituents directly.

This is the first time we have not received any response, even a decline to comment, from either of their offices.

Nadine Dorries MP has never responded to an enquiry from our news desk, although she has used our articles to champion Conservative colleagues.

Both Mr Fuller and Ms Dorries have also been invited to take up a free monthly unedited column on our pages, so they can speak directly to our readers about any subject they wish.

Despite Mr Fuller’s predecessor Alistair Burt using this opportunity to his full advantage, Mr Fuller has yet to take up the offer.

Ms Dorries has not responded to our invitation, not even to decline.

Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Festus Akinbusoye has also been invited to contribute a column.

Despite an enthusiastic response to our invitation he or his office has not submitted anything since he took up his position almost a year ago.

The only political leaders who submit a regular monthly column are Bedford Borough Mayor Dave Hodgson (Lib Dem) and Bedford and Kempston MP Mohammad Yasin (Labour).

When asked about ‘partygate’, Mr Yasin told the Bedford Independent, “Both the PM and the Chancellor have broken laws they expected us to follow during one of the most difficult times this country has ever been through and if they had any integrity, they would resign for that alone.

“But it’s not just the actions but the attempt to cover-up by the PM that will ultimately be his downfall because misleading Parliament, which the PM does on a regular basis, is a clear resignation issue under Parliamentary rules.

“That’s why Labour’s successful Motion calling for an inquiry into the PM’s behaviour was a game-changer. Parliament is taking back control from this reckless PM.

“With the cost-of-living crisis, soaring inflation, the record backlogs in the NHS, the crisis in social care and the war in Ukraine really affecting people’s lives, we need strong, honest leaders who put the public they serve before their own interests.

“All the PM offers is bluster and chaos which is really damaging the country. He needs to go.”

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