Daniel Zeichner, the Labour MP for Cambridge, is fast coming up to the fourth anniversary of his tweet when he expressed himself to be “deeply concerned that Boris Johnson is becoming PM.
“A man with a loose grip on reality who has insulted our allies and diminishes Britain’s role in the world”.
Mr Zeichner’s accelerated pace through the lobby this week when Parliament voted to accept the findings of the Privileges Committee report on Partygate is not recorded, but his vote most definitely is.
It was no surprise, of course, that most Cambridgeshire MPs – all Conservatives – opted to find some long grass to hide in.
Two did not.
Jonathan Djanogly, the MP for Huntingdon, and Anthony Browne, the MP for South Cambridgeshire were visible – and active – in backing the admonishment meted out to their former Prime Minister.
“This Conservative majority committee has done a serious investigation,” said Mr Browne.
“We need to stand up in support of our democratic institutions and in support of high standards in public life.”
His stance no doubt reflects the importance he feels of being a month into his new role after being appointed by the Home Secretary as the Prime Minister’s Anti-Fraud Champion.
Mr Djanogly has not spoken publicly of his reasons for accepting the committee’s findings but has made clear on an earlier occasion his disdain for Boris Johnson.
Last July, as the storm clouds gathered over the tenure of Boris at No 10, he tweeted: “In politics, values and ethics do really matter and Britain deserves better, which is why I have again tendered a letter requesting a vote of confidence in the Prime Minister”.
There was, of course, no surprise that Paul Bristow, the MP for Peterborough, clung faithfully by his fingerprints to the tailcoat of the former Prime Minister.
“Just a reminder for everyone – Boris doesn’t lose elections” he tweeted ahead of Boris being removed from No 10.
He soon moved on, however, expressing the view that the “top reason” MPs later choose Liz Truss to replace him was because of her honestly, trustworthiness and loyalty to Boris.
On Monday, Paul absented himself from Parliament, instead seemingly visiting a school and being photographed in part of Peterborough looking on forlornly at the entrance road to a factory and proclaiming on Twitter that “It’s time to FIX this FENCE!’
Drawing breath, he proclaimed later that “the process by which the privileges committee reached their conclusions was political.
Perkins contacted me about this appalling council fence on the road to the main entrance to the plant! 😮
Approx 42 panels are in disrepair and 14 are missing. A terrible look and a safety issue. They can’t even get agreement to discuss.
It’s time to FIX this FENCE! pic.twitter.com/y4VqjWWxPU
— Paul Bristow MP (@paulbristow79) June 19, 2023
“Most commentators and journalists privately admit this.
“The reaction to it has dominated politics for too long. I hope I will not have to dignify this flawed process by voting”.
In true Churchillian, Orwellian, Johnsonian fashioned he added: “Time to move on”
Andrew Pakes, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Peterborough, and the man confident that it may soon to be time for Mr Bristow to move, on said: “Whilst the Tories squabble over parties and peerages, people are struggling with a cost-of-living crisis and soaring mortgage costs.
“This week should have been about restoring integrity and respect for the rules, but instead we have had nothing but political games from Boris Johnson supporters and attempts to shirk responsibility.”
He added: “This was a cross-party report into the former Prime Minister with a Conservative majority on it, so it is even more absurd that both of our local MPs went missing in action for the vote.
“We deserve better from our MPs and from the government.”
Charlotte Cane, an East Cambridgeshire councillor, and Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson for SE Cambs, could not pretend surprise that MP Lucy Frazer took no part in the vote.
But Cllr Cane had plenty to say pointing out that “ex Conservative Prime Minister Johnson suffered an unprecedented public humiliation, when the House of Commons voted by 354 votes to 7 that he had deliberately misled Parliament over Partygate.
“The 354 who voted to accept the findings of the Privileges Committee report and call for Mr Johnson not to be given a Parliamentary pass included MPs from across the political parties, including some Ministers and another ex-Prime Minister, Theresa May, who explained her vote as ‘a small but important step in restoring people’s trust’ in Parliament.”
She added: “118 Tory MPs, including current and past ministers, found the time and the backbone to condemn lying to Parliament.
“But Lucy Frazer and Steve Barclay (the MP for NE Cambs) remained loyal to ex-Prime Minister Johnson to the last and abstained from approving the committee’s report.
“It is shocking that their loyalty to a liar is greater than their loyalty to their constituents.”
Of course, part of Peterborough is included in the constituency of another Conservative MP, Shailesh Vara, the MP for NW Cambridgeshire.
The Facebook page of ‘Politics in Peterborough’ displayed minimal sentiment in recording both his and Mr Bristow’s absence.
“In this evening’s vote on the Privilege Committee’s report into Boris Johnson’s conduct, neither Paul Bristow nor Shailesh Vara registered a vote,” it noted.
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