Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Derbyshire’s Conservative County Council Leader says Boris Johnson’s Administration Caused “intolerable” “damage”

Derbyshire’s Conservative county council leader has said Boris Johnson’s administration has caused “intolerable” “damage” to the Conservative brand and is pleased he is to resign.

Cllr Barry Lewis said that following a “pattern of behaviours that were inconsistent with the high office of Prime Minister,” Mr Johnson had to go.

This follows the record-breaking number of resignations of dozens of Conservative MPs from their Government roles, which started with the high profile exits of cabinet ministers Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid on Tuesday evening.

This morning (July 7) Mr Johnson said that he intends to resign as leader of the Conservative Party but it is reported he intends to stay on as Prime Minister until a new leader is appointed in October, following an extensive leadership campaign.

Cllr Lewis has indicated that if there is to be a caretaker Prime Minister appointed, which numerous fellow members of the Conservative Party are calling for, it should be the current deputy, Dominic Raab.

On who he would back as a new leader for the Conservative Party, Cllr Lewis said: “There’s a lot of talent in the party, I’d like to see some options come forward that represents the experience as well as the newer younger talent. So at this point I’m not favouring anyone till I get a sense of the field.”

Cllr Lewis, who led the Conservatives to a dominant election victory in last year’s local elections, in a former safe Labour area, said: “Firstly, I want to recognise what an extraordinary premiership Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave us since the huge landslide election in 2019.

“Since then he got Brexit Done, governed the country through a pandemic and his Government no doubt saved countless lives by rolling out a world leading vaccination programme and packages of financial support for the population and businesses that saved us all from the severest economic impacts.

“Even recent Government interventions to ease the cost of living crisis for many residents were extraordinary in scope and unprecedented in scale. There was no doubt he was a disruptor.

“However, without dwelling on the mistakes that were made, there was a pattern of behaviours that were inconsistent with the high office of Prime Minister.

“There were unnecessary and persistently repeated issues that spoke of a concerning disregard for public perception that damaged the Conservative brand that I am afraid became, ultimately, intolerable.

“Sadly, it was for that reason that the tide turned so dramatically in recent days.

“I’m pleased the Prime Minister did the right thing in the end and intends to resign in, hopefully, what will be an orderly and swift process for the selection of a new leader of the Conservative Party.

“At this point it is unclear what the process will be and over what timeframe.  Whatever happens I hope there will be a shortlist of highly credible candidates to come forward to be selected as the new Leader and Prime Minister of our country.

“What we don’t need is a cast of thousands drawing out a selection.

“There are big and urgent agendas to get to grips with: War in Ukraine the biggest in Europe in 80 years, Putin and Russian aggression, economic responses to tackle the cost of living crisis and inflation, supporting our NHS and working with local authorities to deliver devolution so we can be part of the response to drive the post-pandemic economic recovery in the East Midlands.

“We’re keen to work with whomever will be the new Prime Minister.”

Eddie Bisknell (LDRS)

Eddie writes for Nailed through the Local Democracy Reporting Service, in partnership with the BBC. The Local Democracy Reporting Service is a partnership of media outlets sharing reporters to cover council meetings.