In a letter seen by Rombalds Radio, Robbie Moore MP confirms he has spoken directly to Boris Johnson and told him that the current situation is 'not sustainable'.
The Member of Parliament for Keighley and Ilkley has told Rombalds Radio that he has received hundreds of pieces of correspondence from constituents and that he 'totally shares' the 'rage and anger' that many have expressed to him about the preliminary findings of Sue Gray's investigation into social gatherings at 10 Downing Street during lockdowns.
But Mr Moore has stopped short of publicly calling for the Prime Minister's resignation, as a number of his Conservative colleagues have done in recent days. Nor has he made reference in his response on the matter to Boris Johnson's exchange in the Commons with Sir Keir Starmer, where Mr Johnson claimed that the Labour leader had failed to prosecute Jimmy Savile when he was the head of the CPS.
The Skipton MP Julian Smith said earlier this week that the comments were 'wrong' and could not be defended.
The smear made against Keir Starmer relating to Jimmy Saville yesterday is wrong & cannot be defended. It should be withdrawn. False and baseless personal slurs are dangerous, corrode trust & can't just be accepted as part of the cut & thrust of parliamentary debate.— Julian Smith MP (@JulianSmithUK) February 1, 2022
In a letter responding to constituents who have contacted him about the Downing Street parties Robbie Moore confirms that he has spoken directly with the Prime Minister this week, and says he told him that the current situation is not sustainable and that things must change.
He also calls for the publication of the full report by senior civil servant Sue Gray, once permitted following investigations by the Metropolitan Police. Earlier this week, a short 12-page document was released by the Cabinet Office which detailed the events being investigated and called for a change of culture within 10 Downing Street and the Prime Minister's office.
"Tuesday’s publication has confirmed the fury and disgust I already had about the reported parties and social events, and indeed the culture of rule-breaking in Downing Street which seems to have existed during the successive lockdown periods," said Mr Moore.
He goes on to say that the abuse of the lockdown rules by those who helped create them is a "complete dereliction of duty", and something he says he "cannot and will not defend".
"The complete lack of judgement made by the leadership in Downing Street is impossible to justify and clearly this needs to change," he said.
Mr Moore concludes his response by saying that the events in the news are "distracting from the important work that I want to get on with to improve our community for the better".
At least 15 Conservative MPs have now publicly said that they have written to the 1922 Committee expressing a lack of confidence in the Prime Minister. If that number reaches 54 it would trigger a vote among the parliamentary party and could potentially result in a leadership challenge to Boris Johnson.
When asked directly by Rombalds Radio, Mr Moore would not confirm nor deny whether he had submitted such a letter.
Robbie Moore MP's response to constituents in full - 4th February 2022
Thank you very much indeed for taking the time to contact me regarding events which took place at Downing Street during the lockdown period. I totally share the rage and anger that many have quite rightly expressed to me.
Following the publication of Sue Gray’s ‘update’ into these events on Tuesday this week, you may appreciate that I have received a significant amount of correspondence on this issue, and therefore please do accept my apologies for only coming back to you today.
Tuesday’s publication has confirmed the fury and disgust I already had about the reported parties and social events, and indeed the culture of rule-breaking in Downing Street which seems to have existed during the successive lockdown periods.
Since these stories first emerged, constituents have kindly shared some deep, personal stories regarding their own experiences during the pandemic. I know how difficult this was for so many, especially those having to self-isolate for long periods, unable to see loved ones, friends or family, with some constituents spending their last days alone. This has been heart-breaking to hear.
In this same period, we learn that a number of staff at Downing Street who continued to travel into their place of work to undertake work duties also abused the very rules they helped create by hosting, organising or attending social gatherings within Downing Street. This in my view is a complete dereliction of duty, and something which I cannot and will not defend.
The complete lack of judgement made by the leadership in Downing Street is impossible to justify and clearly this needs to change. Sue Gray’s ‘update’ states that “at least some of the gatherings represent a serious failure to observe not just the high standards expected of those working at the heart of government but also the standards expected of the entire British population at the time”.
There have been clear failings. Public trust and confidence have been severely eroded by these revelations.
It is frustrating that on Tuesday we only saw an ‘update’ by Sue Gray which fell short of what many people were expecting. I made it very clear to Government that we need to see the report in full, and it is right that the Government have committed to its full publication when this is permitted in line with investigations by the Metropolitan Police.
Should the ongoing police investigation conclude that there is evidence warranting proceedings against any individuals involved, then I would expect those proceedings to be taken forward as they would against any other member of the public.
I have spoken directly with the Prime Minister this week and told him the current situation is not sustainable and that things must change.
As a hard-working constituency MP, it is deeply disappointing to me that these events are distracting from the important work that I want to get on with to improve our community for the better. Such as securing a rebuild of the Airedale Hospital, tackling crime, drug use and anti-social behaviour, improving children’s services and focusing on enhancing the economic opportunities for our area. These are some of my top priorities and I want to be able to give them my full attention.
I do appreciate you contacting me on this important issue.
Robbie Moore MP
Member of Parliament for Keighley and Ilkley