Letter to James Heappey MP: stand with parliament on Monday

I’ve taken time to read the House of Commons Committee of Privileges’ partygate report into Boris Johnson’s conduct. It prompted me to write to my MP James Heappey (Conservative, Wells) to ask him to back the committee’s recommendation and stand with his parliamentary colleagues. This is my letter.

Dear James,

I write to you as a parent, small business owner and someone who has always believed that politics can be a force for good.

I have been fortunate to work with MPs and councillors from all parties throughout my professional life. Thanks to this, I know there are many decent politicians who care about the communities they represent.

As my local MP, you will represent me on Monday when voting on the Privileges Committee’s recommendation to suspend Boris Johnson’s parliamentary pass following their investigation into his conduct.

Having taken the time to read the committee’s report, I urge you to support its recommendation.

Trust matters

Without setting out its findings in detail, the report highlights alarming disregard for truth and integrity at a time when people across the country made huge sacrifices because the government asked them to.

Mr Johnson’s response – resigning and trashing the investigation he ordered as Prime Minister as ‘deranged’ and ‘complete tripe’ – is similarly troubling.

I do not believe that anyone following events in government over recent years will be surprised by the thrust of the committee’s findings. YouGov says that most of the British public believe Johnson misled parliament. The committee’s report simply tells us what we can already see.

I agree that misleading parliament is not simply a technical matter. It goes to the heart of what’s wrong with how too many organisations communicate and engage the public. At a time when we need to come together, it isn’t good enough. I understand why this angers people who lost so much through the pandemic. They are right to expect better.

Do the right thing

You have an opportunity on Monday to start to redress the damage that the culture of spin and deceit has caused across public life.

I am not a member of any political party, and have no skin in the game. But I see the impact this has in polarising opinions and poisoning public discourse. I hear it in the barbed comments expressed in meetings and in conversations with the public. The damage is immense. I worry it will be long-lasting.

We elect MPs to serve the public, not their former party leader. As a Conservative, I trust you will strive to uphold the democratic values that are said to define us.

This is why I hope you will support the committee’s recommended sanction.

Please demonstrate your commitment to integrity and accountability and vote in favour of the recommendation on Monday.

I’ll look out for your vote with interest.

Photo by Paddy Kumar on Unsplash.