Sleaze Is Back

The government debacle last week, when Boris Johnson whipped his MPs in a vote to allow corruption, showed that the main reason he and his Leave colleagues wanted to “Take Back Control” of power was so that they could then abuse it.

Amongst the Conservative MPs voting as told to by the PM were all of those within our Oxford Region. One of our members did more than simply fume at the outrageous action – he put pen to paper.

Here is his letter to his MP – John Howell.

Dear John,

I’m sure your mailbox has been full over the last day or two – perhaps it is now reducing in volume but it is unlikely that the sense of outrage from your constituents has diminished much, if at all. I would like to know if you understand this outrage. You might even share a degree of outrage against the government and Conservative party managers. But I want you to understand that I consider you complicit with recent events and the debacle that has occurred.

I noted that you voted in support of the Leadsom amendment. You may have done this with regret, possibly you expressed unease to colleagues. Nonetheless your vote makes you complicit in supporting one of the worst examples of sleaze, dishonesty and sheer mendacity to have emerged from the house of commons for many decades. Even at the height of the sleaze incidents of the mid-nineties, with Hamilton’s brown envelopes of cash for questions, the probity of the majority of Conservative MPs was not in question. The prime minister, John Major, and most of the cabinet may have been caught up, but were not seriously complicit. The events of the past week are far worse.

Mr Johnson is himself directly implicated in trying to divert the findings of the standards committee. His ministers colluded to their shame. Most of the cohort of Conservative backbenchers, you included, found themselves complicit by voting for the amendment. This is outrageous.

Please don’t reply suggesting that Mr Paterson was not allowed ‘Natural Justice’. Please do not tell me he had no right of appeal or ability to deploy legal representation. Neither should you mention that his friends could not present character witness. All these points have been successfully rebutted by the committee chair. And please do not suggest that he should be allowed mitigation because of his wife’s suicide (unless you can show a direct link).

The only concession I give to this government is that reform might be needed to strengthen the process of investigation of members behaviour. More should be done to get to the bottom of who paid for holidays in Mustique, refurbishment of Downing Street flats and a host of other dubious activities and payments. I sincerely doubt, however, that there will be any support from Downing Street in furthering such investigations.

In short, it is time for you, Mr Howell, to start to understand the outrage you face; to show whether you are as aghast at the antics of this government as the rest of us and are willing to do something about it; to demonstrate some vestige of independence of thought and deed and to say, when necessary, enough is enough. Are you capable of that? If not, this constituency needs someone who is.

Yours sincerely,

We here in Oxford Region say “Amen to that!”

The image above was created in 1907 by American political cartoonist Udo Keppler (1872-1956)

Further details can be found in the, artist – Library of Congress Catalog: Image download: Original url:

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