Sue Gray report: Kirklees' Labour MPs criticise the Government over 'partygate' scandal while Conservatives remain silent

Kirklees’ two Conservative MPs have not responded to Sue Gray’s report on the partygate scandal despite pledging to do so several months ago

By Tony Earnshaw, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Friday, 27th May 2022, 4:00 pm

Jason McCartney, MP for Colne Valley, and Mark Eastwood, MP for Dewsbury, have kept silent.

However the borough’s two Labour MPs, Huddersfield’s Barry Sheerman and Kim Leadbeater for Batley and Spen, have both criticised the Government, with Mr Sheerman calling on Boris Johnson to resign.

In January both Mr McCartney and Mr Eastwood said they were waiting for senior civil servant Ms Gray to conclude her investigation.

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Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney, left, with Dewsbury MP Mark Eastwood, right, pictured with Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a whistlestop visit to Huddersfield last year

In the meantime, more than a hundred fines have been issued, including to Mr Johnson, his wife Carrie and the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak.

In reply to a constituent, Mr McCartney wrote: “I am waiting for the inquiry to report back into the Number 10 gatherings before making a judgement, as I have not seen all the evidence.”

Mr Eastwood wrote: “It is important that this inquiry should be allowed to be concluded, but please be assured I shall respond fully to you in due course.”

The Local Democracy Reporting Service first wrote to both men and asked if they were intending to release a statement on the Prime Minister once the Gray report was released and they had had time to digest the contents.

Batley and Spen MP Kim Leadbeater

That was followed up with a second approach, asking if they had had an opportunity to scrutinise the Sue Gray report and, if so, whether they had a view on the contents and the actions of the Prime Minister.

Both emails received an automated response to confirm receipt but were not answered. Messages via social media were not acknowledged.

Commenting on the events of the week, Ms Leadbeater said the partying within 10 Downing Street was “shameful”. She castigated the Tories for being “out of touch”.

She said: “The cost of living is the greatest issue facing our country and the Government should have acted months ago. But honesty, integrity and leadership also matter.

"The partying at Number Ten was shameful and lying about it to cover it up was worse. The people of this country deserve better.

"Sue Gray’s report shows that the Conservatives don’t have the integrity, leadership or trust to act. They’re out of touch and out of ideas.”

In the House of Commons this week Mr Sheerman described the Prime Minister as ”a serial offender” and that he had showed “no real remorse”.

Mr Sheerman said Mr Johnson was trying to shift the buck onto other people “and I believe now, with many other faces I see on the other side [of the Commons Chamber], that he should now resign”.