Tory MP Quits Government Job Over 'Toxic' Partygate Culture In No.10

Paul Holmes, a ministerial aide to Priti Patel, said lockdown breaking in Downing Street has created "deep mistrust".
Boris Johnson speaks with Conservative MP for Eastleigh Paul Holmes, on the tarmac of Southampton airport during a visit to the Eastleigh constituency.
Boris Johnson speaks with Conservative MP for Eastleigh Paul Holmes, on the tarmac of Southampton airport during a visit to the Eastleigh constituency.
Adrian Dennis - PA Images via Getty Images

A Tory MP has quit his government job over the “deep mistrust” voters now have in the Conservative Party following the partygate scandal.

Paul Holmes, the MP for Eastleigh, was a ministerial aide to home secretary Priti Patel.

In a statement on his website on Friday following the publication of the Sue Gray report earlier this week, Holmes said it was “distressing” that his work as a constituency MP had been “tarnished by the toxic culture” in No.10.

Holmes did not call on Boris Johnson to resign, but told voters: “I, like most of you, was shocked and angered by the revelations when so many people across Eastleigh followed the rules and sacrificed many things in the need to stop the spread of the virus.

“Revelations from the Sue Gray report that staff and cleaners were not treated properly is both disappointing and unacceptable.

“It is right that the prime minister apologised to staff. It clearly showed a culture in No. 10 that was distasteful.

“It is clear to me that a deep mistrust in both the government and the Conservative Party has been created by these events, something that pains me personally as someone who always tries to represent Eastleigh and its people with integrity.”

He added: “That is why I have now resigned from my governmental responsibilities as a parliamentary private secretary at the Home Office.”

Since Gray’s report was published on Wednesday, four MPs have called for Johnson to resign.

Several others had previously already demanded he step down. It takes 54 Tory MPs to trigger a no confidence vote in Johnson.

Speaking in Stockton-on-Tees today, Johnson said he was confident he had enough backing to survive and had already given “exhaustive answers” on partygate.

“What I also said was what we want to do is focus on driving jobs, driving investment in this country,” he said.

“What we’re doing today is we’re talking about getting people off welfare and into work, and we can see that.”

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