Print&Features Editor Kitty Grant reports on the response to allegations of Downing Street parties
Birmingham MPs have taken to Twitter to react to the release of the early findings of Sue Gray’s inquiry into the breaking of lockdown rules in Government buildings and Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s subsequent appearance in Parliament.
16 events were reported in the Sue Gray inquiry, 12 of which are currently being investigated by the Met Police. After the report was released on the 31st January, the Prime Minister, who is reported to have been present at some of the events under investigation, appeared in Parliament to make a statement, which were followed by questions from MPs. Johnson apologised for ‘the things we simply did not get right’ and promised to create an Office of the Prime Minister but did not resign, something many were expecting.
On Twitter, Labour MP for Selly Oak, Steve McCabe described Johnson’s statement as ‘the squeals of a drowning man desperately clutching for anyone he can drag down with him.’ Edgbaston’s Labour MP, Preet Gill has since deleted a tweet claiming ‘Johnson has insulted the public’s intelligence’ and said ‘the PM isn’t fit for office and needs to do the decent thing and resign.’
However, some Birmingham MPs offered the Prime Minister messages of support. Conservative MP for Northfield tweeted ‘the [Boris Johnson] we love […] has delivered. He’s made promises on how he wants to change […] and I support him in doing that.’
During questioning from MPs on both sides of the aisle, the Prime Minister refused to comment on whether or not he had attended parties during lockdown, or if he would resign should the investigation conclude he had. After Leader of the Opposition Keir Starmer’s questioning, Johnson falsely claimed that the Labour leader failed to prosecute former TV star and convicted historic child sexual abuser, Jimmy Savile, during his time as Director of Public Prosecutions.
Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, Jess Phillips, who graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2013, said on Twitter that she ‘genuinely cannot contain [her] anger’ about Johnson’s comments regarding Savile and claimed ‘Tory MPs who tolerate this any longer are complicit.’ Quoting a tweet about Johnson’s Savile comments, McCabe tweeted ‘it’s such an embarrassment for our country.’
McCabe also said on Twitter that Johnson ‘looks more & more like a snivelling little liar who will say and do anything other than own up and face the music.’ In an informal poll conducted on University of Birmingham Facebook group, Fab’n’Fresh, 100% of students responding agreed with McCabe’s comments.
Third-year History student Ellen Knight said ‘I think it’s really impressive that Steve McCabe has been so outspoken about the situation when many MPs have been silent.’
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