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  • Gareth Bacon

Statement on confidence vote

Updated: Jun 10

Tonight I supported Boris Johnson in the Conservative Party's confidence vote.


I did so because I continue to believe that he is the best person to lead the party and our country - and in turn, deliver for the Orpington constituency.


I share people's frustration with the stories of social gatherings in Whitehall and Downing Street. There was clearly an inappropriate and unjustifiable drinking culture amongst staff, including civil servants and some senior political advisors, in the building during the pandemic.


The Prime Minister has rightly apologised for this culture and already taken action to shake up his office to end it. He has also apologised for failing to recognise and stop what were supposedly work events that crossed the line into social gatherings.


I do not think that the one event he was fined for when he was "ambushed by cake" is a resigning matter. Similarly, I do not think Keir Starmer's curry necessarily demands his resignation.


It may be uncommon in today's politics, but I believe in recognising that no individual is flawless and mistakes will be made. When they are and an apology is made, forgiveness should follow as it does in other walks of life.


On the more serious matter, I do not think the Prime Minister deliberately misled the House of Commons regarding these occasions - but I await the Commons Privilege Committee's ruling on this matter.


Boris Johnson has faced tremendous challenges as Prime Minister, including ending the Brexit deadlock, saving lives during an unforeseen global pandemic, and deciding on Britain's response to an outbreak of war on the continent of Europe. It's not easy, and while mistakes were made, I believe he got the major decisions right.


As such, the Prime Minister continues to enjoy my support.


I've worked with Boris Johnson for 14 years, both at City Hall and now in Parliament. There's no better communicator in politics today; he connects with people wherever he goes. He's why the Conservative Party won in 2019, securing our biggest majority in more than three decades.


Under his leadership, we got Brexit done, delivered the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe, and quickly restored our freedoms. Now, the Prime Minister is standing up to President Putin and ensuring the government helps families to meet cost of living problems.


I do not believe that now is the time for a navel-gazing, three-month-long leadership election. There's war in Europe, post-pandemic inflation, and an energy crisis - changing leader would be an enormously divisive distraction.


Instead, I believe the Conservative Party must stand united, focus on the job of government entrusted to us by the British people less than three years ago, and deliver on people's priorities.