Widdecombe says nation ‘knew Boris was chaotic’
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The former Conservative minister said the Prime Minister should stay on to tackle the spiralling cost of living crisis, Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine and NHS waiting lists in the wake of Covid. Her comments come as Mr Johnson has faced calls to stand down over alleged parties held in and around Downing Street during lockdown, and was fined earlier this month for a birthday bash in No 10 in June 2020.
Ms Widdecombe told Express.co.uk: “I think it is utterly ludicrous. We’ve got a war in Europe, we’ve got a cost of living crisis, we’ve got the NHS with record long queues.
“This is just not the moment to change Prime Minister and it also argues a complete lack of proportion, I mean he’s got a £50 fine.
“I’ve said right from the start that the rules were ridiculous. But the point is, he says he thought it was a work event.”
Referring to claims Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer broke coronavirus rules by drinking beer with party workers in the Durham constituency office of the local MP in the run-up to the Hartlepool by-election in April 2021, Ms Widdecombe added: “Keir Starmer is making exactly the same defence for when he had a beer and a pizza. He says, ‘Oh, it was a work event’.
“Well a bit of birthday cake, if you are with people you’ve been with all day and you’re going on to have another meeting with them, what is wrong with a bit of birthday cake?
“I can’t even believe the police fined him actually.
“He’s apologised God knows how many times, let’s just get on with it now and forget it.
“The fact that Britain can focus on partygate in the middle of all of this just shows we’ve completely lost our sense of proportion.”
Ms Widdecombe insisted the Government has “completely mishandled” partygate, with senior civil servant Sue Gray still to release her report, the local elections next week and a parliamentary probe on whether Mr Johnson misled the Commons over accusations of rule breaches.
The ex-Brexit Party MEP said: “The Government has left this stretch on. There are the May elections coming up. It should have brought this to a conclusion weeks ago.
“But first of all we have the Sue Gray report, then it decided to ask the Metropolitan Police to investigate, then we’ve now got another parliamentary inquiry.
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“The Government has acted ridiculously – it should have done all these things simultaneously. I think the Government has made a complete hash of it.”
Ms Widdecombe said the Tories are likely to face a drubbing in the upcoming local elections but the Prime Minister should not take all the blame.
She said: “We’re probably going to face a poor result anyway, but it is midterm and the nature of some of the seats makes it quite likely.
“I’m just tired to the back teeth of hearing about how everything is the Prime Minister’s fault and it isn’t.
“I’m not a Boris fan, I haven’t rejoined the Conservatives. But I do take a proportionate attitude and that seems to me what is lacking at the moment is a sense of proportion.”
Ms Widdecombe also warned that Mr Johnson being forced out could lead to the UK backing down to the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
She said: “The fact is that if Boris goes and you do get a Remainer then the negotiations around Northern Ireland will include a surrender to the EU.”
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